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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, exciting, magnificently dark
Like everyone else it seems, I discovered Elizabeth Haynes' writing through her magnificent debut, Into the Darkest Corner. Her second, Revenge of the Tide, was good too, but maybe lacking a little something for me. But as for this one - it really is absolutely fantastic, arguably her best yet, and I've honestly never read anything quite like it.

The whole...
Published 20 months ago by Welsh Annie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, unsettling but slow-paced
Annabel lives with her cat, Lucy; a strange, unpleasant, smell, which she thinks is a gift from Lucy in the form of a dead mouse or bird, leads her to investigate the empty house next door. She finds a decomposed body propped up in an armchair. Working as an analyst in the local police Intelligence Unit she begins to notice than an unusually high number of similar deaths...
Published 3 months ago by Jood


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, exciting, magnificently dark, 18 Mar 2013
By 
Welsh Annie (Wetherby) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Kindle Edition)
Like everyone else it seems, I discovered Elizabeth Haynes' writing through her magnificent debut, Into the Darkest Corner. Her second, Revenge of the Tide, was good too, but maybe lacking a little something for me. But as for this one - it really is absolutely fantastic, arguably her best yet, and I've honestly never read anything quite like it.

The whole book is incredibly original, and all the more engaging because of its grounding in mundane everyday life. As a central character, we have Annabel, a police analyst who lives alone with her cat Lucy, dissatisfied in life and work, running round after her ungrateful elderly mother. First, she discovers the death of a neighbour - alone and inexplicable. Then, through her work, she discovers that there has been a significant increase in the number of people dying alone at home within her small town. She struggles to get anyone interested - surely the increase has to be significant in some way - until local journalist Sam Everett picks up on the story.

The individual behind the deaths is a magnificent creation who makes your blood run cold: and there's a constant underlying humour and incongruity that makes him all the more chilling. The story is told through Annabel and the man behind it all, but interspersed with the voices of those who have died - and the whole structure works really well. Some of the stories are really touching, wonderful vignettes of the lives of the lonely. And she really gets under the skin and into the minds of her two main characters - in different ways, it's an uncomfortable and fascinating place to be.

This is a story that makes you sweat and your pulse race, 100% believable, magnificently dark, incredibly exciting, and I defy anyone to put it down for anything but the briefest of pauses before its fantastic ending. It will stay with me a long time, and I'll always dress properly, put my make-up on and smile when I do an evening supermarket shop from now on - and run a mile if anyone touches me on the arm.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `I wanted to go home and lock the door and not open it again.', 14 Feb 2013
By 
L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Paperback)
This is the third novel from crime writer Elizabeth Haynes and for me this is her darkest yet. Annabel works as an analyst for the police. She is lonely, with just her cat Lucy for company at home, and a few visits a week to her housebound mum to separate her days. She works hard, and doesn't have any other close relationships, seeing the friendships amongst others at work go on around her without being part of them, feeling rather disconnected.

Having made a grim discovery in the house next door to hers one day, she realises on her return to work that similar deaths are happening in an alarmingly high number in the locality, and takes this information to her bosses at the police station. Why are so many people dying alone at home, not being discovered for some time after their deaths? Though seeming unsuspicious and raising little interest at first- these are deaths after all, not murders, aren't they? - not least a local journalist, Sam Everett.

Through other lonely, troubled voices that are heard briefly in the story, and primarily through Annabel, this novel examines loneliness and the vulnerability of it, whether society should do more for those living alone, making us question our duty to others, and it makes you wonder about both choosing to be alone and ending up that way. As the neighbour of someone who has been found dead and alone comments `I think it's terrible that in this day and age nobody notices you're gone...People should take more care of each other.' This is not to say that the novel offers no hope in this regard; in fact there are people who demonstrate the very opposite and offer kindness and friendship just when it is most needed.

Haynes has created a cold, chilling character for the criminal in this novel. She takes us into his mind; we know that from the outside he looks just like anyone else, he goes to work, goes about his life, no one would know what else he does in private: `If you met me in the street I dare say you would not be unduly worried by my presence...' But inside that twisted mind are the thoughts of man playing with the lives of others and relishing what he does, even believing he is helping them to escape, using his own particular methods: `You want to know how I do it, don't you? I can imagine it, your fervent interest, your curiosity that others might describe as morbid: I can see it in the sparkle in your eyes. Well, ask me, then. Go on. I know you're dying to...' The language here is so apt - `morbid, dying to' - in keeping with the subject matter of the book.

Elizabeth Haynes established herself as a must-read author for me with Into the Darkest Corner. This novel confirms her talent for getting to the heart of the darkest minds and imagining the awful horrors they might commit. She has crafted another compelling story, with characters that get under your skin, a mystery and investigation that keeps you turning the pages, and with a dark, creepy air pervading it all.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not a crime lover but I love Haynes' style! Clever, shocking and utterly unputdownable, 28 April 2013
By 
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Paperback)
Loved it! Another winner from Haynes.

