Mark Billingham, ‘Lifeless’

I’ve noticed that Mark Billingham’s name occurs as a reviewer on the cover of other thrillers that I pick up. This gives me a slight sense of guilt that I’ve never heard of him before now. I’ve just been looking at his website and discovered that he’s also a stand-up comedian, writes articles for national newspapers and broadcasts on Radio 4 now and then. I’m quite proud of never having heard of most of the people on Celebrity Big Brother, but this one is less impressive on my part. (I like the article on the relationship between crime writing and stand-up comedy, by the way – worth a look.)

This is anything but lifeless (wonder how many reviewers jumped on that one?).  What I like most is that there’s no sense of reverence about anything. People are messy, imperfect, annoying, funny, forgetful, pathetic and surprising. It’s a page-turner. I normally prefer whodunnits to slow reveals, but this one keeps moving and is full of nice small details, both in dialogue and description. I don’t know that it will stick in my head as a novel to remember, but it was a good one while it lasted.

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