Mark Billingham in Conversation with Lee Child

If you haven’t read Mark Billingham’s DI Tom Thorne novels, you can start with Cry Baby, Billingham’s twentieth book. It’s a prequel to the rest of the series, so it’s the perfect place to start. It’s also The Poisoned Pen’s International Crime Novel of the Month. You can order a copy of it through the Web Store.

Here’s the summary of Cry Baby.

The latest thriller from internationally bestselling author Mark Billingham takes us back to the origins of Tom Thorne.

In the summer of 1996, two boys run from a playground into the adjoining woods, but only one comes out. DS Tom Thorne takes on a case that quickly spirals out of control when two people connected with the missing boy are murdered. As London prepares to host the European Soccer Championships, Thorne fights to keep on top of a baffling investigation while also dealing with the ugly fallout of his broken marriage.

A prequel to Billingham’s acclaimed debut Sleepyhead—which the Times voted “one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade”—this compelling novel highlights the case that shaped the career of one of British crime fiction’s most iconic characters.


Lee Child, the author of the Reacher books, needs no introduction. Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, turns this conversation over to Lee Child. He’s been reading Billingham’s books for twenty years, so he’s ready to talk about them.