The Bones Beneath

(Tom Thorne, Bk. 12). 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781622314041. $34.99; digital download. F
Billingham's latest series installment (after The Dying Hours) finds Tom Thorne meeting up once again with the notorious serial killer Stuart Nicklin. The manipulative Nicklin claims that he'll reveal the burial place of a young man murdered on an island off the Welsh coast that once served as a reform school. Thorne and a team of officers and guards take Nicklin and another inmate to the scene to locate the body. However, the task becomes considerably more complicated as Thorne soon figures out that the trip is part of an elaborate escape plot engineered by Nicklin. The strength of the novel lies in the range of interesting characters created by Billingham. The author also does an excellent job of creating the creepy atmosphere of the decaying school on an isolated island. While prior knowledge of the series helps in knowing both characters and backstory, this holds up quite well as a stand-alone work. The author does an excellent job narrating.
VERDICT Fans of murder mysteries will enjoy this terrific audiobook. ["Billingham was a stand-up comic and obviously took away from that experience crucial lessons about grabbing and holding his audience's attention as he here portions out new characters and cliff-hanger situations to keep his readers turning page after harum-scarum page," read the review of the Atlantic Monthly hc, LJ 6/1/14.]
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