Love like Blood: A Tom Thorne Novel

Mark Billingham. Atlantic Monthly, $26 (432p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2653-5

Billingham’s entertaining 14th Tom Thorne novel (after 2015’s Time of Death) teams the formerly rule-bending London detective inspector, who’s fighting middle age and an expanding waistline, with Det. Insp. Nicola Tanner, introduced in 2016’s standalone, Die of Shame. When Tanner’s life partner, Susan Best, is murdered outside the couple’s home after a shopping trip, the by-the-book Tanner believes that she, not Susan, was the intended victim, retaliation for her investigation of a series of honor killings in London’s Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities. Skeptical at first, Thorne agrees to help Tanner when a young Bangladeshi couple disappears, and Thorne suspects that the honor killings may be linked to a cold case from his past. Readers may wish for more tension from the contrasting styles of the two well-drawn leads, or that the main plot could offer more surprises, but one perfectly executed twist at the end will leave them eagerly awaiting the next in this series. Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (June)