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Friday, April 20, 2007


****½ Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham. Mystery.

If I remember correctly, I got the recommendation for this book from the comments on a post about mystery novels on Tod Goldberg's blog. If I weren't terminally lazy busy, I'd go check out who recommended it, and find out if they have other recommendations, because they obviously have great taste that matches mine.

Tom Thorne is a police detective whose unorthodox methods and insubordination would have gotten him fired long ago if he didn't consistently solve cases. His latest case is pushing even his limits.

It's a serial killer with a twist--the twist being that the one woman who survived was the success, not the failure. See, our killer's purpose is to invoke locked-in syndrome, leaving his victims in what he believes to be the perfect state: physically paralyzed, mentally aware. No pesky details to deal with, all bodily needs taken care of by someone else, they can just relax and be.

As Tom closes in on the killer, he spends time with the survivor and her doctor, and begins a romantic relationship with the doctor--a relationship which is threatened as his investigation points him to her long-term friend.

I'm not sure if I was relating too closely to Dr. Coburn, but that was the one thing that bugged me about this story--**** semi-spoiler****I wasn't clear on why Tom focused on the friend, and it seemed to me as it did to Anne that his pursuit was more about jealousy than police work.****

It was clear at the end, though, and was more than made up for by the chapters written from the surviving victim's point of view, which were a wonderful blend of chilling and amusing.

I do have to address one complaint from the Amazon reviews. Yes, it's a British book. The author is British. It takes place in London. Why, then, are they shocked, surprised, and upset that there are British slang, TV shows, etc. in the book? I've never been to England, and I had no trouble understanding. Insert rant here about expectations of cultural homogeneity.

Billingham's next book, Scaredy Cat, is on my to-be-bought list.


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