Mark Billingham: Cry Baby

This review is written with thanks to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read and review Cry Baby.


It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights.

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

The gripping prequel to Mark Billingham’s acclaimed debut, Sleepyhead, Cry Baby is the shocking first case for one of British crime fiction’s most iconic detectives.


I am a massive fan of Mark Billingham, but I’m ashamed to say it’s been a while since I was last acquainted with Tom Thorne. As Cry Baby takes place in 1996, prior to the events in the main series, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get my Thorne fix without any potential spoilers. I wasn’t disappointed, and I enjoyed the opportunity to see how Thorne had been influenced by previous cases and how his relationships with his colleagues, which are so well established in the main series, had started out.

The case in this novel features characters from very different backgrounds, so this gives Billingham a chance to introduce some suspects and witnesses that cover the whole spectrum. There are prisoners, a bird watcher, a doctor, drug addicts and teachers to name a few, and none of them are above suspicion. I kept changing my mind as to who had done what, and I was constantly kept on my toes.

There are many red herrings and twists in Cry Baby, and I loved the tension this caused. As we came closer to some of the answers, I was always wondering what would happen next – from the edge of my seat!

Cry Baby is available from Amazon.

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