Read The Burning Girl by Mark Billingham Online


X marks the spot - and when that spot is a corpse's naked back and the X is carved in blood, DI Tom Thorne is in no doubt that the dead man is the latest victim of a particularly vicious contract killer....

Title : The Burning Girl
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780751534894
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 440 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Burning Girl Reviews

  • Sharon Mccall
    2019-05-04 01:50

    I am glad I have finally gotten around to reading Mark Billingham and they only get better as we get on in the series. In The Burning Girl a past case that has haunted cold case worker Carol Chamberlain is brought to attention after she starts receiving notes and calls hinting that the person who is currently in jail for the murder may not be the killer.Bringing this to Thorne who is currently working on a case with a killer who likes to carve an X into the back of his victims throw in some gangland rivalry stir it up and you get past and present muddying the waters in both cases.But how far will you go to get answers? is there a line you wont cross? And could you live with yourself if you crossed it? Could you live with the possible consequences? This is the questions Billingham asks at the end of the novel of Thorne. We also have Thorne's father and his alzheimers and how Thorne realises the circle of life when the child's role is no longer that of son but that there comes a time when the parent is the one who needs looking after.Thorne's reticence in dealing with this is a good representation of the frustrations of a lot of people going through this with their own families and having to deal with the pressures of work as well.I look forward to book 5 :)

  • Ian Mapp
    2019-05-05 19:34

    This series is getting a bit stupid... I thought the last one was stupid and this follows the pattern completely. Here we have a really over the top body count (if this was any way based on reality, the army would have bee ncalled in) and has our useless police actually torturing a criminal with an iron! Highly likely.The story has london gangland members and turkish people trafficers at its core. The burning girl refers to an historical where one of the gangland members daughters was targetted to be killed by being doused in petrol and set alight at school. Unfortunately, her friend was targetted by mistake. On the eve of her killers release from prison, there is a copy cat event and the man arrested denies his involvement, taking a spell inside for murder to get away from people looking for him.All hokum. And the people trafficing story does not even warrant discussion.There are two things going for series - one is its quite nice that the police are portayed as so usual, but going as far as the iron torture seems a bit ott... the other is the london locations. Pubs that I know are well described.

  • LJ
    2019-05-17 19:41

    THE BURNING GIRL (Police Procedural-London-Cont) – G+Mark Billingham – 4th in seriesLittle Brown, 2004 – U.K. HardcoverDetective Inspector Thomas Thorne is in the middle of an investigation of what appears to be contract killings. A former colleague asks for his help with an old case of a girl, mistaken for the daughter of a mob boss, is murdered. It shortly becomes clear the two cases are, in fact, linked.*** Billingham is a very good writer, but I always feel as though I’m missing bits of background. It’s hard to pinpoint. The character of Thorne is all there, but I still don’t feel I know him. Certainly the plots are tight, the settings well done, the dialogue realistic but there is always something that leaves me just a touch unsatisfied.

  • Val Penny
    2019-05-18 00:37

    I like the English novelist Mark Philip David Billingham and I enjoy his books so when my daughter gave me The Burning Girl for Christmas, I was delighted. He was born and brought up in Birmingham, England and worked for some years as an actor, TV writer and stand-up comedian before his first crime novel, Sleepyhead, was published in 2001. His series of "Tom Thorne" crime novels are best-sellers in this particular genre.Mark now lives in North London with his wife and two children.The Burning Girl was Mark Billingham's fourth novel led by his protagonist, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne. It tells a tale of turf warfare between gangs in London. Billy Ryan is the organised crime boss who is moving into someone else’s patch but that someone is not best pleased. In The Burning Girl Thorne agrees to help out ex-DCI Carol Chamberlain rake through the ashes of an old case that has come back to haunt her. It is the case of schoolgirl Jessica Clarke was turned into a human torch twenty years ago. Jessica was the victim of mistaken identity. The intended target was the daughter of a gangland boss, a woman who would grow up to marry a man named Billy Ryan. Now, Gordon Rooker, the man Chamberlain put away for the crime, is up for possible release, and it seems there’s a copycat at large. Or perhaps it is someone trying to right some wrongs. So, Thorne and Chamberlain face a contract killer who carves and X into his victim's back. The X is carved in blood. When DI Tom Thorne finds a man's corpse he believes this is the latest victim of a singularly vicious contract killer. It involves more killings, protection rackets, human cargoes, and a murderous family without and then an X is carved on his front door.For Thorne, what starts as a tenuous link becomes two pieces of the same puzzle. Past and present fuse together to form a new, and very nasty riddle. This is a morbid and messy mystery with plenty of clues and Tom Thorne knows that the smouldering embers of a long dead case are about to erupt into flames.Billingham also makes Thorne more real by dealing with his father's alzheimers. The reader experiences Thorne's qualms as he realises the circle of life when the child's role is no longer that of son but that now his father is the one who needs looking after. Thorne is reticent in his dealings with this problem. Billingham shares Thorne's frustrations experienced by a lot of people going through this with their own families and having to deal with the pressures of work as well.Mark Billingham's books never disappoint. Several others are reviewed on this site, including: Sleepyhead,, The Dying Hours and In The Dark, I really enjoyed The Burning Girl and highly recommend it.

