The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham

‘The Dying Hours is the 11th instalment in Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne series. It is the first one that I’ve read, but I now have plans to read more.

Tom Thorne is back in uniform for the first time in 25 years. He’s always been a bit of a renegade cop, but this time he’s gone too far. So while still an Inspector, he is no longer a Detective Inspector (officially anyway).

When Tom Thorne is called to the double suicide of a 70 year old couple, something about the crime scene doesn’t feel right to him. But without being able to identify the problem, he is unable to convince the detective on scene to investigate further.

But Thorne can’t help himself and soon he is carrying out his own investigation – trying his best to stay under the radar since he has been told to leave the case alone. Soon he finds more suicides that aren’t quite right to add to his list and he is on the hunt for a killer who is able to convince others to take their own lives.

Without the normal detective tools available, Thorne enlists the reluctant help of a few loyal old colleagues – DS Dave Holland, DI Yvonne Kitson and pathologist Phil Hendricks. They all know that the consequences won’t be good if they are caught carrying on a private investigation. And, their steps are being dogged by DCI Hackett from Thorne’s local Murder Investigation Team.

On the personal front, Thorne is living with Helen Wood, a police officer he met in the previous novel, and her young son Alfie. He also hides his investigation from her.

By the end of the story, Helen’s and Thorne’s relationship is up in the air, along with Thorne’s career. We’ll have to wait till the next novel in the series to find out what happens.


I found this novel extremely enjoyable and hard to put down. I was quite confused at times with so many surnames beginning with ‘H’ and without having read any earlier novels, I had trouble keeping track of who was who.

I’m sure I’ll eventually get the characters sorted out as I plan to go back to the beginning of the series starting with – ‘Sleepyhead’.


Book Published 2013


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