SLEEPYHEAD

Mark Billingham, Author . Morrow $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-621299-9

In a variation on the serial killer theme, newcomer Billingham's villain doesn't want to actually kill his victims (those who do die he considers "mistakes") so much as induce massive strokes that will leave them cerebrally conscious while otherwise in a completely comatose state known as "locked-in syndrome." Combining elements of both police and medical procedural thriller, the novel follows frayed, middle-aged London detective inspector Tom Thorne as he chases down a series of red herrings, gradually becoming more and more obsessed with the killer's "masterpiece," 24-year-old Alison Willetts, and the seductive doctor, Anne Coburn, who cares for her. This romantic subplot becomes entwined with the main plot as Anne's colleague and paramour, Dr. Jeremy Bishop (whose amusement with Thorne's growing infatuation with Anne reveals a particular sort of passive-aggressive sadism), fuels Thorne's rising suspicion of him with verbal jousts. Billingham, a TV writer and stand-up comic, manifests a competent enough hand with plotting and dialogue, particularly at romantic moments ("Now, this carpet has unhappy memories and I'm still not hundred percent sure I've got the smell of vomit out of it..." "You smooth-talking bastard"). Overall, he displays a solid grasp of the form, though not at the gut-wrenching level of such peers as Mo Hayder. Billingham excels in characterization, however, and it's likely that readers will develop empathy for his conflicted protagonist and the compassionate physician who takes justice into her own hands. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/06/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 978-0-7515-4891-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-62231-287-0
Paperback - 405 pages - 978-0-7515-3146-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-06-103221-9
Ebook - 100 pages - 978-0-06-193272-4
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 432 pages - 978-0-06-193275-5
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-06-193270-0
Ebook - 978-0-06-193277-9
Ebook - 978-0-06-193273-1
Paperback - 389 pages - 978-0-8021-2150-9
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.