the guardian Fri 15 August 2008
The most fashionably dressed crime novels this season come heavily accessorised with trafficked women, crucifixions and gang culture; too much of the same subject matter soon palls, especially when the pages strain after topicality. Mercifully, In the Dark contains only one of these themes, gang crime - and bestselling author Billingham handles it with aplomb. After seven novels featuring DI Tom Thorne, this, his first "stand alone" book, begins with what appears to be a gang initiation costing off-duty policeman Paul Hopwood his life. The cast is large and sometimes confusing, but the central characters - Hopwood's pregnant partner, also a police officer, and the tyro whose determination to prove himself has disastrous consequences - really stand out. Our concern for them draws us through the story just as much as all the wham-bam stuff, and there's a nice twist at the end. Nifty.