52) Die of Shame by Mark Billingham
I finished this on December 31st, so managed to complete my New Year’s Resolution Book-A-Week-A-Thon, which has been great. And I’ve resolved to do the same again this year. Given probably about half my reading material it seems appropriate to be ending with a police procedural. Mark Billingham is a really safe bet for a well-plotted crime novel with good dialogue, believable characters and some sharp humour. Best known for his Tom Thorne novels, he seems to be increasingly venturing away to others: in this case, DI Nicola Tanner is the main character, but the real focus is on the half a dozen characters who make up a group therapy cohort. One of them is killed and it seems like the killer must come from the others in the group.
What Billingham does cleverly is bring each of those characters and the interplay between to life. Each have back stories which are gradually and cleverly revealed, and that keeps us guessing until the final turn or two of the tricksy plot. I thought I had it sorted and had absolutely got it wrong…and my sympathies were moving around with fair regularity as well. So it all comes highly recommended – a great little one-off and fans of Thorne won’t be disappointed either.