CONDITION Very Good
A NOVEL by Mark Billingham
PUBLICATION Little Brown
Jacketed Hard Cover ISBN 9780316725736 [£10]
X marks the spot - and when that spot is a corpse's naked back and the X is carved in blood, DI Tom Thorne is in no doubt that the dead man is the latest victim of a particularly vicious contract killer. It's morbid and messy - but it's a mystery with plenty of clues. This is turf warfare between North London gangs, Organised crime boss Billy Ryan is moving into someone else's patch, and that someone is not best pleased.
Thorne's already got plenty on his plate when he agrees to help out ex-DCI Carol Chamberlain, frantically raking through the ashes of an old case that has come back to haunt her. When schoolgirl Jessica Clare was turned into a human torch twenty years ago, it made horrific headlines. But now there's something worrying in the small print: Gordon Rooker, the man Carol put away for the crime, is up for possible release, and it seems there's a copycat at large. Or perhaps it's someone trying to 'right' a few wrongs. For Jessica Clarke was the victim of mistaken identity. The intended target was the daughter of gangland boss, a woman who would later grow up and marry a man named Billy Ryan...
For Thorne, what starts as a tenuous link becomes two pieces of the same puzzle. Past and present gradually fuse together to form a new, and very nasty, riddle. And when an X is carved on Thorne's front door, he knows that the smouldering embers of a long-dead case are about to erupt into flames...