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Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham

Love Like Blood

by Mark Billingham

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759225,534 (3.93)5
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I haven't read any of the other books in the author's DI Tom Thorne series but I did read the prior DI Nicola Tanner book, "Die of Shame", which I liked more than I liked this book. However, this book works as a standalone. Tanner's partner Susan was recently murdered in their home and she is currently on compassionate leave. Tanner believes that she was actually the target of the killers because of her work on a series of honour killings within the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities and she enlists the help of Thorne to conduct an unofficial investigation of Susan's death. Their search is complicated when a teenaged couple disappears. The topic of honour killings was a novel one, but otherwise this was a straightforward police procedural. There was a lot of filler with Tanner's mourning and Thorne's home life with his girlfriend and her 3 year old son. I'm one of those readers who doesn't care about the lives of the detectives, so it felt like padding to me. The book was fine, though unexceptional, and I'd be willing to read more by this author.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. ( )
  fhudnell | May 17, 2018 |
Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to start with the 14th instalment of a series, but this stood reasonably well on its own - apart from frequent references to "what happened at Polesford" - either tell us or don't mention it at all!

DIs Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner investigate the murders and disappearances of young women and men from Muslim, Hindu and Sikh backgrounds due, Nicola believes, to "honour" killings, contracted out by their families to two men. She has little evidence for this and even the Honour Killings squad think she is wrong.

This was a good read, although it mostly meandered along slowly before ending with a bang. The author could perhaps have done better at portraying the majority of the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities wanting nothing to do with honour killings: one woman in a green sari at the meetings and some ultimately-proved-to-have-been-innocent-all-along family members seemed a little grudging. Ravi and Muldoon were impressively awful, and I wonder how real that portrayal is: it would have seemed unlikely to me that different religious groups would contract out to the same person(s), but maybe the author did lots of research this.

The touches of humour were welcome and Tom and Helen, Liam and Phil were likeable and believable couples. I'll look out for the 15th in the series. ( )
  pgchuis | Jul 21, 2017 |
If you enjoy British police procedurals, do not miss Mark Billingham. I think this is an especially good one. He tackles a horrific social issue without stereotyping. Not easy to do, and I'm glad he took on this issue in a thoughtful way. ( )
  DowntownLibrarian | Jul 14, 2017 |
Reposted from Reviewing the Evidence with permission.

In the 14th entry in the D.I. Tom Thorne series, Mark Billingham tackles a touchy issue. A fellow detective, Nicola Tanner (who featured in DIE OF SHAME, 2016) has suffered a terrible bereavement. Her life partner, a school teacher, has been brutally attacked in their home and murdered. Tanner is certain she was the killers' intended target. She had been working in the Honour Crimes Unit and had developed a theory that two hired killers were carrying out a series of violent crimes against women whose family members had decided they needed punishment. She's convinced her two suspects are the ones who have ruined her life – and put her on the sidelines, since she's not allowed to be involved in the investigation. She takes it to Tom Thorne, renowned for breaking rules.

He's reluctant to add this case to his workload, but breaking rules appeals to him, and his boss is willing to look the other way as he tests Tanner's theory by taking up one of his cold cases, one that Tanner is certain can be put down to her two killers-for-hire. If he can connect the dots, he might also bring down the men who killed Tanner's partner.

Before he gets much further, readers are introduced to a young couple who are planning to run away from their oppressive parents and, in their company, we encounter the pair of hired killers: an intense South Asian man who makes the arrangements, and a profane and voluble Irishman with a taste for violence. Though we know who is behind the honor killings, the suspense is in watching Tanner and Thorne pick up their trail and their efforts to figure out who's paying them.

An author's note explains that this story was inspired by the violent murder of a woman who tried to escape an arranged abusive marriage and cooperated with police to name those who she believed had made an attempt on her life. Ultimately, her killers succeeded. Her fate was one of thousands of cases of honor-based violence in the UK. Billingham does justice to a subject that could be handled badly during an era of rampant Islamophobia, never climbing on a soap box but treating the topic with the shades of complexity and ethical clarity it deserves. He has traded the theatrical serial-killer-with-a-difference plotlines of the first entries in this series for a more thoughtful if less frantically paced engagement with violence and its social vectors. But he keeps a few surprises up his sleeve.
  bfister | Jul 9, 2017 |
This was a great read with an extra bonus. I had no idea there was such a thing as honour killings. The act of killing a family member in certain religions because they are not "respectful". Such as women who want to wear makeup, go out to bars, etc. That was very enlightening and jaw dropping for me.

The book went at a pretty fast pace and was very enjoyable. I really liked the characters, Tanner and Thorne. Tanner was a very hell bent woman and she was bound and determined to find the killers of her partner. Thorne was a likable character and I would definitely read another book wherein he is the main character.

Thanks to Grove Atlantic and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. ( )
  debkrenzer | Jun 21, 2017 |
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"Internationally bestselling author Mark Billingham's riveting new novel Love Like Blood marks the return of series character Tom Thorne, "the next superstar detective" (Lee Child), as he pairs up with perfectionist detective inspector Nicola Tanner of Die of Shame on an investigation that ventures into politically sensitive territory. DI Nicola Tanner needs Tom Thorne's help. Her partner, Susan, has been brutally murdered and Tanner is convinced that it was a case of mistaken identity--that she was the real target. The murderer's motive might have something to do with Tanner's recent work on a string of cold-case honor killings she believes to be related. Tanner is now on compassionate leave but insists on pursuing the case off the books and knows Thorne is just the man to jump into the fire with her. He agrees but quickly finds that working in such controversial territory is dangerous in more ways than one. And when a young couple goes missing, they have a chance to investigate a case that is anything but cold. Racing towards a twist-filled ending, Love Like Blood is another feat of masterful plotting from one of Britain's top crime novelists"--… (more)

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