About The Book
From British thriller master Mark Billingham, a recent finalist for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Dagger in the Library Award, awarded to a writer whose work has given “the most pleasure to readers,” Die of Shame is a chilling story of addiction, subterfuge, and murder.
Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame. A respected doctor, a well-heeled housewife, a young gay man . . . they could not be more different. All they have in common is a history of pain and addiction. When one member of the group is murdered, it quickly becomes apparent that someone else in the circle is responsible. The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these people and their therapist together, which makes things difficult for Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner, a woman who can appreciate the desire to keep personal matters private. If she is to find the killer, she will need to use less obvious means. The question is: What could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when secrets, lies, and denial are second nature to all of your suspects?
“Billingham is one of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today.” —Gillian Flynn
“Before turning to writing crime fiction full time 15 years ago, Billingham was a TV writer, actor and standup comedian. In those prior professions, he seems to have honed a beautiful sense of timing. Die of Shame is all about exquisitely controlled revelation that builds suspense and keeps the reader guessing, and second-guessing.” —Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
“A laser-sharp focus on the world’s worst therapy group . . . A boiling Petri dish of alliances forged, strained, and broken amid the background of nonstop, sometimes knife-edged conflict. The solution, when it arrives, is satisfying enough. But it’s the group portrait of the Monday-night therapy group, the most mismatched set of intimates since your own last family gathering, that lingers longest in the memory.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Shifting between past group sessions and Tanner’s present-day investigation, Billingham builds a complex plot that is as much a whodunit as it is an examination of addiction and the lies people tell themselves to survive.” —Publishers Weekly
“Billingham skillfully layers the deceits and betrayals concealing a satisfying twist. A must-read for Val McDermid fans.” —Christine Tran, Booklist
“Very cleverly constructed . . . A terrific and unconventional addition to Billingham’s oeuvre, packed with colourfully drawn, wittily observed characters who never lapse into stereotypes.” —Irish Independent
“Brilliant . . . A read-till-you-drop psychological mystery driven by some of the most intriguing characters you’ll meet.” —Globe & Mail (Toronto)
“Mark Billingham is an outstanding writer of character-driven suspense, and Die of Shame is his best book yet! Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner investigates the murder of a member of a group counseling session, but her investigation is hindered by the group’s confidentiality agreement. Each member of the group has something to hide, but whose secrets are worth killing for? Die of Shame is a complex, satisfying read!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Michigan
“Mark Billingham is a brilliant writer . . . A griping read . . . Rarely has a book ended quite so perfectly.” —Cleopatra Loves Books
One of Strand Magazine‘s top ten books of 2016
“I didn’t think you were coming back,” the prisoner says. He had begun to roll a cigarette as soon as he’d sat down and he licks the edge of the paper, his eyes fixed on the person in the chair opposite.
“I had a lot of running around to do.”
“A bit of detective work, after what you said last time.”
He is trying hard not to look nervous, or even particularly interested, to remember exactly what he said all those weeks before. What he might have given away. He says, “It’s rubbish, isn’t it? Everything you said in that first letter. The reason you’ve been coming.”
“Sorry about that.”
He sits up straight and lays his hands flat on the table. He says, “You hear stories inside about people like you.”
“Really? What kind of people is that?”
“People who . . . get off on all this. Who just like being close to it.” Now, he leans forward, confident that he’s hit a nerve. That he’s back in charge. “All this shit you’ve been giving me, all those questions, and I reckon you just want to know what it’s like.”
“What it’s like?”
“To kill someone.”
The visitor’s face breaks into a grin. “Oh, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I’ll know for myself soon enough.