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Customer Review

24 of 27 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
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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Initial post: 4 Jun 2013 08:15:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jun 2013 08:24:04 BDT
Excellent review. Although Your sentence marked 'spoiler' misled me (I had just started reading) into thinking *SPOILER ALERT* that Annabel became a victim. Finished the book at 3 this morning and was relieved to find she did not although from your sentence I had been anticipating it! *END OF SPOILER ALERT*
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Location: Derbyshire, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 57