The Bones Beneath
A Tom Thorne Novelby Mark Billingham
The follow-up to the critically acclaimed The Dying Hours, The Bones Beneath is the twelfth Tom Thorne novel.
The Bones Beneath, the twelfth novel in the internationally bestselling Tom Thorne series shows Thorne facing perhaps the most dangerous killer he has ever put away, Stuart Nicklin. When Nicklin announces that he wishes to reveal the whereabouts of one of his earliest victims and that he wants the cop who caught him to be there when he does it, it becomes clear that Thorne’s life is about to become seriously unpleasant. Thorne is forced to accompany Nicklin to a remote island off the Welsh coast which is cut off from the mainland in every sense. Shrouded in myth and legend, it is said to be the resting place of 20,000 saints and as Thorne and his team search for bones that are somewhat more recent, it becomes clear that Nicklin’s motives are far from altruistic.
The twisted scheme of a dangerous and manipulative psychopath will result in many more victims and will leave Tom Thorne with the most terrible choice he has ever had to make.
“Billingham is one of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today.” —Gillian Flynn
“Chilling . . . Billingham certainly knows how to make those pages turn even while your stomach churns.” —Publishers Weekly
“Like the manipulative Nicklin, Billingham delights in toying with his audience, and most readers’ nerves will be shredded long before the sadistic import of Nicklin’s deep-laid plot finally becomes clear. Thorne’s twelfth is a tour de force of suspense that dares you to guess the secrets of a magician who’s made his intentions perfectly clear from the very beginning.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“I love a good twist-up. The Bones Beneath is one of those. It is the twelfth Tom Thorne mystery by Mark Billingham, and those of us who have been along for the ride from the very beginning will note a bit of a departure here from previous installments. There is no question who the murderer is and who the victim is (for the most part). Instead, the focus is on the ‘why,’ or the motivation, if you will, for what propels the plot like a quiet, deadly rocket through a good portion of the book, moving readers just a bit closer to the edge of their seats with each passing page. . . . One of Billingham’s best to date, and certainly one of his most suspenseful.” —Bookreporter
“Billingham couldn’t have selected a more chilling scenario . . . Best-laid plans quickly turn sour, the stakes higher than ever when Thorne confronts the very nightmare he anticipated at the start of this misadventure, his decisions bearing the onus of life or death.” —Curled Up With a Good Book
“The bleak setting also evokes the proper air of mystery and menace . . . Thrillers usually stand or fall on the strength of their villains, and Nicklin can certainly make your skin crawl with his cruel mind games.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
“A slow-building gothic tale of manipulation and evil that’s heavy on atmosphere. . . a simmering suspense, with each seemingly quiet little scene building to something creepy and terrible.” —Criminal Element
“In the twelfth series entry, Billingham makes the most of his bleak, rugged setting while creating an atmosphere of chilling menace as flashbacks reveal the full extent of Nicklin’s sadism and Thorne’s vulnerability.” —Booklist
“You want the good news or the bad news?”
That’s what Detective Chief Inspector Russell Brigstocke had said to him back then. Sitting cheerfully on the edge of his bed in that hospital as though they were just old mates chewing the fat. Like he hadn’t almost bled to death a few days earlier, like what he laughably called his career wasn’t hanging in the balance. Eating his biscuits and trying his patience.
Delivering the verdict.
Good news. Bad news . . .
Now, six weeks on, Tom Thorne glanced at his rear-view mirror and saw the huge metal doors sliding shut behind him as he drove into the prison’s vehicle compound. Pulling into the parking space that had been reserved for them, he glanced across at Dave Holland in the passenger seat. He saw the apprehension on the sergeant’s face. He knew it was etched there on his own too, because he could feel it twisting in his gut, sharper suddenly than the lingering pain from the gunshot wound, which had all but faded into the background.
Like a scream rising above a long, low moan.
Wasn’t it usually some kind of a joke? That whole good news/bad news routine?
The good news: You’re going to be famous!
The bad news: They’re naming a disease after you.
Whichever way round, it was normally a joke. . . .
The bad news: They found your blood all over the crime scene!
The good news: Your cholesterol’s down.
Thorne killed the engine of the seven-seat Ford Galaxy and looked up at the prison. Walls and wire and a sky the color of wet pavement. This place was certainly nothing to laugh about at stupid o’clock on a Monday morning in the first week of November. There was nothing even remotely funny about the reason they were here.