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Scaredy Cat (Tom Thorne, #2)
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Scaredy Cat (Tom Thorne #2)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  4,810 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews

It was a vicious, calculated murder. The killer selected his victim at Euston station, followed her home on the tube and strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time, killed in the same way, a second body is discovered at the back of King's Cross station. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murder
Paperback, 460 pages
Published 2003 by Time Warner (first published January 1st 2001)
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Okay so I know this is only my second Thorne book, but in comparison to the first book this one didn’t have as much, shall we say shine, as the first one. In the first book I was quite gripped, but with this one the first quarter of the book seemed to be quite hard going. The things I love about a series, and this one as well is getting to know characters. Thorne is actually quite a hard character to get to grips with, but I actually like him more for that reason. I’m also quite fond of his coll ...more
Dec 02, 2009 Jaime rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I thought Billingham's first book (Sleepyhead) was a great combination of grim, gritty police procedural and creepy, macabre medical thriller. It also included a nice twist on the hackneyed serial killer theme. All of this had me eager to jump on board with Scaredy Cat, but I ended up not really enjoying the ride. With the plot a little tired, the characters a little predictable, and the villain's identity too easy to figure out, I spent most of the book annoyed that the detectives we ...more
A prolific phys-co killer on the loose in London, which is hard to believe as almost simultaneously on the other side of town an almost exact same murder is taking place, not once but several times.
Tom Thorne and his team are getting no-where with their investigation and the killer(s) seem to almost know in advance what the police are up to. Is there a rat in the ranks? On top of this one of Thorne's trusted detectives would appear to have a drug problem.
Once again I did find that when listening
Jan 17, 2017 Margaret rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, 2017-challenge
In "Scaredy Cat" Tom Thorn and his team are struggling to find a pair of serial killers. This is the book that introduces Thorn's adversary Stuart Nicklin whom we meet again in later books.

It flits between past and present, but does so in a manner that is easy to follow.

Well plotted and well written, "Scaredy Cat" is an absorbing thriller.

The final scenes are something of a shocker. I was NOT expecting that outcome.

Highly recommended.
Nov 07, 2013 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-series
The second book in the Tom Thorne series - the first was a tough act to follow and the killer/killing wasn't as interesting as in Sleepyhead (and begged belief a bit - I never got a good sense about why (view spoiler)) but Billingham does a gr ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW!! What more can you say. Picked up this book in the UK as I had already read one Mark Billingham and liked it. Now I am just sad, as it seems that the UK have a TV version, and we shall have to wait to get it - if ever. I am now a confirmed fan of Mark Billingham, and his Detective Inspector Tom Thorne. I absolutely loved the characters. Thorne is flawed, irascible and irrestible. His sargent, Dave Holland, is still learning to have his heart of steel under his innocent exterior. Together th ...more
I'm still not convinced that I can 'connect' to the main character, London detective Tom Thorne, after reading the first two books of the series. I really want to enjoy his books as I like reading British crime novels. As with the first book, the plot is ok but the narrative is sometimes tedious as we have to endure Thorne's internal demons at regular intervals. The other thing that frustrates me in both books is the change in the story without any warning. One minute I am reading about Thorne o ...more
Nov 03, 2014 Quinn rated it liked it
Three stars does not mean it's not a good book. I enjoyed it. The plot picks up speed as you get into the book, which is a good idea. You get to get on a runaway train instead of just witnessing it whiz by.

Tom Thorne is a detective inspector in London. He has his own backstory that is slowly revealed, but does not interfere with the plot.

The prologue is well written: tense and surprising and brief, it sets up the story nicely. Yes, I know, prologues are not in fashion now, but this one does th
Gill's Great Book Escapes
Billingham is a master of suspense. He always throws in red herrings without appearing to. He makes you question each person as being the perpetrator of the murders, but the final revelation is always a surprise.

A series of murders carried out simultaneously creates a real dilemma for D.I. Thorne and his team. Two murderers working apart connected to each other.

