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Good as Dead by Mark Billingham
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Good as Dead (2011)

by Mark Billingham

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1881662,829 (3.7)13
Member:daliagagne
Title:Good as Dead
Authors:Mark Billingham
Info:Sphere, Hardcover
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Good As Dead by Mark Billingham (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I thought this was quite good - a worthy addition to the series, if not, perhaps, the best of the bunch.

The setup seems a rather ho-hum affair: a shopkeeper suddenly snaps and shuts down his shop with two hostages held at gunpoint within. His price for their freedom: proof of his son's murder, not suicide, at a local Young Offenders' Institution. Tom Thorne to deliver.

At first, there appears to be little at stake, but the bodies do indeed begin to mount up, and the pacing is perfect.

What makes this especially stimulating reading, though, is its exposure of the casual corruption we imagine pervades the top of the British establishment, and what somebody else in a different context once called the banality of evil: it certainly is banal, but it is also, just as certainly, evil.

A novel seemed to start unpromisingly in fact gathers steam and powers towards a terrific climax. ( )
  jtck121166 | Feb 21, 2014 |
A first-rate mystery with interesting characters. Police officer Helen Weeks is taken hostage by a shopkeeper whose son, he is told, has committed suicide in prison. He is not convinced, and Detective Tom Thorne must find the truth, which turns out to be pretty twisted. Highly recommended! ( )
  DowntownLibrarian | Nov 27, 2013 |
In Mark Billingham's The Demands, Detective Sargent Helen Weeks is a new mom whose life has already been touched by personal violence with the murder of her child's father. When teenage thugs harass a local newsagent, Javed Akhtar, she hesitates when it comes to getting involved- hoping he can resolve the issue without her help. Little does she know that the newsagent, a grieving father, has an agenda of his own. It involves holding her and another customer hostage while demanding that Detective Tom Thorne investigate the alleged suicide of his son in prison. Thorne races to find answers for Akhtar before either of the hostages can come to harm.

Sigh. I have found another mystery series to add to the growing list of detective series where I have some catching up to do. Thorne is pretty much all that both women and men love in their hero detective. He's smart, doesn't play by all the rules and he cares about the people involved in his cases - he wants to find justice for them. I also got the feeling that he was probably pretty easy on the eyes. Never a bad thing.

Anyway, the case is complex and Billingham touches upon ethnic and religious tensions in London as Akhtar is convinced that the country to which he has dedicated his life has rushed to the easy conclusion in the death of his son. There is definitely evidence of discrimination as Thorne re-investigates all the angles of the altercation that led Akhtar's son to be imprisoned in the first place, but other troubling angles arise in which privilege and sexuality play important roles. Accompanying the tense hostage scenes and the action of the developing investigation are the interior lives of both Thorne and Weeks. Thorne is pondering the aftermath of his latest failed relationship and Weeks is still lost and grieving over her own partner's death before they were able to resolve their troubled relationship.

While it's hard to feel empathy for a man who would take hostages to achieve his aims, Billingham manages to make Akhtar understood, if not championed. The Demands is deftly plotted and well-written and makes for a read that is both thoughtful and suspense filled. Readers who are new to the Thorne series will have no problems jumping right in. Highly Recommended. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I liked this book a little better than the last one in the series (Bloodline). I didn’t dislike that one, but I thought The Demands had a much quicker pace. The chapters are rather short, and it helps move things along. I think that most of that is due to the circumstances of the story: it’s a hostage situation, which puts a clock on Thorne’s investigation.

Helen is a character that appeared in another of Billingham’s books, In the Dark. She and Thorne make a connection in this book that is sort of out of nowhere. I’m hoping it’s set up in the previous book that I haven’t read.

While I liked the story, the “procedural” part of this police procedural is rather weak. I’m not sure there’s much of anything here that’s by the book. The justification for it is the shortened time span (though Thorne has a bit of a reputation for working outside of the lines).

This is a series I’d eventually like to get to from the beginning. ( )
  miyurose | Dec 26, 2012 |
The pace of this mystery is perfect, as are the characters. The action is believable. Detective Helen Weeks is held hostage in a convenience store. The demand is for Tom Thorpe to re-investigate the "suicide" of the owner's son while in prison. ( )
  CarterPJ | Oct 28, 2012 |
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"The Hostage : Police officer Helen Weeks walks into her local newsagent's on her way to work. Little does she know that this simple daily ritual will change her life forever. It's the last place she expects to be met with violence, but as she waits innocently at the till, she comes face to face with a gunman.The Demand : The crazed hostage-taker is desperate to know what really happened to his beloved son, who died a year before in youth custody. By holding a police officer at gunpoint, he will force the one man who knows more about the case than any other to re-investigate his son's death. That man is DI Tom Thorne. The Twist : While Helen fights to stay alive and the body-count rises,Thorne must race against time if he is to bring a killer to justice and save a young mother's life." -- Book cover.… (more)

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