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Breaking the Chain

6 Oct 11 | Re: A crisis of authorial confidence

Mark Billingham is an author, who I believe writes creepy thriller-type novels. You can see a list of his books on his website here. I’ve never read any of them – in fact, I’ve never read any books of that genre at all – but I do like Mark Billingham’s titles. The first three in his Tom Thorne series are:

Admittedly going on just the titles (because I haven’t read them), see how Billingham (probably) plays on the tension between childish innocence and Lord of the Flies-style meanness, bringing nurserytime fears to the fore by echoing taunts that are usually made in jest. How thin is the line between innocent teasing and psyche-searing nastiness! How dark are the corners of the nursery! How disturbing the distorted shadows of mobiles in the shapes of bees!

Essentially the same sort of thing as Stephen King’s It (or so I imagine; I haven’t read that either).

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to ramble about books I haven’t read and have no intention of reading, although I am doing a fair bit of that. It’s to lament Billingham’s decision to abandon his naming strategy after only the third book. Surely it was only pressure from the publishers that stopped him from continuing with:

Superb titles for creepy thrillers all. But instead he went down the run-of-the-mill, off-the-peg creepy-thriller route with bobbins like The Burning Girl, Death Message and In The Dark. Spoilsport.

Posted by MAXINE at 13:31

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