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Scaredy Cat    by Mark Billingham order for
Scaredy Cat
by Mark Billingham
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2010 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

This is the second book in Billingham's Detective Tom Thorne series. A widowed mother is brutally strangled in the presence of her three-year-old son. The same day, another woman is strangled in the same part of town. Are the deaths linked, and is one person responsible?

This is the assumption that Thorne and his team make as they begin their investigation. Thorne's experience and instinct are the driving force, as his team members work together to solve the crimes. Soon, one thing becomes clear to Thorne, an intimidating and hard-edged detective: there are two killers and they are working in tandem. One is a fearless, methodical murderer and the other seems terrified and submissive. Armed with this knowledge, Thorne must move quickly, because he is certain there will be further victims. The first half of the novel focuses on determining who the killers are and the second half focuses on capturing them.

Fast paced action keeps the reader enthralled throughout Scaredy Cat. Thorne's character is particularly interesting. Though he has a reputation in the department as being a bit of a renegade, the third person narrative gives us glimpses into a softer side and explains Thorne's relentless, driving need to bring the killers to justice. Rising suspense and the unusual aspect of dual serial killers - combined with Thorne's characterization - will satisfy and please the most discriminating of crime thriller fans.

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