It is always so sad to read in the newspapers of people who die alone in their homes, their bodies lying undiscovered for weeks or even months. They may have lost touch with their families or have run away or perhaps lost their own loved ones. But what if there is someone behind these deaths?
Police intelligence analyst Annabel discovers the body of her neighbor, “horrifically distorted out of shape”, the stomach a mass of maggots, and in the course of her work, begins to realise that there has been an unusually high number of similar deaths in Briarstone. But as these deaths are not technically crimes, they have not been flagged by the police and no one is really interested in pursuing them, until journalist Sam Everett comes nosing his way in.
And then there is Colin.
Colin is perhaps one of the creepiest characters I’ve ever come across. He comes across as mild-mannered and relatively ordinary (if a bit socially inept), but his inner dialogue is just so disturbing and twisted. He has this ability to manipulate the emotionally vulnerable, such as those who are depressed or who have recently had a death in the family, for instance. He is quite convinced that he is helping them, easing them towards their inevitable fate. Yet he derives a sort of sexual pleasure from it all. Creepy? Disturbing? Unsettling? Yes, yes and yes.
“That was when I knew I had her. She’s mine now, all mine, to do with as I choose. We had a lot to talk about, Leah and I. I wanted to hear her story, I wanted her to tell me all about her woes and her fears and her lack of hope. And now I know how to help her.”
Annabel is the sort of person who could potentially be one of these victims: single, living home alone with her cat, seldom mixing with colleagues or meeting friends.
“If I died, here, now, would I be missed? Surely work would notice? Surely Mum would phone the police, if she couldn’t get hold of me? Someone might come by. What if I didn’t answer the door? How long would it be before someone kicked the door in? Days? Weeks? What state would I be in, by then?”
A terrifying thought.
And as such, it is inevitable that the two of them meet….
I can’t seem to get away from the word ‘creepy’ in this review. Because it is undoubtedly so, with its roots in reality. Human Remains is a dark thriller, written by a someone who knows how to provoke strong emotions from her readers.
It was fascinating to read that Haynes got her writing start in 2005 after taking part in National Novel Writing Month. The result was that her first book Into the Darkest Corner won Amazon UK’s Best Book of 2011 (added to my TBR list of course!)
In case you’re interested, she details the five books that changed her life in Crimespree Magazine.
Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner and Dark Tide. She lives in England in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.
I received this book for review from TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins
Check out the rest of the tour:
Tuesday, August 20th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, August 21st: BoundByWords
Friday, August 23rd: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, August 27th: Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, August 27th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, August 28th: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, August 29th: Books in the Burbs
Tuesday, September 3rd: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Tuesday, September 3rd: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, September 4th: Kritters Ramblings
Thursday, September 5th: Lectus
Friday, September 6th: Olduvai Reads
Friday, September 6th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, September 10th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, September 11th: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, September 12th: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, September 13th: Drey’s Library