Friday, April 22, 2016
Die of Shame by Mark Billingham
3.0 out of 5 stars -- Standalone delivers a complex mystery surrounding the murder of a member of an addiction recovery group.
They meet every Monday night -- two men, three women and the therapist/group leader. Their addictions are varied and their stories similar in the way that their problem has affected their lives. The narrative shifts in a slightly off-putting THEN and HERE AND NOW, etc. In an effort to focus on the NOW, Tony De Silva (leader) suggest that each member focus on the concept of shame as the root of their addictions. So they each, in turn, are meant to tell something about "something we did" or "something that was done to us." The shame that drove them to substance abuse. This sharing doesn't go so well as one of the members ends up dead.
Nicola Tanner catches the case, and with her partner, Dipak Chall, begins the very tedious investigation. Once they've learned a little bit about the victim, their efforts eventually center on the group members as probably suspects. There's enough suspicion to go around as they delve into the interactions of the group.
I was a bit surprised to find that this was the first and only book I've read by this author. I can't compare it to his apparently popular series featuring Tom Thorne. I felt this was quite slow moving and I really didn't like the flip flop of time though we do get a glimpse of each of the actions and thoughts of the main characters though they never really develop enough to earn my empathy or interest. Nicola needs a lot more fleshing out, but then again, how much of her private life was important to the drive of the plot. I was not really surprised with the revelation of the identity of the killer and can I just say that I definitely did not like the cop out ending. I don't know that this represents this author's finest book, so I may try one of the Tom Thorne series novels just to see if there are more thrills and suspense than there was in this one. Not a lot of action here either. So this story takes a long time to tell and not sure it's for everyone but maybe more for those who are already fans.
Thank you to NetGalley, Grove Atlantic and Edelweiss for an e-book ARC to review.