Thorne: Scaredycat carried on where Thorne: Sleepyhead left off, with the irst episode of another unrelentingly bleak story. It began with Phil Hendricks (Aidan Gillen, edgy as usual) consoling Thorne over the death of his mother, and that was about as cheery as it got.
We witness a shocking attack on a young woman who returns home with her young son after a trip on a train. An intruder bursts into the house and beats the woman to death. But the boy is left alive – why?
On the same day, another killing occurs – this time, the victim is a prostitute. Thorne quickly comes to the conclusion that the murders are connected, and soon the theory is refined. Two serial killers are operating in tandem.
On her splendid It’s a Crime blog, Rhian has expressed the view that serial killer stories have pretty much passed their sell-by date. I agree that gory serial murder stories can be repetitive and formulaic, and there is sometimes a depressing tendency to go for the shock factor above all. But like Rhian, I believe there are notable exceptions. Mark Billingham’s books are at a level above much of the competition, and this television series, dark as it is, is striking, with David Morrissey excellent as Tom Thorne.