  • Best Crime Books & More
    2019-04-26 01:44

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the Thorne series up until now, however I have to be honest and say that I struggled a little bit with this latest book (the 4th in the series). The writing itself is still great although in this particular book I found it more difficult to get into the story. When corpses appear with an X marked into their skin, Thorne is as usual tied up with the case. Enter the organized crime Boss Billy Ryan and the stage is set. However, for some reason the booked lacked the spark that previous books have had. Recurring characters such as Chamberlain and Tughan appeared but I just felt like they didn’t go anywhere. I’m actually struggling to review this book as although it was far from terrible, it almost felt like it was written in a hurry or without any real spark, which is certainly a world away from the usual Billingham style. The chapters flowed relatively well but the overall feeling was that it was failing to spark any real interest, beyond completing another stage of the Thorne books.I’m still certainly a fan of Chamberlain and hope we continue to see her in future books. However, I was disappointed with the lack of characters featured such as Holland and Hendricks. It may sound like I am being really picky and I promise you I’m not. I’m sadly failing to be all that articulate either, but I think you get the gist.Overall, it seems like this book was solidly written but lacked its usual oomph. Having said that I will eagerly move on to book 5 as soon as my ridiculously long reading list

  • Bluedaizy
    2019-04-30 21:34

    This one was a little tough to read. Not because of the subject matter or the "action" but because there was quite a bit of "Englishisms" I didn't understand. Once I got past that it was a very quick read. But I can't remember the end....hmmmmm. You know what? I'm not done with it yet. back later.

  • Billy Ferguson
    2019-04-24 21:49

    **Some spoilers**I mean, I liked it, it was good, but I didn't turn the pages with the same determination as I have done with previous books in the Tom Thorne series. I'm usually a sucker for gangland related story-lines, and I really enjoyed Billingham's stand-alone novel "In The Dark" which is centred around gangs. However this didn't really do it for me, even if it was still fairly enjoyable. Usually, when I finish a book, there is always something that sticks with me - either good or bad. In this case it was good, and it was the extracts from Jessica's diary. The words were moving and do raise issues and questions regarding public perception of burn victims. Further, the ending to the novel has a sense of realism to it all. In modern day gangland and organised crime, rarely do the men at the top, the men organising it all, find themselves caught out, at least not by the law anyway, and so it was here. So, in that sense, the realism portrayed is definitely a plus point,no dramatic ending that seems unbelievable and unrealistic, but I guess you could look at it in a way that that realism has prevented any major twist occurring, thus the lack of suspense. It is a mark, though, of how good the Thorne series are and a credit to Mark Billingham as a writer that a book I didn't fully enjoy can still come away with 3-stars.

  • Aries
    2019-05-01 00:00

    Partiamo dicendo che vorrei sapere chi è quel genio che ha deciso di tradurre un titolo come "The burning girl" in "Segni di sangue" che, tra l'altro, non c'entra una fava col contenuto del romanzo.Detto questo passiamo a parlare del secondo romanzo di Billingham da me letto... e purtroppo non posso dire granché.Non che sia scritto male, tutt'altro, ma semplicemente non è riuscito a coinvolgermi: la vicenda, piuttosto promettente all'inizio, finisce poi per mettere tanta carne al fuoco da non riuscire a generare una suspence adeguata; la sensazione che ho avuto è stata di continuare a leggere un prologo fino a quando non è arrivata la fine del romanzo: il che, me lo concederete, lascia un po' spaesati.Inoltre i personaggi, che hanno tutte le potenzialità per diventare tridimensionali, spesso e volentieri rimangono piatti, poco vivi.Peccato, perché gli ingredienti perché venisse fuori un bel thriller c'erano ed anche perché il romanzo che avevo letto in precedenza dello stesso autore non mi era affatto dispiaciuto: questo raggiunge (ovviamente nei miei gusti personali) la sufficienza scarsa solo perché comunque non è scritto male.Ora il dubbio è: quale dei due è stata l'eccezione? Mi toccherà probabilmente concedergli un'ultima possibilità... speriamo.

