Tom Thorne Books

The name Tom Thorne refers to a series of novels written by Mark Billingham. It is also the name of the series’ primary protagonist. The Tom Thorne series debuted in 2001. It was in Sleepyhead, the first book in the series, that readers met Tom Thorne, a middle-aged detective in London who sets his sights upon a killer that keeps maiming his victims in an attempt to show them how frail and delicate the human body is. The Tom Thorne series of books have achieved critical success on top of great commercial success, and some of the books in the series have also been dramatised and shown on the television channel Sky 1, with the character of Tom Thorne being played by British actor David Morrissey.

Order of Tom Thorne Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Sleepyhead 2001 Description / Buy
2 Scaredy Cat 2001 Description / Buy
3 Lazybones 2003 Description / Buy
4 The Burning Girl 2004 Description / Buy
5 Lifeless 2005 Description / Buy
6 Buried 2006 Description / Buy
7 Death Message 2007 Description / Buy
8 Bloodline 2009 Description / Buy
9 From the Dead 2010 Description / Buy
10 Good As Dead 2011 Description / Buy
11 The Demands 2011 Description / Buy
12 The Dying Hours 2013 Description / Buy
13 The Bones Beneath 2014 Description / Buy
14 Time of Death 2015 Description / Buy
15 Love Like Blood 2017 Description / Buy
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Tom Thorne isn’t the best of detectives, at least not from the outside. The law enforcement agent is a little worn out from all the trials that life has thrown his way. He is divorced and a little dependent on alcohol.

And he is always clashing with his superiors, not to mention taking reckless chances to get the job done. Mark Billingham, the author, has admitted to putting a little bit of himself into Tom Thorne.

Both he and Thorne share the same birthday. They also enjoy the same kinds of music. Thorne has grown with Mark over the years. Where other authors prefer to plan the story of their protagonists out, noting every detail of their lives beforhand, Mark Billingham uses every new Tom Thorne book to discover the character.

According to the author, if he knew Tom Thorne as well as most writers know their characters, he wouldn’t be writing the Tom Thorne series anymore because it wouldn’t be much of an adventure.

Mark Billingham created the character Tom Thorne around 2001, when the first book in the series, Sleepyhead was published. The creation of Tom Thorne, and the genre of crime fiction itself was a huge departure for Billingham, who had focused mostly on comedy writing for his own stand-up act and also his television scripts. However, the publication of Sleepyhead brought Billingham to a new audience. Sleepyhead introduced Tom Thorne to the general public, when he is brought in to investigate a case involving a patient with locked-in syndrome. Sleepyhead was also dramatised and shown on Sky 1 in the UK in October 2010, to widespread critical acclaim, featuring a great performance from David Morrissey putting in a great performance in the lead role.

The success of Sleepyhead led to the publication of the second book in the Tom Thorne series, Scaredy Cat, in 2002.. Scaredy Cat features the case of dual serial killers who appear to be working together, but who appear to act separately. Scaredy Cat was based around real events in which Billingham and his writing partner, Peter Cocks were kidnapped and held hostage. As well as being the follow-up novel to Sleppyhead, Scaredy Cat was also the follow-up to Sleepyhead on Sky 1, being shown in November 2010. However, perhaps the greatest achievement for Billingham when it comes to Scaredy Cat is that it won the Sherlock Award for Best Dectective Novel Created by a UK Author. It would not be the only award Billingham would win for the Tom Thorne series.

In fact, Lazybones, the third book in the Tom Thorne series, which was published in 2003, won the following year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Death Message, the seventh book in the Tom Thorne series, which was published in 2007, also won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Death Messages involves Thorne becoming the hunted as a psychopath reaches out to him from prison and attempts to get to him through various means, putting the life of our hero in grave danger.

Born Mark Philip David Billingham, the author started out in television and movies. After trying his hand at acting, Mark grew weary of being cast in the same stereotypically thuggish roles. So he put acting on the backburner for a while and begun experimenting with standup comedy.

Because Mark was lucky enough to tackle standup comedy at a time when the business wasn’t so competitive, he made quick gains. Writing came naturally to him. The author had been telling stories since he was a child.

And when he finally took up the pen, this time with the intention of producing crime novels, Mark found that doing standup comedy was no different from writing fiction; indeed, the experience he gained from doing standup eventually contributed to his ability to tell such riveting stories.

Tom Thorne Awards

While Mark Billingham hasn’t won any notable awards for his Tom Thorne series, Scaredy Cat and Lifeless, two Tom Thorne books, were nominated for a Dagger Award in 2002 and a BCA Crime Thriller of the Year Award in 2006 respectively.

Tom Thorne Books into Movies

The Tom Thorne series was adapted into a television drama called Thorne that premiered in the United Kingdom on Sky1. Debuting in 2010, David Morrissey played the part of DI Tom Thorne in the show. Additional cast members included Natascha McElhone, Edie Marsan and Aidan Gillen.

The television show takes a number of noticeable liberties, especially with regards to the way it represents some of the characters.

Best Tom Thorne Books

Mark Billingham’s comedic sensibilities stand out in his Tom Thorne books, with some of the best books in the series including:

Sleepyhead: When a serial killer accidentally leaves Alison Willets, his fourth victim, alive, it takes the expertise of DI Tom Thorne to realize that the first three victims were the real mistake. Because of the stroke her would-be killer expertly induced, Alison is now paralyzed, suffering from locked-in syndrome.

It is a fate that Thorne knows the killer intends to deliver to another victim unless the Detective Inspector can stop him.

This book is told from three points of view, namely: Thorne, the killer, and Alison. The story told here is designed to deliver in-depth character development and exploration.

Scaredy Cat: A killer ends a woman’s life at Euston Station in front of her child. When DI Tom Thorne considers that incident and three others, he concludes that there are two serial killers on the loose. For every woman strangled, another is killed in the exact same way, within the same period of time but at a different location.

Thorne is at a loss as to how he should proceed.

This book continues to deliver the dank and creepy atmosphere Mark Billingham is known for. Thorne is especially frustrated in this book because the killers in question seem to know exactly what the police will do.

Other Book Series You May Like

The “Cooper and Fry” Series by Stephen Booth is a fan favorite. These books follow D.C. Diane Fry who arrives in the Peak District and is partnered with a local cop by the names of Ben Cooper. Together, the two try to maintain law and order in their community. They encounter some gruesome murders along the way.

People also rave about the “Logan McRae” series by Stuart McBride. This series explores the life of a detective sergeant in Aberdeen, Scotland by the names of Logan McRae who just wants to do what is right for his community. However, solving murders and crimes in Aberdeen isn’t without its pitfalls.

Tom Thorne FAQs

Q: Who created the Tom Thorne series?

A: The British author Mark Billingham created the Tom Thorne series of books.

Q: What is the first book in the Tom Thorne series of books?

A: The first book in the Tom Thorne series is fthe book Sleepyhead, which was published in 2001. It was also turned into a TV mini-series starring David Morrissey in 2010, and shown on Sky 1.

What Is The Next Book in The Tom Thorne Series?

There doesn't seem to have an upcoming book in The Tom Thorne Series. The newest book is Love Like Blood and was released on June, 1st 2017.

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  • RainbowReader

    The thing that I love about the Tom Thorne series is that it’s always original. The crime genre can see a lot of repeating as there are only so many ways to tell the same story. You don’t see that with Thorne though. Bellingham is a master at coming up with interesting takes on old stories or all new cases that keep you turning pages. 14 books deep and still going strong, the Tom Thorne series is definitely worth your time.

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