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Kat's Review of Lifeless by Mark Billingham (Tom Thorne #5)

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Kat's Rating: 3/5

Availability: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio, Nook and Kobo

*Please note if you plan on reading the series in order, then do not continue reading this review as it will inevitably contain spoilers*

Synopsis: 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 perfectly natural for Thorne to take a step nearer to the gutter and go undercover amongst them. He blends into the sometimes invisible 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 and 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 undercover becomes public.

My Review: I like Tom Thorne, really I do...but for some reason this latest instalment was slow going. The premise sounded pretty good, but with the recent loss of his Dad, it seems Tom is somewhat on the edge. He is on Gardening leave, but when the opportunity comes up to go undercover within the London homeless community he can’t resist. The writing is fabulous and to be honest this book made me realise just how bad the homeless situation in this country really is. From that perspective Billingham has done a stellar job, however when it comes to Thorne, by the end all I wanted to do was slap him around the chops and tell him to get a grip.

The crux of this latest book is that it seems a killer is targeting homeless people. With the homeless community closing ranks Tom Thorne elects to become ‘homeless’ and befriend some of the people on the street with the hope of getting clues on what people know and have seen. I really like recurring characters and Tom’s colleague Dave Holland is no exception. It seems that even Holland is becoming tired of Thorne’s transformation. The story rumbled along and there were moments that the suspense ratcheted up, but then it seemed to die off and I didn’t feel the same oomph that I did when I read his first book Sleepyhead.

Overall, this latest instalment was a decent read, but certainly not enough to grab me by the short and curlies! I love the characters and MB’s writing is great, I just felt like this book lacked its normal magic, so I will hope that the next book recaptures that by the bucketload.

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