Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Time of Death

by Mark Billingham

The stunning thirteenth Tom Thorne novel, from a writer called “one of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today” by Gillian Flynn

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 448
  • Publication Date June 14, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2499-9
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $18.00

About The Book

Time of Death is the astonishing thirteenth Tom Thorne novel from British crime master Mark Billingham, a gripping story of kidnapping, the tabloid press, and a frightening case of mistaken identity. Tom Thorne is on holiday with his girlfriend DS Helen Weeks, when two girls are abducted in Helen’s hometown of Polesford, Warwickshire. When a body is discovered and a man is arrested, Helen recognizes the suspect’s wife as an old school friend and returns home for the first time in twenty-five years to lend her support. As Helen faces up to a past she has tried desperately to forget and a media storm engulfs the town, Thorne becomes convinced that, despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt, the police have got the wrong man. There is still an extremely clever killer on the loose and a missing girl who Thorne believes might still be alive.


“Billingham conjures many moods in this suspenseful thriller . . . This is a multilayered, expertly crafted look at the many moving parts of an investigation and the terror unleashed by a crafty killer.” —Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist (starred review)

“DI Tom Thorne and his lover, DS Helen Weeks, return to Helen’s hated hometown in Warwickshire to confront some ugly accusations and some even uglier secrets. . . . What lingers in the memory is the group portrait of the Polesford locals brutally closing ranks against a man they’re certain deserves to die.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Builds to a surprising and satisfying climax.” —Publishers Weekly

“Morse, Rebus, and now Thorne. The next superstar detective is already with us—don’t miss him.” —Lee Child

“Billingham is a world-class crime writer and Tom Thorne is a wonderful creation. Rush to read these books.” —Karin Slaughter

“With each of his books, Mark Billingham gets better and better. These are stories and characters you don’t want to leave.” —Michael Connelly

“Clever and inventive.” —Financial Times

“The writing displays the virtues that have made Mark Billingham a bestseller: wit, careful plotting, attention to detail (some of it gruesome) and great characterization—not just Thorne and Helen but subsidiary figures such as the e-cigarette-puffing local police chief . . . An entertaining read. This won’t disappoint Billingham’s legions of fans.” —Telegraph (UK), “best crime fiction books for 2015”

“Billingham is one of the best crime novelists working today.” —Laura Lippman

“Another fine book in this top series, and one that is recommended.” —Midwest Book Review

“Billingham has seemed to be incapable of writing any way but wonderfully since Sleepyhead, his first Tom Thorne novel . . . Billingham is always spot on, but Time of Death is pitch-perfect, evenly balanced between plot and character. You won’t be able to read it without wondering why all books can’t be this good.” —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

“Some ingenious forensic footwork. What is most impressive about the novel, however, is the astute observation of the beleaguered Bates family, who turn in on themselves as the inhabitants of the town turn on them.” —Laura Wilson, Guardian (The Best Recent Crime Novels)


Longlisted for the 2016 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year
One of Entertainment Weekly‘s “10 Great Summer Thrillers’
One of the Guardian‘s “Best Recent Crime Novels’
A Telegraph Best Crime Book of the Year
To be Adapted into a TV Drama Series by the BBC


On the screen, a young reporter in a smart coat and thick scarf talked directly to camera. She spoke, suitably grim-faced yet evidently excited at breaking the news about this latest “significant development.” Behind her, almost certainly gathered together by the film crew for effect, a small group of locals jostled for position in a small market square that Helen Weeks knew well.

This was the town in which she had grown up.

The reporter continued, talking over the same video package that had run the night before: a ragged line of officers in highvis jackets moving slowly across a dark field; a distraught looking couple being comforted by relatives; a different but equally distressed couple being bundled through a scrum of journalists brandishing cameras and microphones. The reporter said that, according to sources close to the investigation, a local man in his thirties had been identified as the suspect currently in custody. She gave the man’s name. She said it again, nice and slowly. “Police,” she said, “have refused to confirm or deny that Stephen Bates is the man they are holding.”

“Ouch,” Thorne said.

“Right now there’s a Senior Investigating Officer ripping some gobshite a new arsehole.”

“Leak could have come from anywhere,” Helen said.

“Not good though, is it?”

“Not a lot anyone can do, not there. Somebody knows somebody who saw him taken to the station, whatever.” Her eyes had not left the screen. “It’s not an easy place to keep secrets.”