Morrow, June 2004, 24.95, 320 pp.
While Douglas Renfrey was serving time for rape in Derby Prison, Jane Faley sent letters with suggestive photographs of her to him. When he was released from prison, he meets Jane at a flea bag hotel, but instead of sex he was strangled and his naked body posed on the sheet-less bed. There is no evidence in that room to lead the police to a suspect. The phone rings at the Hotel and Detective Inspector Thorne of the serious crimes group answers it.
The person on the other end is florist Eve Bloom who has a tape with someone ordering a wreath to the room that Renfrey was killed in. Thorne meets Eve to get the tape and they begin dating but they don't consummate the relationship because she has a roommate and he doesn't have a bed. Work also gets in the way as two more rapists are murdered; the officers working the case have no sympathy for the victims. A break occurs when a retired officer working cold cases finds a link to a murder/suicide over a quarter century ago. Thorne pursues this avenue not realizing the deadly danger from a killer without mercy.
LAZY BONES humanizes the police officers by showing the effect their profession has on their personal lives. Like the police officers, readers feel no sympathy for the victims because they are monsters who would rape again at the first opportunity. Thorne is a noble cop who, though he detests the victims, believes their perpetrator should be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Mark Billingham writes an exciting police procedural complete with red herrings, unexpected twists and turns in the case and an unforgettable finish.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner