I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham
Published by Hachette UK on July 22, 2021
ISBN: 9780751577273
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, Women Sleuths, Thrillers, Crime, Psychological, General, Suspense
Pages: 400
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
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four stars - Review: Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

'Fast-paced and twisting' PAULA HAWKINS, author of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
'At the very least it should reach the shortlist of this year's Booker prize' THE TIMES________________________
My name is Alice. I'm a police officer.I'm trying to solve a murder on a psychiatric ward.But I'm also a patient...
They were meant to be safe on Fleet Ward: psychiatric patients monitored, treated, cared for. But now one of their number is found murdered, and the accusations begin to fly.
Was it one of his fellow patients? A member of staff? Or did someone come in from the outside?
DC Alice Armitage is methodical, tireless, and she's quickly on the trail of the killer.
The only problem is, Alice is a patient too.________________________
'A deeply compelling read'Harriet Tyce
'The most cunning, complex, claustrophobic mystery'Louise Candlish
'Immense skill and heart'Eve Chase'Brilliant, suspenseful, poignant, heartbreaking, surprisingly funny'Linwood Barclay'One of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today'Gillian Flynn
'A world-class crime writer'Karin Slaughter
'Mark Billingham is a master of psychology' Ian Rankin
'Billingham is always a must read' Harlan Coben

Sometimes there is just a powerhouse name in the thriller genre but somehow their work has just evaded you for one reason or another.  Rabbit Hole was my first taste of the talented Mark Billingham’s work.  I’m neither surprised nor shocked that I fell down the Rabbit Hole.  The mind of Billingham is devious and twisted, he will take a common misconception in mental health and twist and turn it until it no longer resembles what it once was.

The author did the groundwork, and the reader took one step and we fell into the dark and depraved mind of Alice Armitage.  She is an ex-police officer who has been medically retired.  She experienced a deeply traumatic event that happened to her partner.  She ultimately had a breakdown and things spiraled out of control quickly after her paranoia and violent attack directed at her boyfriend, Andy.  She has now been sectioned under the mental health act and is an inpatient in an acute psychiatric ward.

I think I should be handcuffed after reading Rabbit Hole.  I am guilty of loving this novel so much.  I’m guilty of disliking character after character so much.  I was an ex mental health worker am deliriously pleased with an accurate account of just how complex PTSD can be.  Not long after her arrival in the ward one of the patients is found murdered.  It is from here that things become extremely tangled and our viewpoint within Alice’s brain becomes heightened with delusions, fragmented memories, and deep-seated pain. 

Alice is in the eye of a storm.  All around her is chaos and destruction.  When we meet her she making pronouncements of her fellow ward mates.  Nicknames to allow her to remember them better, and all good ones either.  My chest ached with some behaviors and I was more intrigued than ever to find out backstories.  The author doesn’t beat around the bush, there is a mammoth in the room but when will it be addressed? 

The tension is palpable and you get a real sense of fear and foreboding and you have no trouble visualizing the intensity of being trapped not only inside your mind but the confines of the ward also.  Guilt is a dominant theme within Rabbit Hole and the reader gets a real sense of how far it can drag someone down.  Guilt is hard to shake, hard to rationalize, and hard to free the shackles.

Rabbit Hole excels with its intelligent vivacity.  A magnificent sense of gravitas with a terrifying exploration of mental health and guilt. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mark billingham - Review: Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001.

Sleepyhead was an instant bestseller in the UK. It has been sold widely throughout the world and was published in the USA in the summer of 2002.

The series of crime novels featuring London-based detective Tom Thorne continued with Scaredy Cat and was followed by LazybonesThe Burning GirlLifelessBuriedDeath MessageBloodlineFrom The DeadGood As DeadThe Dying HoursThe Bones Beneath, Time Of Death, Love Like BloodThe Killing HabitTheir Little Secret and the most recent Cry Baby. Mark is also the author of the standalone novels In The Dark, Rush Of BloodDie Of Shame and his latest, Rabbit Hole.

Mark is also a regular contributor to radio and TV and is a member of the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a combo of bestselling crime and thriller writers who performed at the Glastonbury Festival in 2019.

An acclaimed television series based on the Thorne novels was screened on Sky One in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne. A series based on the novels In The Dark and Time Of Death was screened on BBC1 in 2017.

Mark lives in London with his wife and two children. He is currently writing his next novel.

Website

four stars - Review: Rabbit Hole by Mark Billingham