Killing Habit
by Billingham, Mark

The spread of a dangerous new drug and a spate of attacks that escalate into a serial killing spree prompt wildcard detective Tom Thorne and straitlaced DI Nicola Tanner to risk everything to catch two very different killers.

Mark Billingham has twice won the Theakston Old Peculier Award for Best Crime Novel and also won the Sherlock Award for "Best Detective Created by a British Author." His books, which include the critically acclaimed Tom Thorne series, have been translated into twenty-five languages and have sold over five million copies. He lives in London.

One of DI Tom Thorne's most harrowing cases begins with evidence that someone's taken to slaughtering…cats. "Tomicide?" Thorne's boss, DCI Russell Brigstocke, wonders if the Homicide squad should rename itself after it's asked to investigate the gruesome deaths of at least 15 cats throughout greater London. Since butchering animals is, along with wetting the bed and setting fires, one of the classic symptoms of a nascent serial killer, the powers that be are worried that someone is preparing for a more serious spate of felonies. But consulting psychiatrist Dr. Melita Perera plants a still more disturbing seed in Thorne's head: What if, instead of working up to homicide, the cat killer is actually cooling down in between human murders? As soon as Thorne and DI Nicola Tanner, back on the job after her partner's own murder (Love Like Blood, 2017), start to look for unsolved cases, an unnervingly large number of possibilities leap out: retired librarian Patricia Somersby, B ristol University student Annette Mangan, Norwich physician Leila Fadel, all of them strangled by an unknown person who remains at large—not to mention Alice Matthews, a victim who's still cooling in the mortuary. In addition to spearheading Operation Felix, Thorne and Tanner must also decide whether city trader Andrew Evans, recently released from prison after his distracted driving claimed the life of a boy he ran down, can possibly be innocent in the fatal shooting of Adnan Jandali, like Evans a drug addict hopelessly in debt to his suppliers, despite the mountain of evidence against him. The main feature the two cases seem to share is an endless tangle of false leads. Will they converge in some more spectacular fashion? The unusual premise will hook you, but it's Billingham's patience and persuasiveness in unfolding its grim details that will keep you reading long past the hour when all cats are gray. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

He was always amazed at how easy it was.

Part of that was down to him of course, and it was no more than common sense; the thorough preparations, the thought he put into it. The care taken each and every time and the refusal to get lazy.

Victims had never been hard to find, quite the opposite, but still, each night's work needed to be treated with caution. Best laid plans and all that. He was no expert when it came to forensics, but he knew enough to avoid leaving any sorts of traces. The gloves were thicker than he would have liked, but that couldn't be helped. It took away some of the feeling at the end, which was a shame, but he wasn't going to risk getting scratched, was he?

Enough feeling, though. There was always enough, and each time he could feel things starting to . . . even out inside him.

A lifting, of sorts.

Funny old word, but it felt right.

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