So, here we are…a few days after what was – whichever side of the political divide you’re on – a momentous general election, but that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about that. It’s certainly not the right moment for anything remotely light-hearted on the subject, because, as everyone knows, comedy = tragedy + time and quite simply, it’s WAY too soon.

Instead, hard as it may be when we’ve all been given a scary clown for Christmas (sorry, I promise to shut up about it now), I’m struggling manfully to feel festive. Ho, ho and indeed, ho. There may be some form of glittery tree being put up later today and I shall probably spend some time buying presents that my loved ones really don’t need, or will even like very much. I’ll put on the Johnny Cash Country Christmas album and fall out with people playing stupid games. I’ll drag a moth-eaten and ironically garish jumper from the cupboard and pretend that turkey is tasty. I shall drink until I’m a little tiddly (it doesn’t take much), scarf down my body-weight in mince pies, search the TV listings for – and almost certainly find – Die Hard or Bad Santa or The Great Escape or The Muppet Christmas Carol, then fall asleep in front it.

God bless us, every one.

Right then, here are the yuletide headlines…

* BIG anniversary and special editions in 2020.
* Tom Thorne Goes Back In Time.
* Standalone In TV Development Shocker.
* The Musical Slaughter Continues.
* Backlist Makeover (Not A New Reality Show).
* Election Result Just A Dream, Like Bobby Ewing In The Shower.

One of the above headlines may not be entirely true…


It’s a big anniversary for me next year. That’s right, friends and neighbours, it will be 20 years of Thorne in 2020. It’s almost like I planned it. To mark the occasion, there will be all sorts of fancy publishing stuff going down. Notably, there will be a super-swanky, extra-special anniversary edition of my debut novel, Sleepyhead, published in April. This will be a limited edition and thoroughly gorgeous hardback, with a new foreword written specially by the marvellous and mighty Lee Child. Did I say limited? Yes, you bet your boots I did. There will only be 1000 signed and numbered copies of this baby being released into the wild. I will be keeping number 1 and giving away number 2 in an anniversary competition, leaving a mere 998 copies out there waiting to be snapped enough by collectors, Thorne aficionados and those with nothing better to spend their money on. Numbers 3-100 will be exclusively available to buy from Goldsboro Books ( which will be celebrating its own significant anniversary next year. So, get your orders in good and early. I promise you, it’s a beauty…


I wanted to do something a little different with the twentieth book, so next year’s Tom Thorne novel will be a prequel to Sleepyhead. Apologies to those who thought that going ‘back in time’ meant that I was dabbling with fantasy or sci-fi. Though, that might have been interesting. No, this one’s a straight-down-the-line crime novel, but it’s set before the action of Thorne’s first outing, which gave me the wonderful opportunity to set a story (praise the Lord) at a time when mobile phones were massive and mercifully uncommon, CCTV was only there to catch litter-bugs and the Internet was something only geeks knew about. It’s been a joy to write something that takes place in a world where people used an A-Z to get around and got their photos developed at the chemist; to not be hidebound by all the tech stuff that can make writing crime fiction so tricky in this day and age. Most importantly though, I had the chance to write about Tom Thorne as a younger man. A little less cynical, a lot less damaged and about to meet a certain, heavily tattooed pathologist for the first time. It’s been a lot of fun. I can’t tell you what the novel is called just yet, but there will be a cover and title reveal early in the new year and *** **** (insert own title here) will be published in late-July.

But before all those brand-new hardback shenanigans, you can – should you so wish – indulge in some paperback-ish fun when Their Little Secret is published between soft covers by Sphere in the UK on January 9th and by Grove Atlantic in the US a little later in the year. Have you forgotten that one already? How could you? Please enjoy the visual aid below…
Their Little Secret Covers


Like most writers, when it comes to TV adaptations, I’ve had my fair share of good and bad luck. I certainly got lucky when the fabulous David Morrissey signed up to play Tom Thorne for Sky and when MyAnna Buring played Helen Weeks on the BBC. One of the books that didn’t fare quite so well is Rush Of Blood. Several years ago it was developed, then green-lit and announced by the BBC and all was going swimmingly until the screenwriter got what he thought was a better gig and walked away. A green light turned to amber and then…that was that…until very recently. I’m thrilled to say that the book has been bought once again and is now being developed by a major production company in the US. I can’t reveal names and details just yet (such a tease) but there will be an announcement very soon. I’ve always wanted to see Rush Of Blood on screen, so this big step closer to it is a fantastic early Christmas present. I couldn’t have asked for anything better, though I am still keeping my fingers crossed for that big jar of Marmite.