  • Rob Kitchin
    2019-04-24 23:48

    Like many of the leading police procedural writers such as Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly, Billingham has an easy but engaging writing style and a well developed, flawed, driven but sympathetic main character. The pages flip past without any real sense of the reader having do any work. This I think is a strong positive; clear, engaging, economical prose, with realistic scenes and dialogue. The Burning Girl is a solid piece of storytelling, but for me the book lacked the bite or spark that would have given it some needed suspense. The plot seemed a little aimless at times, as if Billingham wasn’t quite sure where it was going, and there were a couple of plot devices I didn’t really understand, such as the investigation being wrapped up and the team being disbanded even though the case was clearly not over. And the internal police tension amongst team members seemed staged. In contrast, the lives, politics and tactics of gang rivalry and prison life was more convincing. Overall, a solid, entertaining read, but not quite out of the top draw.

  • Mona
    2019-05-13 23:52

    It's no wonder a television series was recently built around Mark Billingham's Detective Inspector Tom Thorne. "The Burning Girl" is the fourth in a gritty series about the hardboiled police detective, who works in a Serious Crimes unit. Someone sets fire to a playground, seriously harming a 14-year-old girl. Is it the work of a psycho, or is it a contract hit? Amid gang wars breaking out in greater London, DI Tom Thorne investigates, and opens a can of worms.Each of the Tom Thorne novels features a different heinous crime. All four that I've read so far have been fast-paced and full of action. Billingham's characters are memorable and leave a lasting impression, even the minor ones. Tom Thorne has his quirks (doesn't get along well with some of his colleagues), but he grows on you. The villains are indeed villainous and are worthy opponents. The recurring supporting characters, particularly DC Holland, ex-DCI Carol Chamberlain and pathologist Hendricks, each have their own interesting back stories. I'm looking forward to the other books in the series.

  • Shan W.
    2019-05-06 21:52

    He's definitely toned it down. On the gore. On the grit. But still a brilliant read. The ending definitely eats at you, and you'd feel like ripping the book apart, because it's not going to give you even the tiniest fraction of closure. His writing style is amazing most of the time. The few times that I got truly annoyed was when he kept switching POV. It's usually written in that specific character's POV. And then out of the blue he'll switch to omnipresent POV, so he can foreshadow about something that'll happen. It's very annoying, and honestly a bit amateurish. This didn't stop the book from being bloody awesome though. As usual, the characters are extremely well drawn out, and they each have their own backstory, and their own personalities. This is what makes Billingham's books believable - his characters. More than anything else. Not as impressive as Sleepyhead or LazyBones.

  • Jenn Mather Nessen
    2019-05-20 21:58

    I had never heard of this book or author before, so I jumped into book four of this series. It was nothing like I had predicted it would be! I expected your predictable detective chases serial killer, in this case over burning bodies, and then the detective becomes victim at the end and ends up a hero blah blah blah... that is so typical of detective series books. I was in for a treat. It did not matter if I had ever read a book in this series, the main detective was just one of many characters that this story revolved around. There were several sub-plots that went on in the story...were they linked? Or how many? And did this book have to do with serial killers burning girls at all? Thats what I probably liked best, I was completely proved wrong about so many things and kept guessing and coming up with new theories that I couldn't put the book down.

