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Book Review: Cry Baby

Cry Baby by Mark Billingham
Rating: 5/5

Loved it. Absolutely loved it. 

For this reader of a certain age, Cry Baby is one big nostalgia trip – and thankfully not always a rose tinted one. It’s set in 1996 at a time when England were hosting the UEFA Euro Cup (coinciding with my own early days as a London ‘incomer’) and, if I was an author, this would have been such fun way to spend a few months with my creation – adding a story to the back story, remembering London way back when, researching (to make sure you remembered correctly!), and then writing it all up. I may have oversimplified the blood, sweat and tears involved a bit here.

The story itself is cleverly spun. A spider web that starts with a missing child – two children playing hide and seek in the woods and only one comes back – but from which a tale of redemption and retribution emerges. DS Tom Thorne is part of the investigating team and, with the spectre of a previous case disturbing his sleep, he’s eager to make sure he does this one right. I loved Thorne’s interactions with his family, his colleagues, and his superiors but I especially liked his conversations with the boy’s mom – all the while focusing on what has happened to the boy and where might he be.

And for those already familiar with Thorne, there’s a certain ‘getting the band back together’ vibe although actually it’s more of how the band started as we are introduced to some very familiar characters at the same time Tom is. 

I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book. It’s made extra special because we have a character that has been 20 years in the making, going back to almost the start but it does stand well as a single book if this is a reader’s first foray into the world of Tom Thorne.

– Alison


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