Annabel works as an analyst for the police. She lives with her cat, has no friends and cares for her housebound mother. One night she finds her neighbour's dead body, sat at home, apparently starved to death. Soon after, she notices a pattern of vastly increasing similar suicides in the town, all of lonely and vulnerable people. But this story isn't just about Annabel, it's also about Colin...

I'm trying very hard not to give away vital twists and plot points. I really enjoy Haynes' style, it's crime but not really about the murders. She writes about the victims, the killers, the psychology of it, which to me is much more interesting than a straightforward thriller. We are never in any doubt who the bad guy is, in fact, a proportion of the narrative is his, talking us through his life and what he does. Other reviewers have called him creepy. I loved him! Not that I want to go on a date with him, but I found him a rounded and convincing portrayal of a very intelligent and dangerous psychopath.

The story is rather sad - these vulnerable people are not murdered, in fact the dead narrate their own stories - that people with little support can easily be manipulated and there is no-one to look out for them. It's quite a scary thought.

I loved the structure of this, short chapters narrated by Annabel, the 'killer', the victims.

*SPOILER* I thought it especially clever when Annabel's narrations became those of a victim, this was such a shock (though I could see it coming and got very tense!!), as she'd been so stable and assured until that point.
*END OF SPOILER*

This isn't quite going to hit the heights of Into the Darkest Corner for me. I didn't mind the sordid details contained within, but ITDC really was the most powerful book I'd read in a long time, and while Human Remains is excellent, it's not going to make the film ITDC surely will soon (hope someone realises this!!!).

I couldn't help picturing the author in the role of Annabel, I wonder how much of herself and her job is in Annabel, the research of her work shows the minute detail and convinces.

* SPOILER* Just a thought but at the end, I actually thought Audrey's end point (psychologically and almost physically) was very similar to Catherine's at the start of Into the Darkest Corner. I wonder if that was intentional.
*END OF SPOILER*

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for readers who like intelligent crime, who can cope with rather descriptive 'body' scenes and some sordid detail. It's one that you need to keep reading, that pays off in terms of the structure, and that offers great characters you can really relish reading about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet, 28 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Human Remains (Paperback)
Having now read all three of Elizabeth's novels, I believe that the quality, structure and her literacy skills have just got better and better.
The common thread of her latest novel ` Human Remains `at times is a little too near the truth of today's modern society and the lack of actually knowing or caring who lives next door to you.
This book was well written and keeps you enthralled all the way from the very start to the end.
The quality of detail once again proves the amount of research that Elizabeth has yet again put into her work.

I think that the final chapter in all this will be a sad day for Kent Police but a ' cracking result ' for us who adore crime novels.

Congratulations Elizabeth looking forward to book number 4.

Thumper
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very original and full of suspense, 1 May 2013
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book, mostly because of the way that Elizabeth Haynes writes, which draws you in and keeps your attention. The heroine is Annabel, a loner who works as an analyst at a police station. She discovers her neighbour's dead (and decomposing) body and this leads her to look into the statistics for how many other decomposed bodies have been found that year. To her surprise she discovers that the numbers are well up on any other year or any other district. While the police are not particularly interested in investigating - where's the crime when the deaths appear to be from natural causes? - Annabel keeps digging. Meanwhile we the reader realise that she is far more at risk herself than she realises, and the suspense mounts gradually but insistently.

This is a cleverly constructed book and it's very readable. I did feel that the ending was somewhat at odds with the rest of the book, but it all brought things together in a very satisfying way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chilling and thought-provoking read., 22 Aug 2014
By 
EllyBlue (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Kindle Edition)
This is another great read from Elizabeth Haynes. We are in familiar territory in that this is a crime thriller like her earlier books, but unusually, this book is concerned with people who die alone, slowly and unnoticed and whose disappearance is not noticed for some time. There is a killer and there are some quite graphic descriptions of dying and the process of decay through which the body passes after death. Through this very unusual killer, Haynes draws our attention to the isolation many feel right at the heart of our society. Parts of the novel are written in the words of the victims themselves explaining their gradual withdrawal from the world and I thought these parts worked particularly well. She also draws attention to the work of the civilian police analysts who make sense of data and spot patterns which can reveal when crimes have been committed. Elizabeth Haynes books are always worth looking out for and this one is no exception. I was gripped.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, unsettling but slow-paced, 17 Aug 2014
By 
Jood (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Paperback)
Annabel lives with her cat, Lucy; a strange, unpleasant, smell, which she thinks is a gift from Lucy in the form of a dead mouse or bird, leads her to investigate the empty house next door. She finds a decomposed body propped up in an armchair. Working as an analyst in the local police Intelligence Unit she begins to notice than an unusually high number of similar deaths have been recorded; that is, people dying alone, in their own homes, not missed by anyone – is there a pattern, a common link? Annabel wants to find out but the powers-that-be show little interest.