  • Tracey Walsh
    2019-05-24 02:51

    "A man who kills for money...A brutal vendetta...A cop who is playing with fire"The overriding question in my mind on finishing this book is: How on earth is DI Tom Thorne still in a job? As this is book 4 in the Thorne series and I have another 8+ to catch up I guess I'll be asking this for some time.The Burning Girl is set against the background of London gangland warfare dating back over 20 years.There's some very nasty violence but not so much that I couldn't read on (as has been the case with some gangland crime novels). The reader (and no-one else) gets to see through some chinks in Thorne's hard man armour to the human being inside. Since the TV adaptations I've been unable to visualise Thorne as anyone but David Morrissey, but that's not such a bad thing.A cracking read with more twists and turns than a corkscrew. Highly Recommended

  • Anetq
    2019-05-03 21:48

    Feels a bit like mid-season in a tv-series: Ourhero just keeps moving further and further into the darkness... And it' season three or four, so they seem to have turned everything up a bit too high and overdone it. The murders, the gangland plots (past and current) the murderers, the going off book, the personal drama... (view spoiler)[And does every single woman he sleeps with have to turn out to be a murderer? It's getting to be a cliché (hide spoiler)]And he is REALLY not having much luck with the ladies - they keep being even more trouble than he is.

  • Jenn
    2019-04-25 02:47

    I knew about Tom Thorne's father passing away in a fire from \"Buried\" that I read earlier this week. But I didn't know that they would leave this book on a cliffhanger! I have to find \"Lifeless\" in my stacks as it is the book in between the two. I need to find out if Thorne's dad's death was an accident or payback from one of the Zarifs.

  • Robin
    2019-05-08 18:39

    The best word to describe this book is "meh". I found the story mildly interesting but not as great as the blurb on the jacket led me to believe. It was adequate entertainment but overall a waste of my listening time. Not something I would recommend either unless you are desperate for some sort of thriller.

  • Margaret
    2019-05-10 19:43

    Another one with a plot where credibility is stretched almost to breaking point. However, the dark humour that is, quite literally, laugh out loud, brings it up from a 3.5 star read to a 4 star.A good way to while away a few hours.Recommended.

  • Tazkatie
    2019-05-21 20:33

    For some reason I just didn't jive with this book. Adore the tom Thorne series, have read many but this one just didn't read well.

  • Christine
    2019-05-13 20:48

    Well written Thorne story. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of gangland stories, it kept my attention and made me laugh at times. I love the relationship between Thorne and his dad.

  • Jarmby
    2019-04-25 01:54

    For me this is a disappointment.Firstly the whole story line of a gang warfare between the Turks and some old style London mobsters seemed clichéd and shallow. People smuggling , heavy muscle standover etc etc Tom Thorne is becoming an increasingly less likeable character .He is a drunk ( usual for British Detectives ) , likes Country and western music ( to each his own ),He bangs heads with those above and below him , relies on everyone else to actually solve problems while he nonces around running his own race, drinking , shagging ( a woman involved in the case) and generally annoying all he comes into contact with.The sooner someone gives him a good belting and gets his mind back on doing his job responsibly the better.

  • Brenda
    2019-05-10 21:33

    If this had been my introduction to Billingham's books, I wouldn't have read any more of his Thorne series. I'm glad I started with the first in the Thorne series, so I can overlook this one. I found this plot line the weakest, with the weakest resolution. The violence Thorne displayed toward the end of the story seemed very out of character to me, and I'm not sure that he'll be able to bring back Thorne's personality from this psychopathic break. But I'll read the series further. I don't mind a flawed detective, but, this flaw if it continues will drive me to find other authors and books. I prefer a thinking detective instead of one who performs cruel acts.

  • Rita Gorra
    2019-04-22 20:34

    I can't give it 4 stars, but 3 is closer. The plot waffled and started being a little redundant. Yes he did it, no he didn't, yes, ...Outside of that, I was interested to continue reading. Then just when I thought it would all be clear, the ending was just as ambiguous. I will read the next one, but if it's like this, I will give up on this series.

  • Beverly G. Mendenhall
    2019-05-07 21:47

    A decent readNot griping but a decent read. It brings out the obsessions and flaws of the innocent, law enforcement and the criminals. It brings out the truth that no one is really served to satisfaction, especially the public.

  • Charlotte
    2019-05-19 21:35

    Bought this book in a recycling store benefiting cancer research knowing nothing about it, just because I wanted something to read on my upcoming trip. Positively surprised me - good murders, interesting characters, and well paced.

  • Jo
    2019-05-17 20:50

    First novel by this author that I have read. I love the character DI Tom Thorne. I am now ready to find copies of he earlier ones and read them.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-24 19:44

    The fourth book in the Tom Thorne series. This time Thorne is investigating a gang war between two rival gangs.This book is my favourite of the series so far-the ending was just brilliant.

