Mark Billingham began his career as a stand-up comedian. But these days he writes crime novels and reckons the two occupations have a lot in common. “As a comedian you walk out on stage and you have a minute to hook them or they’ll start booing,” he said in a recent interview. “As a writer it’s very similar. A reader doesn’t have time to say ‘I’ll give him 50 pages as it’s not very good yet, but I hope it’ll get better.”
Billingham has built up a huge following for his addictive crime novels starring Detective Inspective Tom Thorne. And deservedly so. But he writes standalone stories too, like Rush of Blood, his latest.
Rush of Blood is the chilling account of three couples who meet on holiday in Florida and, even though they don’t have much in common, become friends. Then, on the last night of the trip, the teenage daughter of a fellow holidaymaker goes missing.
The couples return home in shock but make an effort to meet over the coming months, each pair hosting a dinner party in turn. As they get to know each other better, dark secrets and ugly obsessions emerge – especially after the young girl’s body is found and all six become murder suspects.
This is a compelling story that kept me on the edge of my seat till the very last page. If you like pacy, well written crime fiction, you’ll love this.
Rush of Blood by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown, £16.99)