Book Review: The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett

Three years ago, forensics expert David Hunter abandoned his old life after a tragedy nearly destroyed him. Now working as a doctor in a remote Norfolk village, he believes he's left his past behind...
But then they find what's left of Sally Palmer. The body has been savagely mutilated. The police need Hunter's expertise to find the killer but he is desperate to remain uninvolved. Then a second woman disappears and the close-knit community that had been Hunter's refuge becomes a maelstrom of fear and paranoia. No-one is exempt from suspicion. Suddenly there is no place to hide.
This is the last book that I have read for The Great Transworld Crime Caper and it is definitely my favourite of the three.
David Hunter moves to the small town of Manham, he quickly discovers that unless you were born there then you will always be considered an outsider. He doesn't mind too much and tries to get on with his new life as the village GP. But then Sally Palmer's body is found, she too was an outsider but the village goes into shock. Before moving to Manham, David was a forensic anthropologist, when the police find out, they call on him to help with the case as they are at a complete loss. He is very reluctant to help but knows that he has a duty to do so. The villagers don't see it that way though and their suspicions about Dr Hunter are raised. When a second woman from the village disappears, David and the police know that they have a serial killer on the loose, one that could be living among them.
Simon Beckett really captured the small village atmosphere. When the villagers join together, it begins to feel like a witch hunt with no escape and this really adds to the overall tension in the book.
I thought that the forensic anthropology aspect of the book was fascinating and it was clear that the author had done their research. It was really interesting to see how the tiniest elements of a crime scene can yield enormous clues that the killer wouldn't even be aware of.
The author is extremely good at leading you down one path, letting you think that you have worked it all out and then yanking you back down a different path. I loved this about the book as I was kept guessing right until the very end.
I have really enjoyed The Great Transworld Crime Caper and I would like to thank Lynsey for organising it and introducing me to three fantastic authors.


Nikki - Notes of Life said...

I loved this book too and have since read Written In Bone, Whispers of the Dead and The Calling of the Grave. I'd definitely recommend them all!

I read The Chemistry of Death as my 3rd book in the Great Transworld Crime Caper and I'm so glad I did, because I'm not quite a fan of Simon Beckett's!

Anonymous said...

I liked this book as well.

Would like to read more eventually.

Hope Transworld do another of these challenges.

The Book Whisperer said...

I have read my first 2 of the 3 in the crime capers and LOVED them both (Sacrifice and The Surgeon) and as a result have found 2 authors previously unread that are now favourite authors!

I love the sound of this one too - why didn't I pick this one? Grrr. One for the library then - it sounds great!

Dot said...

Thanks ladies- I think The Great Transworld Crime Caper was a great idea, I hope that they do it again!

All change here!

I have made the decision to stop doing written reviews on here for a little while. I shall keep this page open but for the time being I sha...