Category Archives: Today We Go Home

Review: Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

Title: Cry Baby by Mark Billingham
Tom Thorne Series Book 17
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Genre: Historical (90s), Mystery, Suspense
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Two boys run into the woods—but only one returns—in this new mystery from the award-winning “first-rate British crime writer” (The Washington Post).

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 the case—which quickly spirals out of control when two people connected to 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 Mark Billingham’s acclaimed debut Sleepyhead―which the Sunday Times voted one of the 100 books that shaped the decade―this chilling, compelling novel is the latest in “a series to savor” (Booklist).


A prequel to the first novel in the Tom Thorne series, Cry Baby by Mark Billingham is a suspense-laden mystery about a missing seven year old boy.

Catrin “Cat” Coyne and Maria Ashton are with their sons at a playground when, during a moment of distraction, Cat’s son Kieron goes missing.  He and Maria’s son Josh are playing hide and seek in the wood when Josh realizes something has happened to his friend.

Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne and his boss Detective Inspector Gordon Boyle are part of the team assigned to investigate Kieron’s disappearance. After a fruitless search,  everyone fears the worst. But when eyewitness Felix Barratt provides important information, Thorne and the rest of the team now believe the young boy was abducted. But without any new leads, will they find Kieron before it is too late?

In 1996, Thorne is on his way to a divorce but he does not feel any urgency to start proceedings or put the house on the market.  Kieron’s case provide a true but handy excuse as his soon to be ex-wife Jan and her new boyfriend pressure him to follow through with his promises. Thorne instead works long hours trying to find any evidence that will assist in the search for Kieron.

After a chat with Cat, Tom crosses paths with her neighbor Grantleigh Figgis.  With their discussion about his whereabouts the morning Kieron complete, Thorne cannot shake off the feeling Figgis needs a closer look.  DI Boyle is quickly convinced Grantleigh is a viable suspect and the situation quickly escalates out of Tom’s control.  Will evidence prove DI Boyle’s certainty that Figgis is their man?

Meanwhile Cat has information that she initially held back from the police.  Despite Thorne’s assertion what she tells him will remain confidential, everyone, including her partner Billy who is in prison, knows exactly what Cat divulged. Luckily, Billy’s sister Angela is there to support her while the search for Kieron continues.

Maria still feels guilty about taking her eye off the boys that fateful day in the park. But she is soon distracted by Josh’s increasingly troubling behavior both at home and school.  Maria puts it down to her recent divorce and Kieron’s disappearance.  Will her ex-husband Ashton agree to get counseling for their son?

Cry Baby is a tension-filled mystery that is fast-paced and engaging.  The plot is refreshingly unique since the story takes place in the summer of 1996. Due to the lack of modern day technology, Thorne and the rest of the investigators rely on old fashioned detective work as they search for Kieron.  With a shocking plot twist, Mark Billingham brings this riveting mystery to an edge of the seat, dramatic conclusion. Old and new fans are sure to love this outstanding prequel (and seventeenth installment) to the Tom Thorne series.


Filed under Atlantic Monthly Press, Cry Baby, Historical, Historical (90s), Mark Billingham, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, Today We Go Home, Tom Thorne Series

Review: Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes

Title: Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Women’s Fiction
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Seattle, Washington
Larkin Bennett has always known her place, whether it’s surrounded by her loving family in the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest or conducting a dusty patrol in Afghanistan. But all of that changed the day tragedy struck her unit and took away everything she held dear. Soon after, Larkin discovers an unexpected treasure—the diary of Emily Wilson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man to fight for the Union in the Civil War. As Larkin struggles to heal, she finds herself drawn deeply into Emily’s life and the secrets she kept.

Indiana, 1861
The only thing more dangerous to Emily Wilson than a rebel soldier is the risk of her own comrades in the Union Army discovering her secret. But in the minds of her fellow soldiers, if it dresses like a man, swears like a man, and shoots like a man, it must be a man. As the war marches on and takes its terrible toll, Emily begins to question everything she thought she was fighting for.


Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes is a compelling novel that features dual timelines.

In the present, Larkin Bennett is struggling with severe PTSD following her final tour in Afghanistan. Medically discharged from the Army, she has returned home to stay with her beloved Grams while she tries to recover from the loss of her best friend, Sarah Faber, whose death she feels responsible for.   Larkin finds solace in a civil war era diary that was given to her by Sarah.  While reading the diary, she becomes obsessed with  searching for other women with unconventional  wartime service.  Despite the diary’s distraction, Larkin continues to suffer from debilitating nightmares, guilt, self-loathing and anger control issues. She is also self-medicating with alcohol and ignoring the advice of her therapist. Will connecting with Sarah’s estranged brother Zach help her comes to terms with her devastating loss?

In 1861, the Civil War has just begun and Emily Wilson’s father and older brother David enlist in the Union Army. She worries about their safety and she finds comfort in writing in her diary. Emily and her younger brother Ben eventually leave their Indiana farm and she makes the unusual decision to masquerade as a man in order to fight alongside her brother. As the months pass, Emily revels in the freedom she receives from her disguise.  But as she, Ben and their fellow soldiers go into battle, she finally begins to realize exactly what  she is fighting for. And like Larkin in the present, Emily discovers transitioning back into civilian life does not mean she leaves her wartime experiences behind her.

Today We Go Home is a poignant novel with a thought-provoking storyline. Larkin’s post-war experiences are realistically portrayed. It is absolutely heart-wrenching to witness her struggles to recover from her survivors guilt and PTSD. Emily’s story springs vibrantly to life through her diary entries and chapters written from her perspective. The novel is extremely well-written and researched is impeccably. The story is quite fascinating and Kelli Estes highlights the struggles that women face during and after military service. I truly enjoyed and highly recommend this informative and engrossing novel.

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Filed under Contemporary, Historical, Kelli Estes, Rated B, Review, Sourcebooks Landmark, Today We Go Home, Women's Fiction