“Thorne,” The British Mystery Series, Is The Perfect Winter Binge-Watch

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January 7, 2016 —  Sleepyhead, the first Tom Thorne novel written by Mark Billingham, was an instant success.

The detective novel, which was first published in 2001, made the Sunday Times “Top Ten Bestseller” list; it was listed as one of the 100 novels that helped shape the decade. Sleepyhead told the story of a case of “Locked-In Syndrome,” where the victim is completely aware of everything going on around her but cannot speak or move or in any way identify the criminal who has left her in this state.

The lead character, Tom Thorne, also heads up Billingham’s second book, Scaredy Cat, which was inspired by a real crime — one in which Billingham was the victim. He and a writing partner were kidnapped in a Manchester hotel room, where they were held hostage while three men in masks took their belongings. He used the emotions brought on by the incident, describing the inspiration: “The general theme of Scaredy Cat is really the power of fear, and that fear is a very powerful weapon, and if you are prepared to instill it, you have a very powerful weapon that is every bit as dangerous as a gun or a knife. Also what happened to me in that hotel room fed directly into a sub-plot in Scaredy Cat with some very nasty crimes carried out in hotel-rooms.

The series first appeared in England in 2010 (Sky1), where it was popular and well-received. The star, David Morrisey, best-known as The Governor in the mega-hit The Walking Dead, described the serendipity of being cast in the Thorne series. He explained “I was doing a film in New Zealand, on my own, in winter. I really needed a book. I stumbled across a Thorne novel, liked it, and then I looked up Mark online and found a question-and-answer session where he said that if his books ever made it to the screen, he’d like David Morrissey to play the lead. I thought, “That’s a good start.”

Although more installments were planned, Morrissey’s schedule on The Walking Dead has put them on hold.

Other cast members in the series include Eddie Marsan and Aiden Gillen. Sleepyhead co-stars Natascha McElhone; Scaredy Cat co-stars Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy).

Binge-watch Thorne at FilmRise.com.
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