The Bones Beneath: A Tom Thorne Novel

Atlantic Monthly. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780802122483. $24. F
In this 12th series entry (following 2013's The Dying Hours), the good news is that Tom Thorne has been reinstated to his rightful place on the Murder Squad. But that comes with a catch. In this case, he's delegated, along with a gaggle of forensics investigators and local constabulary, to accompany two prisoners (one a formidable and outrageous serial murderer named Stuart Nicklin, who was captured by Thorne years before) to a remote, forbidding, and bewitching isle off the Welsh coast. All of this is ostensibly so that Nicklin can help recover the body of an early victim, and all the details and personnel have been chosen at his personal behest. Thorne can't help but hope there's a limit to his fine fortune. In a former life 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.
VERDICT Any fans of Ian Rankin and John Harvey unfamiliar with this series should have the good luck to hop aboard. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14.]
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