Crime novel reviewer.
British. Dark. Disturbed.
Detective Inspector Tom Thorne now knows that three murdered young women were a killer's mistakes -- and that Alison was his triumph. And unless Thorne can enter the mind of a brilliant madman -- a frighteningly elusive fiend who enjoys toying with the police as much as he savors his sick obsession -- Alison Willetts will not be the last victim consigned forever to a hideous waking hell.
Already an international bestseller, Mark Billingham's "Sleepyhead" is a chilling masterwork of crime fiction -- a boldly original experiment in terror that will beget dark dreams and sleepless nights.
What I loved about this one was the characterisation. Thorne, Anne, Jeremy, Rachel, and especially Alison, oh God Alison, are all beautifully written and fully three-dimensional - and not only that, they're original, and unique. OK maybe not so much Thorne when it comes to unique, to be be fair, but the supporting cast here are so strong that it doesn't matter.
The terror of what he's setting out to do to these women is so unusual, and so unthinkable - and Alison's reaction is illuminating and encouraging and heartbreaking all at the same time.
What didn't work too well for me was the ending, and the way in which the motivation behind everything was explained, which took away a lot from the experience. I also felt that the final actions of two incredibly strong women showed a sense of helplessness that detracted from the hope I felt whilst reading. The second point is a very personal one, and I can understand that many readers might have the very opposite reaction. The author's note at the end grated on me too. I'm pretty sure his NHS remarks were implicit and understood and needed no further explanation. But again that's just me.
Sleepyhead is a fast, thought-provoking read which for me lost out at the close, but I'd still be happy to read more in the series.