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So I've been reading

Lifeless - Mark Billingham
Mark's books have always been pretty good reads. I am having trouble deciding if Tom Thorne is the London Harry Bosch or if Harry Bosch is the Los Angeles Tom Thorne. There is precedent in Connelly's case, but I think I have enjoyed Billingham's last few more than Connelly's.

The fifth in this series covers the homeless, the first Gulf War and the darkness that lurks in the heart of all good men. The downward spiral that started at the tail end of The Burning Girl continues for our weary hero. Confined to a desk Thorne asks to go undercover to discovery who is kick London's homeless people to death.

As usual Billingham does wonderful job of communicating Thorne's despair over his current state. It is a dark world out there and it only seems to be getting darker. I don't want this to sound like a negative, but Lifeless worked better as social commentary then as a crime novel. The who-done-it, and even the why-done-it, take back seat to the societal influences that are seeds to our behavior.

I was struck by the overwhelming sadness of this book. In a greater sense the book is about how our lives can be infected before we are even born. An old man is killed. At first we feel the sadness of a lonely man losing his life. Soon we revile the old man for the suffering he has caused to a woman, her son, and his daughter. The fallout is endless. The pieces of a life that can never be reconstructed. The shattering effect of one horrific event and its ability to echo forever.

It is a heartbreaking work, and one that you should read.

Jar City is apart of the rampant Nordic Crime Fiction wave that has over taken the genre in the last 18 months. The Nordic lands also have a high incidents of suicide. I wonder if we will ever see the Tim Cockey or the Chris Grabenstien of Nordic Crime Fiction?

A dark novel is fine and I have no problem reading them. I just don't want to see the cliche of the depressing winter hinterlands of Arctic circle become the excuse for exploration after exploration of the dark caverns of the human soul.


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