Highly intelligent but socially inept, Colin spends his free time collecting academic qualifications and searching for ways to meet women, until he stumbles upon a new technique that proves both potent and deadly. Police analyst Annabel is shocked when she discovers a decomposing body in the house next door and realises that no one, including herself, noticed her neighbour's absence. At work she finds data showing that such cases are frighteningly common in her own town and sets out to investigate, convinced she is on trail of a killer.
About the Author
Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 thanks to the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son. Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, was the winner of Amazon's Rising Stars and has been translated into 30 languages. Her second novel, Revenge of the Tide, was published in March 2012.
©2013 Elizabeth Haynes (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"It's hard to put the uniqueness of Elizabeth Haynes' writing into words. Her stories grip you by the throat and force you to acknowledge that this is what real crime and real horror look and feel like, as well as real love, hope, fear. Suddenly, much of the other crime fiction you've read seems, in comparison, rather like stories made up by writers. Haynes is the most exciting thing to happen to crime fiction in a long time." (Sophie Hannah)
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The narrative is clever, unexpected and intriguing. The characters are exceptionally well drawn. I don't like to give, or to read, spoilers. Therefore, suffice to say that Colin was quite horrible, but entirely as he should be. I loved Annabelle. I especially liked that it was mentioned that she was overweight and that, although it was hinted at that this negatively effected her self-esteem, she remained fabulous and was never described negatively. Its depressing to note that virtually all other authors (including all my favourites) use any female mentioned as overweight as a scapegoat, even if briefly! The last 'legitimate' prejudice it seems!
I found her narration to be very good indeed. I agree with one reviewer that this book may have benefitted from a man reading the male parts, especially Colin, but Karen did a sterling job. One reviewer said her reading of Colin was unrealistic. I don't agree. He was supposed to be a narcissistic 'odd ball'. I'll resist saying any more about him, but for me, he sounded as he should.
I don't know, but I do think this story would transfer to film really well.
This is a gruesome forensic tale and not for those who's taste is for Miss Marple, but if you don't mind intelligently gruesome, I highly recommend it. This is my first book by Elizabeth Hayes, I look forward to reading her others and suspect she will become one of my favourite authors.
"Way too gory for me"
Nothing really - I just hated the level of description of rotting bodies and substances
Just a bad choice for me.
"For me ....Dull and uninspiring."
This was a story I simply could not get into...it was slow to ignite anything in my imagination and seemed to be more about little stories rather that a bigger picture about remains found in the house next door, I could not bring myself to continue to the end of the book.
Mmmmm, maybe part of the reason I could not get on with this story was the way it was read...
It would be difficult to suggest cutting scenes as there appeared to be too many, it would be better to suggest that the story should not have drifted so much..?
"Makes you think about your neighbours"
It took me a third of the way into the book to put everything where it should be. It flips between characters so you will need to concentrate at first but once sorted it carry's you along desperate to make sure it is not too late
DNF at 30%, which is a little over four hours in. I could not do the other 9, no way.
This audiobook was awful. Truly awful.
Before I bought it, I listened to the sample. The sample was great; a British narrator with a pleasant voice who I felt really brought the character to life. I enjoyed the humour in the writing even in the five minute sample. And Human Remains was quite pleasant to listen to. For the first chapter. Only. Which is only thirteen minutes long.
In the second chapter, Karen Cass narrates a new character, Colin. Now, you are supposed to hate Colin. He's not a character you're supposed to feel comfortable listening to. But Karen's voice for Colin actually made me feel sick. My jaw aches from grinding my teeth upon hearing THAT voice again and again every alternate chapter. The voice (and not even the character) is the most annoying, pretentious, condescending thing I've ever heard. You know that person everyone hates, who you just want to punch, with THAT voice? Yeah. That's the voice for Collin.
And this just affected my whole enjoyment (or lack of) as it turns out Karen Cass's different voices aren't really different at all.
I'm sure the story itself was actually OK. In fact, I think it was pretty good. There was an underlying and pretty scary message to what I read - what if no one realised you were dead? What if your neighbours didn't even realise you were gone or that something was wrong until the smell of your decomposing corpse hit their noses weeks or even months later?
"Different.....dark and compelling"
This was my first encounter with Elizabeth Haynes and I know that it will not be my last. Most of the book was listened to on a sun-lounger in Italy but my idyllic surroundings faded completely as I was caught up into the dark world of the novel. I had no problem with the structure (criticised by others) once I had adjusted to the format, and found Annabelle to be a sympathetic character about whom I cared.
I disagree with much of the criticism of the narrator's voice. I felt that Karen Cass generally produced a good contrast between the female and male voices, there was variety in her delivery and she certainly captured the intensity and the cold, unnerving quality of Colin in his lack of empathy and understanding. My criticism - such as it was - lay more in the repetitious nature of the narrative as Colin engaged with each of his victims. His words, his thoughts, his responses became rather 'samey' and at times I felt "Oh, not again!" A different approach with different victims would have helped to sustain reader interest. But overall, I found the book compelling and the workings of the mind of this disturbed man were entirely plausible. I particularly enjoyed his rationalizing of the situation once he had been arrested and found myself wondering whether it would actually be possible to convict him of murder. It provided an interesting and different perspective.
Elizabeth Haynes (and Karen Cass) built the tension most effectively and I certainly wanted to keep listening. I look forward now to exploring Elizabeth's other novels. If they are as good as "Human Remains", I shall thoroughly enjoy them.
"Rather unrealistic but fairly engaging"
I think she's a good writer and the plot looked at interesting themes of isolation and loneliness but the ending was a little ridiculous and the audiobook performance was poor.
"Not what I expected!"
It was a very interesting book exploring some very difficult topics. Should we be more interested in our neighbours? Is it acceptable to 'help' someone to end their own life? Difficult topics, and a little dark in places.
"Better listened to than read - that's what I think"
I had already bought this book at a reduced price in e-book form for my Amazon Kindle when I spotted it on the Audible website.
I tend to buy biographies and autobiographies and other nonfiction on Audible but with my monthly credit I have sometimes bought the more expensive fiction - especially when there is three books making up a trilogy by buying one book a month with my credits.
This then is not as expensive as some fictional audio books I have bought.
I don't want to spoil the plot of this book for other readers so not too much here about the story's plot.
The narrator (female) takes the parts of both male and female characters.
The main character is a female crime analyst working with percentages more than criminals or people. She notices a rise in the number bodies being found usually in domestic circumstances where there is no crime suspected. She informs her superiors but no one seems to realise what she is saying. The deceased are not all elderly people.
One night she goes home and her cat decides it wants to go out. It does not come back right away and as she wants to go to bed she goes out to find it. She follows it into the garden next door and notices flies on the window. She knocks on the glass of the door and somehow the glass breaks. She goes in the house and discovers a body. The lady neighbour seems to have sat in her chair and died.
Our narrator goes on to become in their turn, civilian colleagues, police colleagues, friends and acquaintances and others.
These people of course converse with each other too which is where the audio aspect of the book aided my enjoyment of the mystery as it is not always the main character who is speaking.
The person responsible is an acquaintance of an acquaintance who is befriending the lonely and the depressed.
I am going to stop here as I don't want to reveal any more to spoil the story for others.
This book is definitely not for young teens or those of a very squeamish nature and I have to say that I enjoyed it.
"A really nasty story"
This is a very unpleasant story about a very nasty man. I wish I hadn't listened to it.
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