Lazybones is the third book in Mark Billingham’s Detective Tom Thorne series. Days after a convicted rapist is released from prison, he is found dead in a hotel room. The murder was brutal, and the victim was kneeling naked on a bare mattress with a black hood over his head and with his hands tied behind his back. As Detective Thorne and his team collect evidence and survey the murder scene, the phone in the hotel room rings. A florist is calling to “check arrangements” about a wreath that was ordered in the middle of the night. Clearly, someone knew when the murder victim was being released from jail and that person wanted the hand out punishment on his own terms.
While Thorne is trying to make sense of the murder and hone in on a suspect, a second body is found in a different hotel room and the modus operandi is the same – a second sex offender is dead and appears to have been killed under similar circumstances as the first victim. There are many questions that Thorne must answer: who is the killer, how are the victims being lured to the hotel rooms, and whom do the victims think they are meeting?
A series of letters that are found by the police shifts the case in a new direction, and the suspense increases as Thorne becomes emotionally involved, which always spurs him into action. The police are questioning whether they have some sort of vigilante on their hands or are the murders of a personal nature of some sort, perhaps with a link to the past? The deeper Thorne digs into the case, the questions continue - and keep readers guessing until the end.
Lazybones is an exciting, well-written crime thriller that starts off with a chilling opening and ends with a bang. I was hooked from the first page and found myself not wanting to put the book down until I reached its conclusion, which was shocking yet satisfying (and certainly not contrived). Thorne is a likeable protagonist because he is intelligent yet imperfect; he is hard-edged, but there is a tender side to him. Thorne’s co-workers and colleagues are also interesting, and their lives and relationships add to the depth of the novel and to the overall series. Billingham is an excellent storyteller, and it is no surprise that he is an international bestselling author. I am looking forward to future novels by Billingham, and I hope that he continues with the Thorne series.