Linzi Birrell and Rhian Douglas: murdered.
Angela McCabe and Josh Norbury: murdered.
A killer the police have dubbed Billy Dead Mates is killing pairs of best friends, one by one. Just before each murder, he sends his victim a small white book…
Three regional police forces are working together to identify and catch Billy. For five months, they’ve been failing. Then a fifth victim, scared by what she’s seen and heard on the news, comes forward to seek help. Unlike Billy’s first four victims, she isn’t dead. Yet.
Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar white books. A stranger gave it to her after a gig she did a year ago. Was he Billy? Now Kim’s life depends on working out why she – a woman who has no close friends because she trusts no one – should attract the attention of the Best Friends Killer… And, if Billy has her in his sights, why has he waited so long to strike?
The characters of this series are halfway to what makes it so amazing; even the Detectives you know are absolute arses (Sellers, for one) are somehow likeable. The main man, of course, is Detective Simon Waterhouse. His character just gets better and better as the series goes on, and in The Narrow Bed we see the full force of his character and how he’s so stuck in his ways – how does Charlie put up with him, a question which no doubt confuses many, with an answer that I’d guess is ultimately: he is brilliant. He’s a brilliant detective and character, and I love following him as he solves another case.
The narrative in this novel is really interesting as for a large portion of it we see into the mind of comedian Kim Trebbeck, quite a tricky woman and not someone I’d choose to be friends with in many ways – though she is very funny (no surprise there though, given her occupation!) and would no doubt be quite a good laugh to go out with. She’s evidently written a book of sorts about the ‘Billy Kill Mates’ case that she becomes embroiled in, and we see snippets of this which offers an alternative perspective to the case. This isn’t necessarily unusual for Sophie Hannah’s books, particularly in this series – we often find out more about some of the victims or associated characters than we would in other crime series, and I love that. This was definitely a slight shift in its storytelling, though… and I loved it!
The story is as complex and twisty as ever, and I managed to get a bit lost towards the end but couldn’t care less that my tired brain couldn’t work it out – when can I ever work it all out? – because getting to the conclusion is so much fun. I could read these novels all day; long live this series… I hope there’s many more to come!