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Review: THE BONES BENEATH, Mark Billingham

"Expertly draw out the tension"


The Deal

Tom Thorne is back in charge - but there's a terrifying price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried 25 years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.

The Danger

Unable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.

The Deaths

But Nicking knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make...


This is Mark Billingham back to his best. In his very first Detective Tom Thorne book, Sleepyhead, Billingham introduced serial killer Start Nicklin. Now he is back, pulling everyone's strings like the expert puppetmaster he is.

This isn’t the usual race to identify whodunit, instead it’s a tense game to see what cunning plan Nicklin has in store for our hero. Set on a cold, windy island, Billingham makes the most of the isolation, as well as the island’s fascinating history and wildlife, in order to expertly draw out the tension. There is a real sense of unease throughout as you can't help wondering alongside Thorne: just what is Nicklin planning?

The author has created some great characters too, not least the evil Nicklin, whose sick sense of humour and pretend innocence makes him seem all too believable.

A great read - you will rip through and wish it hadn’t ended so quickly.


The Bones Beneath, Mark Billingham

Sphere. Hardback £18.99, ebook £18.98


Twitter @MarkBillingham


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