cover image The Demands

The Demands

Mark Billingham. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $24.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-12663-2

A hostage situation turns personal in Billingham’s crackling 10th suspense thriller featuring Det. Insp. Tom Thorne (after 2010’s From the Dead). Javed Akhtar is convinced that his 16-year-old son, Amin, was recently murdered in the Barndale Young Offenders Institution—where Amin was serving an eight-year sentence following the death of another boy during a scuffle—even though everything points to suicide. Akhtar snaps one morning and takes two hostages in his London news shop, including Det. Sgt. Helen Weeks, who appeared in Billingham’s stand-alone In the Dark. As tactical teams and a hostage negotiator gather outside, Akhtar stands firm: he’ll only talk to Thorne, who originally investigated the case that put Amin away. At Barndale, Thorne uncovers secrets Amin kept from his parents, secrets involving powerful people who would do anything to keep certain information under wraps. Billingham never lets the tension lag as the hours tick by, the desperation and Thorne’s dogged determination palpable. (June)