Kelly Hager's Reviews > The Demands

The Demands by Mark Billingham
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Jun 14, 12


Helen Weeks is a police officer with a young child (he's about a year old). She's also just been taken hostage by a convenience store owner who wants to know what really happened to his son. (His son was arrested in a stabbing case and given a much lengthier prison sentence than he deserved---self-defense and no prior record. Then he committed suicide, or so the authorities say. Javed doesn't believe it.) So he takes Helen and another customer hostage and demands that Tom Thorne find out what happened to his son, Amin.

I haven't read any Mark Billingham before and now I'm kicking myself. I don't read many mysteries these days but when a book is blurbed by Gillian Flynn and Michael Connelly, I take notice. (Those are two authors I love and are must-reads for me.)

This is such a thought-provoking premise and the book is incredibly hard to put down. (I actually read it in one day and I'm glad I read it over my Saturday because it would have been painful to have to stop reading, especially as the revelation of what actually happened to Amin became increasingly apparent.)

While it's hard to root for Javed, it's also understandable. He's a man who put his faith in the justice system and was betrayed by it repeatedly. And when people insisted that his son killed himself when he knew that it wasn't true, of course he snapped.

I also loved Tom Thorne, who was as similar to Jack Bauer as any officer I've ever seen. He gets results, even if his methods are unorthodox (and also illegal). There are references to earlier books, I think, but they didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of this novel.

There are apparently nine earlier books in the series. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Highly recommended.
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