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Download The Burning Girl: A Novel epub

by Mark Billingham

Some fires never go out ...

X marks the spot -- and when that spot is a corpse's naked back and the X is carved in blood, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is in no doubt that the dead man is the latest victim of a particularly vicious contract killer. It's morbid and messy -- but it's a mystery with plenty of clues. This is turf warfare between North London gangs. Organized crime boss Billy Ryan is moving into someone else's territory, and that someone is ready to stand up for what he believes is his.

Thorne's got plenty on his plate when he agrees to help out ex-DCI Carol Chamberlain rake through the ashes of an old case that has come back to haunt her. Schoolgirl Jessica Clarke was lit on fire twenty years ago. Now, Gordon Rooker, the man Chamberlain put away for the crime, is up for parole, and it seems there's a copycat on the prowl.

Or perhaps it's someone trying to right a serious wrong: Jessica Clarke was the victim of mistaken identity. The intended target was the daughter of a gangland boss, a woman who would grow up to marry the current leader, Billy Ryan ...

Thorne quickly identifies a tenuous link between the two crimes, and past and present fuse together to form a new, horrifying riddle. One that involves more killings, violence, greed, and a murderous family with no values -- except gain at any price.

When an X is carved into his front door, Tom Thorne realizes that fires, once thought to be out, continue to burn.

Download The Burning Girl: A Novel epub
ISBN: 0060745266
ISBN13: 978-0060745264
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Thrillers & Suspense
Author: Mark Billingham
Language: English
Publisher: William Morrow (June 28, 2005)
Pages: 368 pages
ePUB size: 1134 kb
FB2 size: 1354 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 842
Other Formats: lrf mbr rtf mobi

Stopped at page 50 because I didn't like any of the characters, but more important I don't like stories of concentrated descriptions of violence to women or anyone else, but women are a favorite of storytellers. This is the same reason I stopped watching Criminal Minds many years ago, and before that a movie where I just said to myself, "Enough!"
I have read quite a few of his series ,this book was the most difficult for me to finish. The horror of the burnt girl took me back to my early days as a RN and reminded me how painful the dressing changes for burn patients used to be. Today's technology has revolutionized the care of the burn patient but the pain and the screams still persist
Thorn is complicated conflicted man but his character gets better with each novel.
After the run of the mill mysteries I've been reading this was more than a treat, a scrumptious meal. I've not read any of the author's books before, but upon reading a New York Times review gave it a try. Am glad I did. Each time a twist seemed to be figured out it got twisted again, and kept me reading. The subject matter of the book, interlocking rivalry of gangs, their layers of hierarchy with expendable lower fruit of the tree, the difficulties and complexities of law enforcement to take them on rang true. Tom Thorne is a Di I want to read more of
If you enjoy extremely well written mysteries with in-depth character development, complex, not-in-the-least-pretty D.I.'s (apologies to Richard Jury and Tommy Lynley--I still love you), Tom Thorne is your man. Mark Billingham is a superb writer, and Thorne is a good man whose motivation is occasionally suspect; he is a flawed, lovely character. These books are not full of humor but they are all gems. More Harry Hole than Department Q, these books stay with you. Billingham missed his calling; he is a talented psychologist! I am, however, grateful that he chose a literary career instead.
Far be it for me to criticise such a well renowned author. However I didn't particularly take to Tom Thorne and was also disappointed with the ending. As a rule I don't like detective stories where an investigating officer becomes personally involved with someone who is a potential suspect, or accomplice, and I would imagine (but don't actually know the rules) that investigating officers should keep all persons connected to a case at arms length.
Tony W
Plot/Storyline: 3 3/4 Stars

This is a British mystery with a unique plot where the killer does not actually want to be a killer. I did feel like the difference from other serial killer novels would have stood out a bit more had the killer been more successful in his endeavors.

The book moved along at a fairly fast pace. There were quite a few action and tension-filled scenes to keep the reader enthralled. Almost every scene forwarded the story with good attention to plot detail. Even the scenes with Allison, the girl in the coma, speaking were essential to the storyline and not just tossed in for shock effect.

Reading a true British novel takes a bit of extra concentration on my part. I know a lot of British words that are different, such as `boot' for `car trunk'. However, I still manage to learn more. In this one, I learned that `pissed' means `drunk,' not `angry.' However, this `other language' gave the book a little more flair as it immerses the reader in British Culture.

I was unimpressed by the ending. The reasoning behind the killer's motives just did not add up for me. I do realize that you pretty much have to be a bit nuts to go around killing people. I also realize that many killer's motives would not be logical to a sane person. And, well, I do consider myself to be mostly sane. However, in fiction, authors can certainly imagine and write about logical motives, and it appears this author tried to do so. It just fell short of the mark when it came to explaining, not the killings, but the urge to leave the girls living in comas.

Character Development: 4 1/2 Stars

Tom Thorne, while a bit cliched, was still a well-developed character. He is a crusty old investigator with some old-school techniques and not well liked by his peers for his tendancy to bend the rules. Yes, it's a bit trite, but the very familiarity makes for a good, comfortable read.

Anne Coburn, the love interest and doctor for Allison Willets, was a bit weak, yet still a decent supporting character.

Allison Willets is pretty much the star of the show and makes the book really stand out. Her viewpoint is told with incredible emotion.

Writing Style: 5 Stars

The writing style is excellent. There is plenty of description to admire, without being overburdened with it. The dialogue is excellent with a major swipe of realism. You can actually hear the English accent while reading.

Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars

Both were of professional quality.

Rating: PG-15 for Violence, Language, and Sexual References


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I did this kind of backwards. I read "Lazy Bones" first and so I knew who got spared and who didn't make it from the first to the third book in this series. It didn't hurt the suspense or the story, though. This one is good enough to stand on its own. And what a concept! We have here a criminal (lunatic?) who doesn't want to kill people. His or her idea is to deliberately induce a stroke to a victim so that they are still completely cognitive but unable to move more than an eyelash. Absolutely paralyzed and still fully intelligent with complete knowledge of the crime, but unable to communicate. And young girls are killed whilst this fiend practices the fine art of paralyzing without killing. It is a dreadful concept and gives me the absolute willies. We have the usual marginal Detective Inspector (Tom Thorne), his colleagues, and "incident room" badinage, but I do wish that we could sometimes have a detective who is actually functional in his or her personal life. Ian Rankin ruined things for us with Rebus and nobody will ever write the somewhat redeemable detective better so I wish everyone would quit trying. Having said that, this is a good and creepy read and the ending is a little weak, but also a bit of a relief. Or is it? Just the concept of an intentionally induced stroke will follow you around for a while afterward.