Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 7 Critic Reviews



Dear Detective Inspector Thorne. What can I say? Practice makes perfect. And don't you just envy her that perfect...distance? I invite you to consider the concept of freedom. True freedom. Have you ever really considered it? I'm sorry about the others. Truly. I shall not insult your intelligence with platitudes about ends and means but offer in mitigation the thought that a massive undertaking often has an appropriate margin of error. It's all about pressure, Detective Inspector Thorne, but then you'd know all about that. Seriously, though, Tom, maybe I'll call you sometime.

Mark Billingham's arresting debut novel Sleepyhead, an international bestseller, is a mesmerizing, psychological thriller. Tense and unnerving, this menacing tale of obsession is as scathingly witty as it is bone chilling, and it introduces a stunning new talent in detective fiction.

Alison Willetts is unlucky to be alive. She has survived a deliberately induced stroke, and although she can see, hear, and feel, she is completely unable to move or to communicate. In leaving Alison alive, the police believe her assailant has made his first mistake. Until Detective Inspector Tom Thorne discovers the horrifying truth: Alison is the psychopath's first success; the three women he killed before her were the mistakes. "An appropriate margin of error" is how their killer dismissed them; his true intention was to leave them just like Alison: put to sleep for the rest of their natural lives. And Thorne knows they won't be his last victims. To save innocent lives, he must find a criminal whose agenda is terrifyingly unique. But this untraceable, sadistic madman is smart, elusive, and cryptic -- he enjoys toying with the police almost as much as he savors pursuing his sick fantasy -- and the only lead Thorne has is the tragically uncommunicative Alison.

Sensational, sinister, and sophisticated, Sleepyhead is a twisted take on the contemporary crime novel, and with it Mark Billingham reveals an extraordinary depth and range of talent. Impeccably plotted and remarkably assured, Billingham's debut marks the start of a brilliant career.


About Mark Billingham

See more books from this Author
Mark Billingham was born in Birmingham, England on July 2, 1961. He worked as an actor, a TV writer, and stand-up comedian before writing his first novel, Sleepyhead, which was published in 2001. His other works include the Tom Thorne series, In the Dark, and the Triskellion series, which he writes under the pseudonym Will Peterson.
Published July 1, 2002 by William Morrow. 320 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Sleepyhead

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

In a variation on the serial killer theme, newcomer Billingham's villain doesn't want to actually kill his victims (those who do die he considers "mistakes") so much as induce massi

May 06 2002 | Read Full Review of Sleepyhead

The Bookbag

Sleepyhead is definitely a 'how' book and the idea of a killer for whom a killing constitutes a failure is a truly ingenious and a very entertaining one.

Nov 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Sleepyhead

Suite 101

An adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 1957 novel The Scapegoat is to be shown on ITV on Sunday 9 September 2012 ahead of its cinema release.

Jan 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Sleepyhead

Reviewing the Evidence

[ Home ].

| Read Full Review of Sleepyhead

Reviewing the Evidence

According to the author biography in the book flap, Mark Billingham started working on the U.K.

| Read Full Review of Sleepyhead

Reviewing the Evidence

[ Home ].

| Read Full Review of Sleepyhead

[ Home ].

| Read Full Review of Sleepyhead

Reader Rating for Sleepyhead

An aggregated and normalized score based on 46 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review