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THE CHEMISTRY OF DEATH
By Simon Beckett
Dell, 2007 ($6.99)
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
Is there room for another forensic anthropologist? Oh, yes!
Three years ago Dr. David Hunter left his life in London behind and moved to rural Norfolk. He hoped to put a personal tragedy behind him and to get away from the sometimes grisly forensic work he was so good at. In the village of Manham he is content to practice general medicine until the discovery of a corpse in the woods. As a newcomer and outsider, he is at first suspected of the killing then recruited to use his forensic skills to aid in the investigation. When yet another woman disappears, the race begins to find the predator...a predator who is one of them, one of the villagers.
I was hooked on page one as the author described how the human body begins to decompose four minutes after death.
For the most part, the story is tightly written with a nice mixture of suspense and quaint village charm. I was disappointed in the conclusion. I would have preferred a less predictable ending. Still, it's not a bad start for a first mystery. I do hope to read more by this author, soon.
A word of caution. This book is not for the sqeamish. Some readers may find the detailed descriptions of decaying bodies a bit too much.
Fans of Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell need to grab a copy of Simon Beckett's books and start reading! Fans of CSI will enjoy Dr. Hunter as well.
WRITTEN IN BONE is the second suspense novel featuring Dr. David Hunter. It is available in hardcover from Delacorte Press.
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