I can't wait to start the next in the series!
Jul 26, 2011 Matthew rated it it was ok
Enjoyable trash really, just the sort of thing I needed after wading through War & Peace. That's enough for me though I've read 2 of the DI Thorne books and although enjoyable I've never understood why you'd want to read about the same character over and over again...there are too many good books out there!
Jun 06, 2012 Karena rated it it was ok
Shelves: detective
Rather obvious who the main villain was, when he made an appearance. Not many twists (the double killer element being explained on the blurb). Far too many police characters, which may well reflect actual police hierarchy at the time but confusing nonetheless. I stuck it through, but won't be reading any more in the series.
Sep 23, 2013 Jenine rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Couldn't enjoy these villains at all. Decided it wasn't worth the trip to see how Thorne gets 'em in the end. May try a later book in the series. I wonder if I need a list of the villains and their proclivities in order to select?
May 30, 2012 Trish rated it it was ok
I found the back-story more interesting than crime story itself. The back story is what kept me going throughout the first half of the book; so when I discovered they had stopped I was too far into the book to stop.

I found this a very difficult book to read; muchless enjoy.
Aug 23, 2011 Frances rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
gave up listening half way.(very rare for me) ...might have something to do with the narrater... seemed to be a lot of talk without anything going on.....
Elizabeth Moffat
Very good book the second in the tom thorne series about two serial killers with very different personalities! Looking forward to reading more of his books!
Feb 19, 2013 Krystina rated it it was ok
Took too long to get into, finally picked up in the 100 page area. Morbid curiosity is the only reason I finished it. Won't be reading another book by this author.
Jul 08, 2014 Lynne added it
Shelves: no-good
Too slow moving I think I am done with Mark Billingham. Books are REALLY good the last 80 or so pages but it takes 300 pages to get to that point. Moving on to a new author.
Marie Clifton
Dec 17, 2016 Marie Clifton rated it it was amazing
I am in love with Mark Billingham,( well not him exactly),i'm in love with his books, there right up my street.
Finished Scaredy Cat last night,Two women murdered on the same day round the same time, same type of weapon used, is it coincidence, DI Thorne doesn't think so, and the investigation begins with more double murders to come.
Di Thorne deals with the investigation in his own blinkered way, getting himself into trouble as usual, there's a lot of police procedure in Billingham's books but it
Lee Battersby
Jan 26, 2017 Lee Battersby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taut thriller with nicely-drawn characterisation and a structure that enhances what could have been a cliched storyline, cleverly entwining past and present narratives while playfully twisting the killer-couple framework. It is let down slightly by some dodgy gender politics, and a climax that veers towards a 'written for TV' feel, but generally a very satisfying read.
Alan Hughes
Jun 16, 2009 Alan Hughes rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, fiction, crime
From Publishers Weekly

Billingham's second thriller (after Sleepyhead) featuring London Det. Insp. Tom Thorne offers a twist on the serial killer subgenre. Brooding, melancholy Thorne heads a team of detectives who are alerted to the death of a young mother brutally strangled as her three-year-old son looks on. The body of a second murder victim, strangled in the same manner, turns up the same day, and Thorn and his team surmise they have a serial killer on their hands. The first half of the bo

Valerie Penny
Feb 22, 2014 Valerie Penny rated it it was amazing
Mark Billingham is one of my favourite authors. He is an English novelist whose series of "Tom Thorne" crime novels are best-sellers in that particular genre. He has also worked as a television screenwriter and has become a familiar face as an actor and comic. I first discovered Billingham's novels when I was living in Stirling, Scotland, studying for my post graduate Creative Writing Diploma and have already reviewed his novels Sleepyhead and In the Dark ...more
Jonah Doesberg
Aug 02, 2013 Jonah Doesberg rated it really liked it
*this review contains some mild spoilers*
This was a really good read. I had enjoyed Sleepy Head. The first Tom Thorne thriller but really it was nothing special. The beginning was great and the ending was riveting but the rest was just average. This book however is definitely a big step forward. The characters are much better developed and the overall mood is a lot darker and grittier.

