‘Die of Shame’ is a standalone novel by Mark Billingham who is best known for his Tom Thorne series of novels.
Tony De Silva is a therapist who leads a group of recovering addicts in their weekly meetings. The group contains a variety of characters.
Tony is himself an ex addict and often seems as much in need of therapy as his clients. Robin is a respected anaesthetist who started self prescribing after the death of his son. Diana is a well to do woman who turned to alcohol after her husband traded her in on a younger model. Chris is a young male model who turned to prostitution to feed his drug habit. Heather seems to have been addicted to most vices. The newest member Caroline is an out of control eater whose body is suffering under the strain of her excess weight.
Tony wants the group members to discuss the shame in their past that led to their addiction. But when one of the members discusses their past, the rest of the group is horrified and the member is later murdered.
DI Nicola Tanner and DS Dipak Chall immediately look to the group, including its leader to find their murderer. But they are hampered by the confidentiality that is essential for maintaining trust within the group. Even when they get close to finding out what was discussed, they still need to find out who was upset enough to become a murderer.
This was an excellent thriller with the focus on the therapy group rather than on the police solving the crime. We do, however, find out a little about Nicola Tanner’s home life and the police pathologist is Phil Hendricks who appears regularly in the Tom Thorne novels.
It is always enjoyable when an author with a successful long running series is able to produce an excellent standalone novel. (I wonder if Tom Thorne’s appearance in this novel will be reflected in the series).
I am slowly working my way through the Thorne series with many novels left before I catch up to the present day.
Book Published 2016