A review of Sleepyhead – by Mark Billingham
This is the first in a series of books featuring Metropolitan Police Detective DI Tom Thorne. Thorne is an emotionally bruised individual whose marriage is over, has few friends, and is certainly not a team player. The job is all he has, and the thought of being beaten by a criminal is more than he can stand. Protocol and procedure are not words he recognises.
There is a serial killer on the loose, and the method of killing suggests the killer has medical knowledge. The killer uses skilful manipulation of pressure points on the head and neck. Worse, the killer regards each death as a failure because he’s trying to leave his victims alive but experiencing ‘Locked-In Syndrome’.
With one victim, Alison Willetts. he succeeds. Willets is left paralysed and cannot communicate until a method of eye-winking is devised, and police believe the killer has made his first mistake. But then DI Thorne realises the truth; the killer is a modern-day Josef Mengele using his medical skills to experiment on the women.
Thorne also realises that the killer is taunting him because the murderer starts leaving notes for Thorne and even goes as far as attacking Thorne when he cannot defend himself.
Thorne develops a fixation with a doctor at a local hospital. Despite colleagues ruling the doctor out of their enquiries, Thorne does not accept this and goes to significant lengths to prove his point and ends up facing accusations of harassment.
The novel draws the reader in. Four Stars from me.
Review by Andrew R Williams
Author of The Tipham Trilogy and the Arcadia’s Children Series.