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Billingham, Mark - 'Good as Dead'
Hardback: 400 pages (Aug. 2011) Publisher: Sphere ISBN: 1847444199

Detective Sergeant Helen Weeks from the Child Protection Unit in Streatham regularly calls into her local newsagents which is owned by Javed Akhtar, but one day Akhtar holds both Helen and another customer Stephen Mitchell at gunpoint. Helen is instructed to telephone DI Tom Thorne, telling him to look into the death of Akhtar's son. Amin Akhtar and a friend were attacked one night by several youths and Amin stabbed one of the youths, killing him. He was sent to a young offenders' unit but was found dead having committed suicide. However his father does not believe this.

Thorne, quite vulnerable at the moment having split from a long term relationship, must travel to the YO unit and investigate, despite there having been a recent investigation confirming the suicide. The area around the now barricaded shop is cordoned off and a team including a superintendent, a trained hostage negotiator and an aggressive leader of the CO19 Firearms Unit are trying to resolve the situation. Thorne has asked colleagues Yvonne Kitson and Dave Holland to interview the youths who attacked the two Asian boys to see what they know. This is a race against time because even the newsagent's wife can't get through to him, and with the deteriorating fragile state of his mind, anything could happen to his vulnerable captives.

This is the tenth Thorne novel and is just as gripping and exciting as his previous ones. The author's one novel where Thorne only made a brief appearance, IN THE DARK, is where we have encountered Helen Weeks before, when her partner was killed leaving her now with a single parent family. This is an excellent series, well written and researched by an accomplished author. Highly recommended.

Geoff Jones, England
October 2011

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 2/10/2011 10:22