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Lifeless (2005)

by Mark Billingham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tom Thorne (5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6691234,851 (3.7)9
To his friends, his foes and even to himself it looks as though Tom Thorne's career is on the skids. On his last case he had seriously over-stepped the mark, and now gardening leave has been suggested and all he has to tend is a window box. So when it appears someone is targeting London's homeless community it seems pefectly natural for Thorne to take a step nearer to the gutter and go undercover amongst them. He blends into the sometimes invisble community easily - too easily perhaps - but the information he gleans quickly proves that this is no random killer, it is someone with a very distinct purpose and a very specific list of victims, only the team supporting Thorne from the outside don't have the key to motive or identity. Then somehow the fact that a policeman is working under cover becomes public knowledge ... With acute observation of character and place, combined with his acknowledged mastery of plotting, LIFELESS raises the Thorne series to an even higher level.… (more)
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English (10)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Great book.
I found the respect paid to the homeless and their world the best part of the book. ( )
  Eternal.Optimist | Aug 22, 2018 |
Lifeless by Mark Billingham is the 5th in his Tom Thorne police procedural series and although I am a big fan of this series, this particular book wasn’t my favorite. I should say here that although this book was published in 2005, I read an uncorrected bound proof that I picked up in a second hand book store. I hope that the final published version was a little tighter.

Due to consequences from the last book, Thorne is having trouble settling at work. He can’t abide doing a desk job and filling out reports so when it appears that someone is targeting and killing the homeless he volunteers to go undercover as a street person. Soon he is making connections with some of the street people that he meets and these murders become personal to him.

The main character Tom Thorne has quite a few things to work through in this book and having him on the street with a lot of time on his hands gives the character the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately it also slows the story down and at times seemed to drag it down as well. This is a series that I enjoy a great deal so one slightly off book will certainly not stop me from looking forward to the next book. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 8, 2015 |
London police detective Tom Thorne goes undercover as a homeless to capture a serial killer targeting them. The case develops slowly but gives excellent descriptions of street people and a grittier side of London. The book dwells on causes from drugs to the Iraq War (1 in 5 are vets), also explores their community. Nothing attractive here. Again, Billingham goes for realism in his climax, forsaking a flash ending. Thorne morns his Dad in this one ( )
  maneekuhi | Mar 5, 2012 |
Bought this as a "must read" in May and promptly lost it in the pile of books under my bed. Which is why it took me until Christmas to get around to reading it. Someone is killing rough sleepers in London and Tom Thorne goes undercover and fits in very well on the streets. Some bits struck me as a bit unlikely but that's true of real life as well as fiction and on the whole it was a solid and enjoyable read.
  nocto | Dec 8, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mark Billinghamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Holleman, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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' Hell is a city much like London' Percy Bysshe Shelley
'No one told me grief felt so much like fear ' C. S. Lewis
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The first kick wakes him and shatters his skull at the same time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

To his friends, his foes and even to himself it looks as though Tom Thorne's career is on the skids. On his last case he had seriously over-stepped the mark, and now gardening leave has been suggested and all he has to tend is a window box. So when it appears someone is targeting London's homeless community it seems pefectly natural for Thorne to take a step nearer to the gutter and go undercover amongst them. He blends into the sometimes invisble community easily - too easily perhaps - but the information he gleans quickly proves that this is no random killer, it is someone with a very distinct purpose and a very specific list of victims, only the team supporting Thorne from the outside don't have the key to motive or identity. Then somehow the fact that a policeman is working under cover becomes public knowledge ... With acute observation of character and place, combined with his acknowledged mastery of plotting, LIFELESS raises the Thorne series to an even higher level.

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