Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:

It's rare for a young woman to die from a stroke and when three such deaths occur in short order it starts to look like an epidemic. Then a sharp pathologist notices traces of benzodiazepine in one of the victim's blood samples and just traceable damage to the ligaments in her neck, and their cause of death is changed from 'natural' to murder.

The police aren't making much progress in their hunt for the killer until he appears to make a mistake: Alison Willetts is found alive and D.I. Tom Thorne believes the murderer has made a mistake, which ought to allow them to get on his tracks. But it was the others who were his mistakes: he doesn't want to take life, he just wants to put people into a state where they cannot move, cannot talk, cannot do anything but think.

When Thorne, helped by the neurologist looking after Alison, starts to realise what he is up against he knows the case is not going to be solved by normal methods - before he can find out who did it he has to understand why he's doing it.

Publisher: London : Sphere, 2010, c2001
Edition: TV edition
ISBN: 9780751545142
Branch Call Number: F BIL 2010 NVD
Characteristics: 385 p. ; 20 cm
Alternative Title: Sleepy head


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

rb3221 Oct 13, 2016

A good but not great crime thriller. The story unravels rather slowly as something keeps slipping through the cracks for Thorne.
Billingham alternates his viewpoint throughout the book between Thorne, the killer and Alison. Alison is the victim with the 'locked-in' syndrome and can only blink and I very much enjoyed the short chapters giving her perspective.
Overall a good read and I will continue on with the next book in the series, Scaredy Cat,

Sep 12, 2015

Very creepy and well-written, and a good introduction to DI Tom Thorne and his cohorts.

Dec 26, 2014

The theme is simply to dark for me. Being left locked in your own mind is a living death. Something about that villain creeped me out. I have Billingham's next book reserved. Perhaps that will be a better read for me. Serial killers a better read?

May 10, 2014

Very good Brittish based crime thriller. The story is about a detective who is convinced that an anesthestist is responsibe for putting a young woman in vegetative state; although she has an active mind and can hear, see and understand. She finally learns to communicate by blinking with the help of a doctor and the dective then tries to get some clues that will incrimate the man. The story is told through several main characters including the detective, victim and the perpetrator - although he/she's identity is in doubt until the end. Very descriptive writing on the part of the characters and the scenes; very vivid. You feel the pain the characters go through and are transported into the story with references to London streets. Being an American the lingo takes getting used to, but it's well worth it . A very well written story. Highly recommend.

Jan 28, 2014

Book 1 Tom Thorne novels

tomato Jun 13, 2010

This is a super thriller!

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at NVDPL

To Top