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    Review of SCAREDY CAT by Mark Billingham (see his website)

    William Morrow, June 2003 (U.K. 2002)

    When two young women are found strangled in London, the police suspect a link. But they seem different in some ways. Eventually Detective Inspector Tom Thorne suspects two killers, linked somehow but operating alone. One of those killers proves to be easy enough to catch, but the other, his current identity a secret, is more challenging indeed. That killer strikes for pleasure, and gains further pleasure from the pain he causes others--including his fellow killer.

    Thorne and his unit are obsessed with the killer, but have to manage their other responsibilities as well. England may not be the murder kingdom that the U.S. is, but murder, like fast food, has been imported and taken. Meanwhile, the police have to deal with their own issues--sexual tensions among the detectives, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Thorne doesn't have a home life, but he does have an aging father who has begun behaving more and more erratically.

    Author Mark Billingham delivers a darkly fascinating and exciting suspense novel. Thorne and the killer play a battle of wits that each intends to win. Thorne hates the price he has to pay to capture the killer and the killer savors his kills, but they are alike in their willingness to make any sacrifice to achieve their goals. Fans of Bill James (see reviews of James's novels) will love SCAREDY CAT and anticipate more books by Billingham.

    See more reviews of novels by Mark Billingham.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/02/03

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