For anyone that missed it (and I can’t believe anyone did, because we haven’t shut up about it all year) the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers – the band in which I live out rock-star fantasies alongside, Doug Johnstone, Luca Veste, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville and Val McDermid – were invited to play at Glastonbury in June. Needless to say, it was a blast and probably best summed up by the fact that Stuart was wearing a T-Shirt that read BEST MID-LIFE CRISIS EVER.
Fun Loving Crime Writers On Stage
Things got even sillier after that, with more festival appearances and an invitation to play live on TV (though sadly without Val, who was in New Zealand) as part of the coverage of the Cheltenham Literary Festival. If anyone is brave enough and has ear-defenders handy, here’s a link to that performance on Sky Arts, with an apology to Elvis Costello:
Blimey, look at the state of us! We have plenty more shows lined up for the new year, so come on down and jump around. Here’s a selection of the venues and festivals where you can catch FLCW murdering songs for fun in the early part of 2020:

Saturday 29th February, Paisley Book Festival, Paisley Arts Centre
Tickets £12
Box Office: 0300 300 1210

Monday 30th March, The Stables, Milton Keynes
Tickets £20
Box Office: 01908 280800

Tuesday 31st March, Subscription Rooms, Stroud
Tickets £21.50
Box Office: 01453 796880

Wednesday 1st April, The Anvil, Basingstoke
Tickets £24
Box Office: 01256 844244

Saturday 18th April, The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Tickets £22.50 / £20
Box Office: 0131 668 2019

Friday 29th May, Derby Book Festival, Derby Theatre
Details TBC

Saturday 30th May, Arts Centre, Pocklington
Tickets £23
Box Office: 01759 301547


The other thing that’s happening to mark the 20th anniversary is that the backlist is being comprehensively tarted up and given an uber-fashionable new look. A new livery, if you will. The first trio of books is coming early in the new year and by the end of 2020, all twenty books will have been rolled out looking as cool as crimey cucumbers. Here’s what the first batch looks like:
New Covers


Aside from appearances in the new year with the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, I’ll be doing plenty of other stuff to celebrate the 20th anniversary and to shamelessly pimp the brand new book. It’s just a shame that the rider for book events isn’t quite as good as we get at the music gigs. In the interests of full disclosure, I should probably make it clear that because most of us are knocking on a bit, the band usually insists on nothing more outré than tea, biscuits and a nice lie down.

Here’s what’s currently lined up:

* January 9th. Gillingham Library. With Alex Marwood.
* January 11th. Deal Bookshop. Lunchtime signing.
* April 24-26th. Chipping Norton Literary Festival.
* May 1-3rd. Cromarty Crime & Thrillers Weekend.
* May 15-24th. Bath Literature Festival.
* May 30th. Derby Book Festival.
* July 18-21st. Harrogate Crime Writing Festival
* July 31-August 2nd. Bute Noir.

Additional events are still being finalised in London and Edinburgh. And hey there, Canadian readers…I may well be heading your way before the end of next year.

Please check the NEWS page of the website for further events, times, addresses, other authors appearing, contact details for tickets, all that malarkey.

OK, that’s enough nonsense for now. Christmas is coming for pity’s sake…


I'm almost constantly available on social media, lurking about when I should probably be working, so if you want to send a message, ask a question or shout at me about something, feel free.

TWITTER: @MarkBillingham


You can also contact me at:

Thanks for bearing with me. Take care, keep warm and have yourselves a merry little Christmas, if you can.

Mark x

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