Colin also lives alone; a very unsavoury character with a fascination with decaying flesh and a vivid imagination. He spends much of his free time taking courses in biology, and is something of an expert in this field, watching porn, fantasising about women, and devising ways to meet the perfect mate. Socially awkward and deficient in so many ways, Colin is what would probably be described as a sociopath.

These are the two main characters of this dark, unsettling novel. Given the title of the book, I expected the storyline to be exactly that, I had, however, expected the pace to be faster, as it was I found it to be quite heavy-going and much more unpleasant, and as such quite difficult to get into. I had hoped I would begin to sympathise, or empathise, with the characters but that didn’t happen at all. In fact, all I really wanted to do was get to the end of this, turn the last page and not think about it. It was a bit like prodding road kill (not that I do that!) – I’d put the darn thing down, read something else, and then go back to it.

I had enjoyed Elizabeth Haynes first book “Into the Darkest Corner” very much, and whilst the subject matter – domestic violence – is unpleasant, the main character was one the reader could really sympathise with, if not relate to, and cheer on, if you like.

I can’t honestly say I enjoyed this novel; it’s well written, the idea behind plot is good, the characters are what they’re supposed to be, and yet….I can only put it down to lack of pace and perhaps my frame of mind at the moment. I may well read this again in a couple of year’s time. That being said, it does not put me off reading her other book “Revenge of The Tide”, in the hope that I enjoy it more than this one, and I will look for anything else she may write in the future
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent read from Elizabeth Haynes!, 14 April 2014
By 
D. Blair "Crystal Tips" (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Kindle Edition)
I read 'Into The Darkest Corner' not long after it appeared on the WH SMITH'S bookshelves where I live and I couldn't put it down. It was a book I recommended to a good friend and we've started 'Human Remains' together.

This is a similar set up in that the female protagonist, Annabel, is very much a loner, she has an elderly infirm mother but no close friends or other relatives. Life is a day to day series of events without any enjoyable colour to lift her grey existence until the day she finds her neighbour, Shelley, dead in the house next door. The prospect of this becoming her own conclusion dawns very quickly on Annabel and it is through her work as a police analyst that she realises this is a far from isolated incident, indeed there appears to be a peak in the numbers of such cases of local people simply dying at home and not being discovered until they have been dead for a long time.

The thing that I really enjoy about Elizabeth Haynes' writing is that she very much creates a tangible atmosphere; you can feel the loneliness of Annabel and later Shelley, Noel, Rachelle etc. The book is set within Autumn so the season enhances the feeling of things shutting down and decaying, I had to look up and remember I was reading this book in my garden on a warm April afternoon.

I'm off to read 'Revenge of the tides' now, I've had it on my Kindle for a while, I wonder if my friend has finished 'Human Remains'?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interestingly unique, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: Human Remains (Kindle Edition)
This is my first encounter with Elizabeth Haynes, and I'll be sure to read more. The premise of the story was refreshing and thought provoking, and I loved the different narrative perspectives. The characters were interesting but normal enough to make them believable....I expect that most of us have known someone who could be Colin or Annabel. This is not a long book, and was read in a few sessions, but each time I was away from it the story had the magical property of calling me back for more. I am looking forward to reading more from this author - I hope the others are as good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly Memorable, 5 Mar 2014
By 
Loppylou (East Sussex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Human Remains (Kindle Edition)
This was my first Elizabeth Haynes novel which I chanced upon and having thoroughly enjoyed it I will definitely be downloading her debut, Into the Darkest Corner. The originality of Human Remains is the real pleasure of the book and I couldn’t help but be moved by the themes of loneliness and vulnerability in the novel. It really is a sad affair reading how these characters withdraw from society and give up on life but it is still very viable and therefore very real to the reader. This emotion is perfectly enhanced by slithers of echoes from the deceased spoken from beyond their death to add another dimension to the story standing apart from the voices of Annabel and Colin. The so-called crime is incredibly dark and could have been quite gory but in actual fact it was so fascinating I found myself doing some further reading about some of the methods and processes the author gave to Colin. The offender, Colin is a credible character who, despite his motives and actions, is strangely not totally despicable. I found the character and circumstance of Annabel very effective and very real. The character is so well rounded without the writer having to go into huge amounts of biographical context, rather it is enough to gage her life from her day to day activities, or lack of and her musings at work, at home with her cat and of course at her mother’s house and later the hospital. I was glad that the ending stayed true to the character of Annabel and that the author did not run away with any romantic notions, quite refreshing really and what’s more I thought our final glimpse into the mind of Colin was just perfect!

I have no doubt that this story is truly memorable and I have a feeling it will stay with me for a long time so all in all an excellent read which I have been telling many people since I first started reading it. Get it!
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Human Remains
Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes (Paperback - 14 Feb 2013)
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