Die of Shame by Mark Billingham
There is no denying this author’s talent or success. Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring DI Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His debut novel, Sleepyhead, is one of my favourite novels. It is reviewed on this site as are several other novels by Mark Billingham. https://bookreviewstoday.info/2013/06/16/sleepyhead-by-mark-billingham/ Sleepyhead was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. It will not surprise you, therefore, that I bought Die of Shame, largely because it was a novel by Mark Billingham and I found it gripping.
The premise is an interesting one, that every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about addiction. There they share their deepest secrets: stories of lies, regret, and above all, shame in the safe environment provided by the group leader.
Then one of them is killed and one of the circle must be responsible. The protagonist is a new character, Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner quickly finds her investigation hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these people and their therapist together. So DI Tanner must discover what could be shameful enough to cost someone their life.
Die of Shame is a standalone novel, which I did not realise when I bought it, so rather than looking forward to being introduced to a completely fresh cast of characters, I had looked forward to revisiting DI Tom Thorne and other old friends. I did not warm to DI Nicola Tanner and would not seek out other books that featured her.
However, I found the story and the characters in the self-help group gripping and Die of Shame is a real page turner. I very much enjoyed the book.