When Annabel, a police analyst, discovers her neighbour’s decomposing body in the house next door, she’s appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed that anything was wrong.
Back at work, she feels compelled to investigate, despite her colleagues’ lack of interest, and finds data showing that such cases are common – too common – in her home town. As she’s drawn deeper into the mystery and becomes convinced she’s on the trail of a killer, she also must face her own demons and her own mortality. Would anyone notice if she just disappeared?
So, this is one of those books that’s really hard to review without giving away the whole shebang, so I’ll keep it brief.
I absolutely loved Haynes’ first book Into the Darkest Corner but somehow managed to miss the release of her second one. When I saw the synopsis for Human Remains (her 3rd) though I knew I had to read it, especially considering I was doing this Horror October thing.
I have to say, I started off being bit disappointed. The novel is written from the perspectives of Annabel, a woman who has somehow managed to isolate herself from everyone apart from her elderly mum and her cat, and Colin, an intelligent but clearly unhinged individual. I think the main reason that this started off so slowly for me was that it was clear from the start that Colin was going to be ‘the killer’.
At first, I thought it was just an obvious plot-line but as soon as it became clear that we’re supposed to know who he is I felt I was really able to get into it. There was one moment when something just clicked, the inciting incident if you want to be poncy about it, and from then on I was hooked. It just wished it had happened sooner.
Human Remains reminded me a little of the likes of the film Se7en, and to some extent the Hannibal books. Mainly because of Colin’s character. He’s intelligent, articulate and lives a somewhat normal life on the surface, but underneath he’s completely psychotic. And that’s the thing I love about these kind of thrillers. I’m totally fascinated by how serious criminals and serial killers’ minds work.
Colin was a great baddy, even if he didn’t feel that original to me. I guess certain things he did were though. The creepiest part wasn’t even his obsession with the bodies, it was his complete lack of remorse. There was no remorse, because he didn’t feel like he was doing anything wrong, and therefore he felt invincible.
I wish we learned more about ‘his method’ too, I was really intrigued by that – such a scary thought. If you weren’t wary of the likes of Derren Brown before, you will be after reading this!
Disclosure: None, I bought it!
Details: Paperback, 368 pages. Published February 14th 2013 by MYRIAD EDITIONS
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Unicorns
Is it a keeper? Probably, but only because I’ve kept Into the Darkest Corner.
If you liked this try: American Psycho