MAKING HIS MARK; BOOK REVIEWS: BUY IT BURIED by MARK BILLINGHAM (Little, Brown Pounds 12.99) ****
Byline: BY HENRY SUTTON
Mark Billingham has finally come of age. His sixth novel, in as many years, featuring miserable Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, is a masterpiece of plotting, police procedure and criminal insight. That Billingham is also one of the country's top standup comedians should fast become history. His real calling has to be crime writing.
While his earlier novels such as Sleepyhead, Lazybones and Lifeless were largely promising, they were far from brilliantly written. But with Buried, Billingham has not just stepped up a gear, he's oozing confidence.
Having been sidetracked for the last six months, Thorne is shipped over to the kidnap unit to help with the case of a missing teenager. Believing his new role to be more of a demotion than a promotion, and suffering from a bad back, Thorne is none too pleased.
However, the case quickly spirals out of control. Luke Mullen, 16, was last seen getting into a car with a blonde woman, shortly after he left school. He was not reported missing for a couple of days, then all the stops were pulled out because his father is retired Chief Inspector Tony Mullen.
Thorne immediately begins working on the premise that one of Luke's father's enemies might be responsible. …