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In the Dark by Mark Billingham
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In the Dark

by Mark Billingham

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3501831,236 (3.44)10
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I really disliked this book. I was looking forward to reading this one, but it disappointed me to a point in which I'm probably never going to touch a book by Mark Billingham again. (They say first impressions are very important, with writers this is exactly the same)

I didn't really liked the story, it was very unrealistic and uninteresting. And, - I don't know whether or not this has to do with the translation - but the writing style was simply painful. Full of apparently cool words, gangsta style, showing how streetwise I am kind of writing style. I hated it. Took my about two months to finish this book. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
"In the Dark" is the first novel published by Billingham that is not part of the Thorne series. But that does not mean that it is not a Thorne novel.

At the time when it was written, it probably was not planned to be - Thorne shows up for a minute, mostly to put the story in the same timeline and space. But then Helen Weeks showed up in Thorne's life and things are a bit different. Because this is the story of Helen, her baby and her dead boyfriend - we had heard some things about Paul's death (so some of the surprises in this book are a bit spoiled if you had read the Thorne series) but not all the details. And it does not stop the novel from presenting a few surprises.

The story does not get told linearly - we see the main event at the start before Billingham returns back to tell us how things got there and then when that start moment comes, it picks up the story and continues. In a way, it makes you pay attention to details, wondering which ones will be important although it is not really needed - the linear structure would have worked.

And the story looks pretty straight forward - a boy from the projects, Theo, who managed to escape the bad influence by moving out comes back. And once he is back in the old gang, things escalate very fast - until he kills a policeman: Paul Hopwood. Technically it is an accident - he shoots at a car, the car veers into a bus stop and Paul is hit and killed. But the police is after the shooters - after all a policeman had died.

Paul and his girlfriend Helen Weeks, who also works in the police, are about to have a child when he dies. A phone call and a remark from a friend makes Helen wonder if Paul was what she believed him to be. And while she is following his actions in the last two weeks of his life, she finds connections that cannot be explained. In the meantime the gang that got him killed start having serious problems - and the dead bodies start piling up. And then the truth start emerging - slowly and unexpectedly and every time you think you know what had happened, something new happens and the story leads you elsewhere.

It is a good novel - not as strong as most of the Thorne series but still strong. The lack of Thorne is not really what is missing - it is the rest of his team that makes the series novels shine and that special relationship is missing. But the story itself is strong enough and if you like the Thorne series, I would recommend this novel (and maybe read it before Good as Dead/The Demands.

Warning: It is a dark novel and bad things happen to people. So if you are too squeamish, Billingham is not for you. ( )
  AnnieMod | Mar 3, 2016 |
Book Description
A Deadly Crash

A rainy night in south London. A gun is fired into a car, which swerves onto the pavement and plows into a bus stop. It seems that a chilling gang initiation has cost the life of an innocent victim. But the reality is far more sinister. . . .

A Dangerous Quest

One life is wiped out and three more are changed forever: the young man whose finger was on the trigger, the aging gangster planning a deadly revenge, and the pregnant woman who struggles desperately to uncover the truth. How will she, two weeks away from giving birth, now cope in a world where death is an occupational hazard?

A Shocking Twist

In a city where violence can be random or meticulously planned, where teenage gangs clash with career criminals and where loyalty is paid for in blood, nothing is possible. Secrets are uncovered as fast as bodies, and the story's final twist is as breathtakingly surprising as they come.

Mark Billingham's first stand-alone thriller, In the Dark is his most powerful novel yet. Gritty, fierce, and moving, here is a must-read for anyone who likes their crime fiction unflinching 14and unforgettable.

My Review
Ok Mr. Billingham, I'm going to give you another chance. I somehow think this is an 'off' book. It was slow to start with too many characters introduced at once, the middle had a pick up moment but fell flat at the end of the book. Was there really an ending to this book? I have unanswered questions and was Helen's baby male or female? It was my first Billingham book but I'm going to try your Tom Thorne series as I have seen that others have enjoyed it. If you haven't read any of Mark's books, don't start with this one as you may pass up his others. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Ok Mr. Billingham, I'm going to give you another chance. I somehow think this is an 'off' book. It was slow to start with too many characters introduced at once, the middle had a pick up moment but fell flat at the end of the book. Was there really an ending to this book? I have unanswered questions and was Helen's baby male or female? It was my first Billingham book but I'm going to try your Tom Thorne series as I have seen that others have enjoyed it. If you haven't read any of Mark's books, don't start with this one as you may pass up his others. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
It turns out this was a great title for this confusing mess of a mystery because I was in the dark most of the time. The book opens with a car crash. A driver is forced off the road and into a bus stop where a man is killed. His partner, a heavily pregnant policewoman, wants to know why. What was he doing just before he died and was he even the man she thought she knew. The only character I even remotely liked was Theo, the young gang member who has dreams of bettering his life and escaping from the city with his girlfriend and baby son, but who gets caught up in peer pressure and fast-moving violence.

The final twist isn't really that dramatic, and the reader will have to make a couple of leaps of faith along the way. If you like your mysteries neatly tied up you won't care at all for the ending. It's the kind of ending where you wonder whether the publisher forgot to include the final chapter. It was hard going and I struggled to finish it. I've heard his Tom Thorne series is better so I'm giving Mark Billingham one more chance to convince me. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
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It's a dry night, but the road is still greasy from the shower a few hours before; slick as it's sucked under the headlights, and there's not too much traffic rattling across the cracks in a main drag that's probably the worst maintained in the city.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061432768, Mass Market Paperback)

On a rainy city night, a handgun is fired at random. A struck car swerves and plows into a bus stop, killing an unsuspecting bystander. In an explosive instant, a cold-blooded gang initiation ends one life and forever changes three others: the desperate teenager who pulled the trigger . . . a policewoman on maternity leave . . . and an aging gangster plotting a terrifying revenge.

The truth about the shocking incident will tie them all together in a lethal blood knot. And nothing is what it seems.

In the Dark is the most powerful and unflinching crime novel yet from the remarkable Mark Billingham—a gripping journey into the modern urban darkness where violence is both indiscriminate and meticulously planned, and youth gangs take on established criminals for rule of the streets.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A rainy night in London. Shots are fired into a car which swerves on to the pavement, ploughing into a bus stop. It seems that a chilling gang initiation has cost an innocent victim their life. But the reality is even more chilling. A pregnant woman struggles desperately to uncover the truth.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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