Tuesday 20 February 2018

Crime: Die of Shame by Mark Billingham

Little, Brown, €18.99

Die of Shame by Mark Billingham
Die of Shame by Mark Billingham

Patrick Kelleher

Mark Billingham knows how to draw his reader in. The bombastic title of his latest novel, Die of Shame is enough to prove this.

The novel is a slow-burning one with a very grisly murder and a whole host of suspicious characters at the fore of the investigation.

The question is, who killed Heather, and more importantly, why?

Nicola Tanner, a detective, is keen to get to the bottom of the murder. Heather was a member of a therapy group for ex-addicts. When she is found brutally murdered in her apartment, Tanner looks first to the group.

Could one of these ex-addicts be responsible?

Die of Shame is an excellently written novel, and Billingham expertly drip-feeds information in each chapter. All of the characters offer something intriguing, including detective Tanner.

Her sub-plot is nicely tied up with the overarching theme of addiction.

A thrilling whodunit, where none of the characters are clear of blame until the dramatic ending, Billingham writes them brilliantly: they all have their own lives and their own demons lurking in the background.

They are also a surprisingly diverse collection of characters, something that many crime writers could look to Billingham to learn.

This is a thrilling and entertaining read, replete with suspicion, confusion and accusations, and despite a slightly disappointing ending, one of the best crime novels of the year so far. Shocking, frightening, gripping.

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