Certainly this book is a lot more adult themed then it's predecessor with a lot more violence and uncomfortable
Aug 07, 2011 James rated it liked it
This is another solid entry into the world of Thorne. That's the bets way to describe it, solid. I said in the preview for the previous book that I felt that this series lacked that spark that would set it apart from the rest of the genre, and this book carries that notion through. It is good, do not get me wrong, but it is nothing special. Nothing to make you desperately want the next in the series, nothing that makes you think through it all after you have finished. It is just another book you ...more
Nov 02, 2010 Kerrie-ann rated it it was amazing
A TV adaptation of this book was recently made and shown on Sky1 with David Morrisey playing the lead role, Tom Thorne. This book would be perfect for any crime fan who likes reading gruesome stories where people are murdered.

This book is filled with intrigue, murder, insight into the killers' backgrounds and anticipation as you wait for the killers' to be caught or another body to be found. The killers strike most of their victims at random. However, there are some victims which are known to th
Gulshan Batra
Mar 01, 2016 Gulshan Batra rated it liked it
This book, like the first one in the DI Thorne series, was a little too rough. The plotting was almost good, and the characters were promising - but, I don't know - something about the way all the characters are depicted as being so strong (or wannabe strong and tough), it comes out as jarring at times. Maybe it is to make them seem realistic, the hardened copper, etc. - but, as far as I am concerned, it takes away from the flow of the narrative; more than once.

For what it's worth, it was not po
Steve Horsfall
Jul 07, 2011 Steve Horsfall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a number of the Tom Thorne novels and Scaredy Cat definitely wins my vote as the best so far, within an excellent series. I think what makes this book stand out is that there are so many strands / sub plots that interweave throughout, continually intriguing as to how they will all connect in an ever-building and tense finale. The story centres on 2 serial killers who work as a team, with the use of flashback to their childhoods to explain a sinister relationship. As the pair kill ran ...more
Ian Mapp
Feb 03, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
This was my very first Tom Thorne novel, having been pointed out to me by my wife while in a used book store one day. DI Thorne is absolutely brilliant and absolutely broken. He's not the traditional "Super Cop," who always gets his man, using only jis wits and his trusted sidekick. Nor is he the traditional "Anti-Hero," who manages to always get his man, despite having pissed off every one of his superiors, skirted the lime with Internal Affairs, and nearly succumbed to whatever addiction probl ...more
Sep 23, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham is book 2 of the Tom Thorne police procedural mystery series set in contemporary London. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne tracks a series of murders involving women in locations widely spread around London. Alternating chapters describe stalking a victim and the murder from the killer's point of view. The crimes are rooted in long-ago events at a boys' public school. A young boy was rescued from a beating by a mean bully...only to become enmeshed in far more evil and ...more
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Also writes as Will Peterson with Peter Cocks.

Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.
More about Mark Billingham...

Other Books in the Series

Tom Thorne (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Sleepyhead (Tom Thorne, #1)
  • Lazybones (Tom Thorne, #3)
  • The Burning Girl (Tom Thorne, #4)
  • Lifeless (Tom Thorne, #5)
  • Buried (Tom Thorne, #6)
  • Death Message (Tom Thorne, #7)
  • Bloodline (Tom Thorne, #8)
  • From the Dead (Tom Thorne, #9)
  • Good As Dead (Tom Thorne, #10)
  • The Dying Hours (Tom Thorne, #11)

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“London was a city of ghosts, some deader than others.
Thorne knew that in this respect, it wasn't unlike any other major city - New York or Paris or Sydney - but he felt instinctively that London was .... at the extreme. The darker side of that history, as opposed to the parks, palaces and pearly kings' side that made busloads of Japanese and American tourists gawk and jabber. The hidden history of a city where the lonely, the dispossessed, the homeless, wandered the streets, brushing shoulders with the shadows of those that had come before them. A city in which the poor and the plague-ridden, those long-since hanged for stealing a loaf or murdered for a shilling, jostled for position with those seeking a meal, or a score, or a bed for the night.
A city where the dead could stay lost a long time”
“It was like being some not quite all-knowing, not quite all-seeing force, hamstrung by the missing pieces of the jigsaw. Omnipotent and impotent. Like being God with Alzheimer’s.” 0 likes
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