The Chemistry of Death – Simon Beckett

Young doctor comes to a village on the Norfolk Broads, when the local doctor is injured in a car accident which killed his wife. The young doctor, David Hunter is treated as an outsider despite being in the village for more than 3 years. His past still holds him back but time begins to heal when he meets local school teacher, Jenny and a relationship starts.

The village is small and contained, nothing much to write home about a local pub, The Lamb and a church where a very pious Reverend Scarsdale holds court to an empty congregation.  A village where you think nothing happens…… until a body is found.

The body is of a young woman, found in the marshes where there is very little of the body to establish initially who it is and David Hunter’s past comes back to haunt him as he was an expert in forensic anthropology, for the uninformed as I was, the title of this first book in which became a series ‘The Chemistry of Death’. How the body decomposes, breaks down, what happens to different parts of it and how you can tell certain things by the chemistry of this breakdown and also the flies and the insects which feed off this death. I warn you if you are of a very delicate disposition then this book might be a bit gruesome for you. But from that comes a fascinating insight into another way of finding a killer. When another local woman goes missing, the race is on to find out exactly what is going on and David Hunter gets more involved than he wants to be when his new relationship is threatened.

Simon Beckett, an author I have never come across before but am so glad I did weaves a very cleverly plot and although it did take me time to be convinced by David Hunter once I was I was hooked. It was a long journey where I felt I was hurtling head on to find the killer when suddenly the brakes were applied and a complete u turn was taken and I went hurtling on towards something else. The book drew me in and there was no way I could guess who it was and that made the book the book even more enticing.

If you like your crime books and perhaps bored of having the detective as the protagonist then this could be the book for you. Enjoy finding out for yourself! While I move onto the next book in the series.

This is the third and final book I chose in the Transworld Crime Caper. And like when you see the 3 for 2 offers in bookshops, it is always the third book which you unsure what to choose therefore I went out on a limb to pick this one. I admit to being unsure about it when I started but it got me in the end and I was hooked! A thriller without the detective being the main character (as I say in my review above). It reminded me somewhat of Silent Witness, in the fact that the pathologist becomes very involved in the cases. I always think it is somewhat unbelievable but maybe it is not that far from the truth. It was a bit gruesome, more than I would normally have chosen to read but it was all relevant and not there to merely ‘sex’ the  book up which makes it more believable and realistic, especially when you are dealing with the characters emotions.

I was in two minds on whether I wanted to read subsequent books featuring David Hunter, but once the pace picked up I am definitely interested in reading the next one in the series Written in Bone, which Nikki-Ann has just recently reviewed on her blog as she has discovered the talent of Simon Beckett.