cover image Die of Shame

Die of Shame

Mark Billingham. Atlantic Monthly, $26 (448p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2525-5

In this solid standalone from Billingham (Rush of Blood), London therapist Tony De Silva, a recovering drug addict, leads an often tense weekly session with five clients whose only connection is a history of substance abuse. When the body of recovering heroin addict Heather Finlay is found in her flat weeks after her murder, Det. Insp. Nicola Tanner takes on the case. Tanner—perhaps a less compelling but no less competent copper than the author’s series lead, Tom Thorne—learns that Finlay was last seen after an incendiary group meeting and immediately suspects that De Silva’s group is linked to the murder, but she’s stymied by uncooperative group members such as anesthetist Robin Joffe, who wants to keep his past drug use hidden at work, and jilted housewife Diana Knight, who now shops instead of drinking. Shifting between past group sessions and Tanner’s present-day investigation, Billingham builds a complex plot that is as much a whodunit as it is an examination of addiction and the lies people tell themselves to survive. [em]Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (June) [/em]