Love Like Blood: A Novel (Tom Thorne) - Mark Billingham

It's a great big welcome back to that Merle Haggard, country lovin' detective, Tom Thorne. In one particular chapter there is a great and memorable moment when D I Tom Thorne is driving down the road singing at the top of his voice..."The late great Merle Haggard provided the accompaniment on the drive to a retail park in Wembley and Thorne sang along to Silver Wings with rather more gusto than he managed in the school hall the day before....." After the rather poor "Die of Shame" where we were first introduced to DI Nicola Tanner, and Thorne had a very minor cameo role in the final chapter, (the only good part of that book) it's a day of rejoicing to have TT back to his investigating best...we forgive him that he enjoys the company of country music and reluctantly accepts the approach of middle age...here he is back doing what he does best solving crime and crime does not come more topical that Mark Billingham's  Love like Blood.

 

DI Nicola Tanner has been investigating a series of what appear to be honour killings when her partner Susan is murdered. Turning to her good friend Tom Thorne she persuades him to help her uncover the truth behind the killings within the Muslim community, contracted out to hired assassins. Reading this book it is a pleasure to catch up on the old familiar faces especially the heavily tattooed  Phil Hendricks, police pathologist,  who is arguably Thorne's only real friend and together they enjoy good beer and watching football. He is in a relationship with social worker Helen and her young son Alfie but I can't help feeling that there is little future between them. The sex they share is passable...."Neither of them, had they been inclined to talk honestly about it, would have claimed it was the best sex they ever had.." and Helen still misses Paul, her previous partner, who was tragically killed and in one poignant moment she reveals her true feelings towards Thorne....."I'm happy really. You need to know that. But I want to be honest with you, and if I could go back and stop him being killed, I would. I'd do anything to have Paul alive again"....

 

So for fans of Mark Billingham, "Love Like Blood" will not disappoint, it's like putting on a well worn pair of comfy shoes! The subject matter is very well chosen and of the moment, the police investigation of the finest, the characterization and familiarity of the "cast" most welcome, and the perpetrators Muldoon and Riaz evil and well suited to the task of hired assassins. I only hope that when we next encounter DI Thorne that he has resolved his differences with the lovely Helen, but sadly I fear this relationship is doomed! Many thanks to the publishers Little Brown for supply me with a gratis copy in return for an honest review and that is what I have written.