My guest reviewer today is Anne Steinke. Anne inspired me to read when I was young and has a breath of knowledge in a variety of genres. She especially enjoys dark mysteries and spy novels.
This psychological thriller by Elizabeth Haynes is definitely not for the “faint hearted”. Although it is a work of fiction, it will hit close to home for many readers.
Annabel and Colin are the main characters, although personal glimpses of some of the “victims” are also included.
Annabel, a police analyst in today’s Britain, discovers the aromatic, decomposing body of a neighbor, a woman she thought had moved almost a year ago. Although foul play was not suspected, further research on her part reveals a higher incidence than normal of this type of death in her local area. Because of her inability to develop close friends, she develops a strong interest in the “how’s and why’s” of these events.
Colin, a city worker, has problems with normal relationships with other people, especially women. This was probably because of his dysfunctional childhood. In fact, after one sexual encounter, Colin states that she looked sad. “There was nothing wrong with her other than compliance. She was irrepressibly, resolutely alive. And that was without doubt a disappointment.” Colin does have an affinity to studying his subjects (or victims) long after their death and decomposition. (Although the author does give the reader an in-depth description of Colin’s sexual habits, she doesn’t mention the fact that his right hand should be made up of one big callous.)
Although this novel is a work of fiction, it delves into the social issue of keeping in touch with our neighbors and acquaintances, especially after a traumatic event has occurred in their lives. Sometimes just a kind word or act can make a difference in someone’s life.
Although very dark and disturbing, this novel was very well written. Character development was extensive, even though the author sometimes went deeper than would be comfortable for some readers. If you can get past that part, it will keep you reading to learn the ending of this gripping book.
Four stars out of five.
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In accordance with FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge. I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review. All they expect is an honest review of the work.