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The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett
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The Chemistry of Death (2006)

by Simon Beckett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: David Hunter (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Dr David Hunter is consumed with the question of what happens to the soul after death. After all, he knows by the minute what happens to the body after death. Because he cannot answer this question he leaves his career as a forensic anthropologist and London, to become a G.P. in the rural town Manham. Here he wallows in his grieve at the death of his wife and his daughter. Only coming back to his forensic roots as a serial killer targets women in this small town.
This is an excellent source of information of what forensic anthropology is. It is also a well-told tale of how this specialty works in the real world. Simon Beckett has created a character with flaws, desires, hopes, dreams. I am looking forward to reading more of Dr. Hunter. ( )
1 vote Bettesbooks | Jun 10, 2016 |
Book Description Three years ago, David Hunter moved to rural Norfolk to escape his life in London, his gritty work in forensics, and a tragedy that nearly destroyed him. Working as a simple country doctor, seeing his lost wife and daughter only in his dreams, David struggles to remain uninvolved when the corpse of a woman is found in the woods, a macabre sign from her killer decorating her body. In one horrifying instant, the quiet summer countryside that had been David’s refuge has turned malevolent—and suddenly there is no place to hide.

The village of Manham is tight-knit, far from the beaten path. As a newcomer, Dr. Hunter is immediately a suspect. Once an expert in analyzing human remains, he reluctantly joins the police investigation—and when another woman disappears, it soon becomes personal. Because this time she is someone David knows, someone who has managed to penetrate the icy barrier around his heart. With a killer’s bizarre and twisted methods screaming out to him, with a brooding countryside beset with suspicion, David can feel the darkness gathering around him. For as the clock ticks down on a young woman’s life, David must follow a macabre trail of clues—all the way to its final, horrifying conclusion.

My Review This book was a definite page-turner and a very twisty mystery. Every character was on my suspect list at one time or another and Simon Beckett kept me guessing all the way through. The book is very well-written and very entertaining especially as a group read with great discussion questions. I look forward to my next Simon Beckett novel. ( )
  EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
Review: The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett.

This book is an unpredictable serial killer suspense thriller. Simon Beckett delivers his real life anthropological experience working with Bill Bass, famous for the Body Farm, and writes a solid forensic procedural with plenty of interesting scientific details on the subject and minute to minute rate of decay of human remains under a variety of conditions and the use of insect populations as part of a model to determine accurate estimates of the time of death. The forensic detail explained in this book is very graphic and methodically precise with much accuracy as possible.

David Hunter previously worked as a forensic anthropologist in London until tragedy struck to close to home. He left behind his former life and took on a position as a temporary country doctor in a small English country village called Manham. He ended up staying on and practicing with Dr. Henry Maitland who is a survivor of a car accident in which his wife died and left him confined to a wheelchair. David Hunter never talked about his past to anyone which, was not to his advantage when women were being held hostage and days later left dead, mutilated in open areas. Even though he lived there three years he was still considered an outsider who came from a large city. Most of the village people eyed him as the most possible suspect.

The village of Manham turns out to be anything but placid. The village proves to be a place of dark passions, where predatory individuals hide behind a wall of normalcy. Along with a serial killer amongst them someone was leaving dead and mutilated animals outside homes and traps were being placed to cripple villagers who were unlucky enough to step in one.

As the investigation is on-going David Hunter’s past unveils and he was asked to help answer questions only an anthropologist could answer. He hesitated and frowned about what they wanted him to do but he finally relents and participates in the findings through detail forensic knowledge. However, most people still didn’t know his background and were suspicious of his communication with the officers in charge.

The story goes on with many unpredictable happenings, amazing twist and turns, creative plot, well developed characters, and a deep intense setting to top it off. I was so embedded in the story and amazed how the words just flowed along to create such an interesting book.

( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
From Amazon:

Three years ago, David Hunter moved to rural Norfolk to escape his life in London, his gritty work in forensics, and a tragedy that nearly destroyed him. Working as a simple country doctor, seeing his lost wife and daughter only in his dreams, David struggles to remain uninvolved when the corpse of a woman is found in the woods, a macabre sign from her killer decorating her body. In one horrifying instant, the quiet summer countryside that had been David’s refuge has turned malevolent—and suddenly there is no place to hide. The village of Manham is tight-knit, far from the beaten path. As a newcomer, Dr. Hunter is immediately a suspect. Once an expert in analyzing human remains, he reluctantly joins the police investigation—and when another woman disappears, it soon becomes personal. Because this time she is someone David knows, someone who has managed to penetrate the icy barrier around his heart. With a killer’s bizarre and twisted methods screaming out to him, with a brooding countryside beset with suspicion, David can feel the darkness gathering around him. For as the clock ticks down on a young woman’s life, David must follow a macabre trail of clues—all the way to its final, horrifying conclusion.

My Thoughts:

I read this book 4 years ago and soon had read the entire series. Simon Beckett quickly became one of my favorite writers. I will gurantee you that The Chemistry of Death is no cozy English mystery. Forensic detail contained in this book is not for readers with weak stomachs.... but neither is it a tale of endless torture. The plot moves along very quickly and the final revelation is something that you just don't see coming. I loved the view of life in this small English village. Perhaps I will reread the rest of the series. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
READ IN DUTCH

The Chemistry of Death. A Novel of Suspense - Simon Beckett

I had already read Whispers of the Dead (David Hunter #3). Yeah, something about reading order? I know. After reading it, I decided I wanted to read more, and this seemed a very logical start...



The Chemistry of Death is the first novel in the David Hunter series by Simon Beckett. It may not come as a surprise to learn there is quite a lot of death in this book and this series (What's in a name?). So, you'll need to have a stomach that can handle descriptions on decomposing bodies for the books (this one less than the third book, but just to be on the safe side).



The story in this book I thought was OK, not really special, but it was nice reading. I'm still planning to read more books, like the second book, but I still need to go and find it. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Ondanks een aantal clichés is De geur van sterfelijkheid niet het zoveelste boek over een seriemoordenaar. Het bevat een aantal originele elementen en beschikt over vaart, actie en zelfs een aanstekelijk soort humor. De verkoopcijfers van deze thriller zijn opvallend goed en dat komt bij een debuut niet zo vaak voor. De verklaring voor de populariteit kan voor een deel gevonden worden in de duidelijke interesse van mensen voor het forensische werk van de politie, hetgeen ook is terug te vinden in de televisieseries van CSI. Daarnaast zijn de vele liefhebbers van dit soort boeken al jaren op zoek naar de opvolger van Patricia Cornwell, die het juiste spoor al enkele jaren behoorlijk bijster is. Met De geur van sterfelijkheid bewijst Beckett dat hij een getalenteerde verteller is en dat hij de komende jaren kan uitgroeien tot een bestseller-auteur. Hij is zonder meer een grote belofte voor de toekomst.
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simon Beckettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hesse, AndreeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kraśko, JanTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A human body starts to decompose four minutes after death.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440335957, Mass Market Paperback)

Three years ago, David Hunter moved to rural Norfolk to escape his life in London, his gritty work in forensics, and a tragedy that nearly destroyed him. Working as a simple country doctor, seeing his lost wife and daughter only in his dreams, David struggles to remain uninvolved when the corpse of a woman is found in the woods, a macabre sign from her killer decorating her body. In one horrifying instant, the quiet summer countryside that had been David’s refuge has turned malevolent—and suddenly there is no place to hide.

The village of Manham is tight-knit, far from the beaten path. As a newcomer, Dr. Hunter is immediately a suspect. Once an expert in analyzing human remains, he reluctantly joins the police investigation—and when another woman disappears, it soon becomes personal. Because this time she is someone David knows, someone who has managed to penetrate the icy barrier around his heart. With a killer’s bizarre and twisted methods screaming out to him, with a brooding countryside beset with suspicion, David can feel the darkness gathering around him. For as the clock ticks down on a young woman’s life, David must follow a macabre trail of clues—all the way to its final, horrifying conclusion.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:03 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Finding refuge in a quiet rural backwater, Dr David Hunter hoped he might at last have put the past behind him. But then they found what was left of Sally Palmer. Gruesome and gripping, this startling British crime thriller has an unnerving and original twist.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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