  • Barbra
    2019-05-02 21:35

    Enjoyable as always.....such a good crime writer and a good series....

  • Kim
    2019-05-05 02:00

    As I go along reading this series, the stories and writing get a lot better. I really liked this book. I got my Father-in-law reading this series and he enjoys it as well.

  • Alex Stöckli
    2019-04-30 01:52

    Anfänglich gut dann sehr langfädig

  • James
    2019-05-11 20:00

    The last book in this series ended with a bang - a complete whirlwind of an ending. While this one didn't carry on in exactly the same vein, it did continue the general quality. With this book we see this series start to develop into what could be a great series; Four StarsPlot: Four Stars And that's strange, because this plot wasn't particularly eventuful, fast, life threatening, adrenaline pumping etc etc. No, what it was, was intriguing. While the last book ended with a graphic crime that still, to this day, gives me the shivers just thinking about it, this book was thoughtful, careful, thought provoking and, in a word, striking. We have a criminal in jail who suddenly decides to revoke his admission of guilt. Simultaneously, our old detective friend is stalked by a man seems to be the man who commited the jailed man's crimes. But not all is as it seems; cue a ping-pong plot of he did it/he didn't do it, adding in the local mob, an assassin, an overbearing boss who Thorne hates and it hated by in return, developements in Thorne's friendships, Thorne sleeping with a crazed woman, Thorne instigating a murder, Thorne being present for torture and more complicated issues with his dad which develop amazingly well [and is especially moving if you have been through it yourself - a loved one with alzhiemers that is] and you have what is a definite step up in quality for the series. But what really caught my attention was the diary entries that we were given, from the burned girl of the original crime [the one the criminal in jail confessed to and then revoked his admission]. In the first book this sort of thing was a unique, brilliant quirk that added so much to the plot. In the second and third however, it fell flat on it's face. I'm glad he stuck with it though, because these entries really add strength to the plot, giving it that extra punch that makes you go all solemn as you read - it added a real sense of gravitas, I thought and was well done. So, Mark, let's hope you use this tool of yours like this in the future, and not mess it up like you did in book 2/3!Characters: Four Stars Billingham is really starting to build up a great cast now, but it's a shame that it has taken him this long. Thorne, as the main character, is always going to be the best one in the whole thing [or at least, that's how it should be] and he is. Deeply flawed, but intelligent. A loner, but with friends. Devoted to the job, but still a tad crooked. Moral, but immoral. A greyed character who brings to life such a gritty world, that I can only pray [futiley I know] that it doesn't actually exist: that's he's exaggerating. Now's the part where you start cursing me, because I have - AGAIN! - forgotten the names to the rest of the cast. We have Holland [I think], Thorne's partner in crime[solving] and a man who seems to revere Thorne without being a puppy dog. He is well put together, his personal life adds to the plot and his character, not hindering it like it could so easily have. He's like a more chipper, younger Thorne and it's great to see the comparison. Next is the old woman ex-detective who is friends with Thorne. She is heavily involved in the plot, and really comes across well as the woman who yearns for her work after wanting to be rid of it for such a long time. Jaded, but energised she is wonderful to watch and get to know. Taking her, Thorne and Holland you could almost see the stages of being a copper - the eager young one beginning to get jaded, the expeienced and slighlty bitter older copper, and the retired copper who can't leave the job well alone. Then you have Thorne's gay best friend who just so happens to be sleeping on his couch [and yes, there are plenty of jokes by other characters about this]. As a coroner it was surprising how little he took part in this book, but his presence - built up in the prequels - helped complete the book in a sense.Add to these mainstays some brilliant minor characters and I am suprised at how good a cast it is. It's almost like they snuck up on me, because I can swear they were never this good before. Writing: Four Stars and halfA fun, easy, style that you just sink into a loose yourself in. Great dialogue, brilliant pacing and it never jars you out of the book. The star of the show writing wise was his use of the diary entries - when this works it blows me away, and he certainly got it right here. Overall, brilliant writing. Overview: Four StarsA great step up in quality for the series as a whole. So far it had simply bumbled along, indistinguisable from a lot of other crime drama's, but this book... this book showed a spark that could lift it up to be one of the genre's best. Here's hoping he can continue it into the next one. Have Fun Reading.