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Whispers of the Dead Paperback – 1 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; British Edition edition (1 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553817515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553817515
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Beckett worked as a property repairer, taught English in Spain and played percussion with several bands before becoming a novelist and freelance journalist. He writes for most national newspapers and colour supplements, including The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and Observer. He is married and lives in Sheffield. For more information visit www.simonbeckett.com.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Do you have a taste for vivid, uncompromising crime writing? Do you like your crime fiction meat strong and flavoursome? If so, Simon Becket should be on your reading list. Chemistry of Death and Written in Bone laid out his stall – in no uncertain fashion. In terms of raising the readers’ pulse rate, Becket demonstrated a casual mastery -- and Whispers of the Dead similarly sports all the tightly screwed tension that Becket trades in so successfully.

Forensic supremo David Hunter is chafing from the after-effects of the gruesome events of his last assignment and has made an ameliorative journey to the research faculty at which he polished his skills: the institution known as the Body Farm in Tennessee. Hunter receives a request from the man who polished his forensic skills to take a trip to a crime scene – a cabin in the woods, miles from anywhere. The grisly scenario that awaits him there is all too redolent of the horrors he has encountered in the past (the victim’s body is in an advanced state of decomposition, but it has been bound and tortured). Shortly after, a second corpse is discovered, and David Hunter is once again treading familiar territory involving lethal mind games with an ingenious and relentless psychopath.

Simon Becket fans will know what to expect from Whispers of the Dead – and if the squeamish are wise enough to steer clear (as they should always do with this writer), the rest of us will have a grimly suspenseful and (it has to be admitted) exhilarating time. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Menacing, beautifully paced and with characters that wouldn't disgrace the incomparable Michael Connelly, this marks Beckett's transition to established star" (Daily Mail)

"Beckett is one of the country's best crime writers... His books are intelligent, beautifully written and utterly gripping" (Sunday Express)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gemma TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Forensics expert Dr David Hunter is in Tennessee working alongside his former mentor at the Anthropological Research Facility, better known as the body farm, to escape London and the violence that nearly killed him.
However a body has been found in a remote cabin out in the woods, and when his mentor and friend, David Lieberman who is director of the body farm is called out to investigate, David finds himself drawn into a search for a serial killer as more bodies are found. Can David get over what happened in London and help contribute towards this investigation as he tries to hunt down a killer who seemingly can't be stopped?

I do like the character of Dr Hunter however I seemed to prefer him in the previous books in a more British setting. With this book I found it harder to sympathise with the main character, and whilst Beckett is good at portraying character's emotions, I did feel that he couldn't decide where to take the character of Dr Hunter. For example, for most of the first half of the book David Hunter remember those previous violent events and keeps dwelling on them, and even smelling a familiar perfume in a restaurant sets him off into a panic attack, he is constantly looking over his shoulder. Then not so long later, he is facing just as serious a threat, however he suddenly feels like taking a walk around by himself and ignoring police advice of staying in his hotel room and not answering the door.

The story itself involving the serial killer was simply ok, and probably a rather average crime thriller which again was a disappointment as I loved the first two books and I feel Beckett has gone rather downhill with this one. I never felt riveted by the story and whilst quite gory, it didn't actually reach out and grab me.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Daniell on 24 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wow! His 3rd book in the Dr David Hunter series and it's hard to imagine but Simon Beckett gets even better.
If you like Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell or CSI then you will love this book. Normally set in England, this time Dr Hunter goes to the body farm in America and there gets involved in a mysterious case. This case is far from clear cut, it will have you guessing the whole way through and even when you think you know who did it, you will be surprised.
The characters are brilliant, and the tension between Americans and the British Doctor are really well written and researched. The science is also very fascinating. The plot grips you from the start, keeps you wondering what will happen next, and then races to the end.
I personally think this is a must read for all crime readers, and one I don't think will disappoint.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Suzan VINE VOICE on 7 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr David Hunter, a forensic anthropologist, is still recovering from the death of his wife and young daughter, a near-death knife attack from a killer who remains at large and the break up with his girlfriend, Jenny. In an attempt to "find out if [he] is still up to the job", in "Whispers of the Dead" he visits his former mentor, Tom Lieberman, in the Tennessee research centre (known as the Body Farm) where he completed his training.

Whilst there, he gets drawn into an investigation and caught up in the race against time to find a serial killer.

I found this to be the best in the series so far in terms of::-
*Pace - This was constant throughout the whole novel.
*Tension - At times I felt a "shiver" as the events unfolded and had to consciously slow my reading down.
*Characterisation - Hunter is not a welcome addition to the Tennessee investigation team and the tension is cleverly conveyed. This also allows for aspects of Hunter's personality to come through.
*The forensic detail is gruesome but Beckett's thorough research and good writing makes this fascinating and grim at the same time. For example when the first body is found, we are told "The flesh was already displaying a cheesy consistency as it began to ferment and moulder, the leathery skin slipping off it like a wrinked suit".
*The view of the killer is also given throughout which creates intrigue as you try to solve his identity.

There are plenty of red herrings and this is well-written. If I had one criticism it would be the number of bodies at the climax of the novel. There must be a huge missing person's list some where! This is minor and doesn't detract from a 5-star read with this series going from strength to strength.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Walter Hypes on 5 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Author Simon Beckett has certainly found a notch for himself, his mystery thrillers cornering the market on the human body's decomposition as his anthropologist hero David Hunter, as David carries out his brutal and often blood-curdling research into death. We meet David only several months after his near-fatal stabbing. Still reeling from the evil machinations of Grace Strachan, David is looking for away to regain his edge and resolve some hard decisions so accepts an invitation from his old colleague and friend Tom Lieberman to attend the Forensic Anthropology Center in Knoxville, better known by another less formal name as the "Body Farm." The Center is a world-renowned center for research into human cadavers, and David hopes to jumpstart his professional drive. Instead, the young anthropologist finds himself caught up in a series of grizzly killings when a call comes through from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation: they've found a body looks like homicide in a mountain cabin. With an invitation from Tom for David to help him do a little field work, David is thrust back into the thick of things. The body's in bad shape, naked, spread-eagled on its back, arms and legs draped over the table edges, maggots dripping from it the floor "like boiled milk," and the combination of heat and stench is overpowering.

The victims limbs had been pulled down on either side of the table and fastened to the wooden pegs with parcel tape, even David couldn't recall ever seeing so many maggots in a single body before.
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