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Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham

Sleepyhead (edition 2001)

by Mark Billingham

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886369,990 (3.69)58
Authors:Mark Billingham
Info:Little, Brown (2001), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Owned and Read
Tags:fiction, crime, uk, london, read 2012

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Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham

  1. 00
    Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: The next in the series

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English (30)  Swedish (3)  Danish (2)  French (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
I found the writing style a little awkward at times and find that I had to read slowly in order to concentrate on what the writer was trying to convey. The characters were all unlikeable and the police and doctors in the story were all unprofessional. The plot was good but the novel would be better if executed by a better writer. Not much suspension until the very end which had a good twist and a surprise. I will probably not be reading any more of Billingham's books as there are far better writers with far better books out there to read. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
We are introduced to Detective Inspector Tom Thorne in the first book of the series, 2001's Sleepyhead. Thorne is all about his job, an obsession that's left him with a reputation in the Metropolitan Police for being an awkward bastard and someone who it's best not to associate with too much if you have any care for your job. His latest case is a serial killer whose MO is to target women in their homes, drug them and then give them strokes by kinking an artery in their necks. Except the fourth victim, Alison Willetts, has survived the procedure and is currently hooked up to a ventilator in hospital, unable to speak or move, a casualty of locked-in syndrome. Thorne finds a note underneath his car windshield wiper from the killer, explaining "practice makes perfect". Thorne now realizes that Alison Willetts wasn't a mistake, she was the first success.

I understand there's a TV series based on these novels (currently twelve) so maybe it translates better in film. I didn't care of Thorne, who I thought selfish and manipulative. I don't plan to read any more in the series, unless they fit in with a challenge I'm completing. I didn't care for any of the characters, other than Alison, who whose thoughts we hear at the end of each chapter. The book was difficult to follow and it was a chore to finish, especially when I have much more interesting books in my TBR pile.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |

It's a very gruesome crime novel, of a serial killer who is obsessed with our police detective hero and who attacks women to prove a point. It's well constructed - the love lives of the main characters become intertwined with the plot, and there is an elegantly constructed red herring. The murderer's modus operandi is very memorably horrible. Not wowed enough to seek out other Billingham novels but I won't ignore them if they fall in my path. ( )
  nwhyte | Nov 29, 2015 |
The power of a good book is in the effect it has on our own perceptions. Sometimes we are uplifted. Sometimes we are emotionally moved. And on occasions we are left like a limp rag, exhausted by the journey that an author has taken us on, desperate for someone to take us to a place that is light and resuscitating...

Such was my own position after reading ‘Sleepyhead’ by Mark Billingham. This is the first in a series about a detective (Tom Thorne) that, for me, held parallels with the Rebus character of Ian Rankin. But there is something deeper and darker about Billingham’s characters, and Thorne is not your typical bruised-ego-rebelling-against-superior-officers detective.

There are so many well-written detective stories out there, each authentically researched for their era, and their location. Crime and the pursuit of justice is a perennial subject for writers and readers alike, so to a certain extent I was simply expecting a general presentation of another story where the cop deals with a brutal murder while sorting out some of his own personal difficulties. That’s what we all like, right? A delicious marriage between human interest and inhuman treatment. But this one was different: This one deals with a non-murder. This one bites us on the bum when we least expect it, and leads us into psychological territories that many real-life policemen and women must have to face on a daily basis. There’s nothing glamorous in that – and I suppose it is the author’s ability here to keep his story unfolding , while allowing us to realise (with some distaste) that this is not necessarily going to finish with everything neatly bundled up and filed away. Yes, the villain is caught – but that doesn’t necessarily means that everyone gives three cheers and dashes off to the pub to celebrate over three pints and a packet of pork scratchings. Crimes have been committed, and there are far-reaching consequences. We have to deal with that, and sometimes the taste of success can be a little sour.

I applaud Mr Billingham for his clear-cut characters and gritty storyline. The medical background to the case in question comes across as well-researched and presented, and at times I felt as helpless at the audacious nature of the crimes as the particular victim that is the principal subject of the title. This then was why I finished the book with mixed feelings: Yes, it had been an engrossing story, and very well-told, but I also came to the end with a feeling of relief. I had been in a dark place, and it was good to get out in the sunshine again!

‘Sleepyhead’ is a sort of Ian Rankin meets Robin Cook (author of ‘Coma’) crime thriller – highly recommended, and not for the faint of heart... ( )
  AlanVeale | May 7, 2015 |
Another one of these world weary flawed policeman, bent on catching a serial killer. I quite enjoyed it. There was a fair bit of wry humour thrown in, andi did skip a couple of grusome parts, and there was an unexpected twist at the end ( )
  gogglemiss | Feb 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Billingham takes risks in making his cop hero, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, so pigheaded and off track for most of the investigation, though it's easy to imagine Thorne becoming a companionable protagonist... and Billingham's control of character and plot becoming more sure. He's off to a remarkable start.
added by Shortride | editSalon, Charles Taylor (Nov 14, 2002)
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For Claire. For everything. You're chocolate.
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'Wake up, Sleepyhead...'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0751531464, Paperback)

It's rare for a young woman to die from a stroke and when three such deaths occur in short order it starts to look like an epidemic. Then a sharp pathologist notices traces of benzodiazepine in one of the victim's blood samples and just traceable damage to the ligaments in her neck, and their cause of death is changed from 'natural' to murder. The police aren't making much progress in their hunt for the killer until he appears to make a mistake: Alison Willetts is found alive and D.I. Tom Thorne believes the murderer has made a mistake, which ought to allow them to get on his tracks. But it was the others who were his mistakes: he doesn't want to take life, he just wants to put people into a state where they cannot move, cannot talk, cannot do anything but think. When Thorne, helped by the neurologist looking after Alison, starts to realise what he is up against he knows the case is not going to be solved by normal methods - before he can find out who did it he has to understand why he's doing it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The police aren't making much progress in their hunt for a killer until he appears to make a mistake: Alison Willetts is found alive and D.I. Tom Thorne believes the murderer has made a mistake, which ought to allow them to get on his tracks. But it was the others who were his mistakes: he doesn't want to take life, he just wants to put people into a state where they cannot move, cannot talk, cannot do anything but think.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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