British crime writer Mark Billingham has a cult following among American mystery fans, but remains largely unknown to the broader reading public. His latest novel -- a stand-out thriller reminiscent of the brilliant work of author George Pelecanos-- will likely begin to change that.
In the Dark is the serpentine tale of what happens when a gang initiation rite goes astray, instantly ending one life and starting several others down the path to destruction. Billingham brings a keen eye and ear for the rhythm of the streets to bear in telling his story as it follows the parallel lives of a pregnant police officer, an underworld kingpin and a young drug dealer on the make.
This engrossing story brings the darker side of London to life in stark shades of gray, elevating the standard cops and criminals fare to a level of social observation that is insightful and saddening. In the Dark is a painful, but remarkable achievement.
From the Chicago Sun-Times, October 19, 2008