Book review: The Killing Habit

This is a new feature on Words Worth Writing, in association with NetGalley.

The Killing Habit, Mark Billingham
Thanks to NetGalley and to Little, Brown for an advance copy of The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham.

I love reading books by Mark Billingham and look forward to each new release. However, I have to admit to being a tad disappointed by this one. It felt a bit rushed or unedited, and the Kindle version I had, the layout was all over the place with dialogue from different speakers running together and paragraphs splitting mid-sentence.

The book itself started, I feel, amid a load of jumble. I had no idea where we were or who we were reading about and I had to go back to the start several times to get it straight inside my own head. Then it jumped around without any hints or tips in the way of subheadings or times or anything like that. And every time it switched viewpoint, I had to re-read it to make sure I knew where I was.

There were too many characters. Far too many. I lost track of who was who. In one part, we had Thorne holding a report written by one person (not him) that had been authorised by another person and passed along by someone else and he was giving it to someone else. And there were far too many characters with names beginning with the letter T – Tom, Thorne, Tanner, Treasure, Tim, Tracey, Terry, Trevor, Tony – which didn’t help at all. Along with too much backstory.

If you’ve never read a Tom Thorne book before, or a book by Mark Billingham, then don’t start with this one. It’s not his greatest.