Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mini-reviews: Linwood Barclay and Mark Billingham

On Sunday, two of my recent 'mini-reviews' were published in the Herald on Sunday. Each month I take a look at three or four crime novels, usually (although not always) recently released books. Due to spacing constraints in Sunday's issue, only two of my four reviews were used this month. The other pair will be published at a later date. So here are my mini-reviews of Linwood Barclay's THE ACCIDENT and Mark Billingham's GOOD AS DEAD - a couple of interesting crime novels I read in the last few weeks.

The Accident
By Linwood Barclay (Orion, $37.99)
Former Toronto Star columnist Barclay has become the modern master of ‘suburban terror’, penning tales where very ordinary people find themselves entwined in dangerous events that spiral out of control. Glen’s construction company is in strife, thanks to the economy and a mysterious fire. His wife plans to help, but is killed in a DUI accident that she apparently caused. Glen juggles grief and anger while trying to protect his 8-year-old daughter from the fall-out, before realising something sinister is happening in his town. A cracking, stay-up-all-night page-turner packed with great characters and real emotion.

Good as Dead
By Mark Billingham (Little, Brown, $39.99)
Few if any are better than Billingham when it comes to contemporary British crime. His tenth novel to feature DI Tom Thorne finds the gritty London copper in a race-against time to save police officer Helen Weeks, who’s being held hostage by a dairy owner who’s snapped. What does the gunman want? Not money or his personal safety, but for the Police to investigate the death of his son in custody; he’s sure it wasn’t suicide. Billingham marries an exciting plot with compelling characters, and salts in a few nuggets of social commentary amongst the thrills.

These reviews were originally published in the 11 September edition of the Herald on Sunday, and are republished here with permission.
Have you read either book? What do you think? Do you enjoy Barclays's 'ordinary people sucked into awful situations' thrillers, and/or Billingham's long-running DI Thorne series? Do you have any suggestion for authors and novels I should incorporate into future HOS columns?


  1. Craig - Thanks for these mini-reviews. I'm so glad that HOS has integrated this feature. Yet another way to get crime fiction in the news. I like it!

  2. Have read both these books and really enjoyed them. Linwood Barclay is now on my must read authors list.
    Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne series is my very favourite. If that guy was real, I'd marry him!