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Human Remains | [Elizabeth Haynes]

Human Remains

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (77 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.5 (60 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (61 )
5 star
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4 star
 (14)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Lisa 02-16-13
    Lisa 02-16-13

    I have always loved to read. Discovering audible has been great for a multitasker! Sorry for any misspells on reviews!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disturbingly Sad"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Human Remains to be better than the print version?

    I have no preference, but the narrator did such an excellent job the audio version may be preferable


    What other book might you compare Human Remains to and why?

    I cant think of another to compare


    What about Karen Cass’s performance did you like?

    I love her voice and accent, the narration was animated but not overbearing


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes especially towards the end


    Any additional comments?

    The book was full of suspense and entertaining but also very depressing. It brings to light how lonely and hopeless people can be and how overlooked by a society of busy,multitasking and indifferent people we have become. Do you know your neighbors?
    My overall feeling after the book is sadness.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 03-01-13
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "For Criminal Minds fans"

    I grabbed up this title as soon as I saw it available because I had really enjoyed "Into the Darkest Corner" by the same author and narrator. I did like this story very much but was disappointed in Karen Cass's reading this time. Her voicing of Annabelle, Sam and some of the side characters was fine, but I think her interpretation of Collin, the villian (that's not a spoiler) I think was too loud and strident for one that I thought should have been voiced more pensively furtive. Also, some of the supporting female characters came across too perky - almost ditzy, and that was also a distaction. A more subtle touch would have been more appropriate. Perhaps just a matter of taste, but for me it downgraded the enjoyment of the listen.

    As for the story - very creepy, almost squeamishly so in some places. But it does build suspense and Annabelle is someone to root for. Quite a bit of time is spent setting up the plot, and some advice to readers who struggle with stories that switch narrators frequently - listen to the names that are annonced at the change of a chapter: That is who is speaking, telling their own stories. It may be a bit confusing in the beginning, but you'll catch the pattern within the first hour. I found the last hour exciting and satisfying. Wraps up leaving some questions to contemplate about social ethics and legal justice. Did not find it depressing, would not relegate it to a Lifetime Movie. More of the style of Criminal Minds.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Albert Manchester, NH, United States 02-26-13
    Albert Manchester, NH, United States 02-26-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Should be a Life TIme Movie"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would make it into a Lifetime Movie, then you could change the channel and watch something better. It's OK, but not all that gripping.....you sort of have to wade through it.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The newspaper reporter with a conscience.


    Did Karen Cass do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Not to bad. She has a pleasant voice, and her English accent is interesting, but she has a hard time with male voices. Still she did a good job with what she had to work with.


    Do you think Human Remains needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, I think the author needs to move on to other endeavors.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dottie B. Washington DC 04-12-13
    Dottie B. Washington DC 04-12-13 Member Since 2006

    Dotdumdum

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A bit far fetched, and another passive protagonist"

    I enjoyed this author's first book, Into the Darkest Corner, and thought I would give this book a try. This book just did not cut it for me. The plot was far-fetched and the main character was too passive for my taste.
    The narrator was perfectly good at reading this book. But If you are grossed out by icky biological happenings, don't listen to this book. And if you are someone who needs the plot to be mostly believable, don't bother listening to this book either.
    Without giving spoilers, the book involves many decomposing bodies, and two main unappealing characters whose heads we have to be in for the entirety of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 03-04-13
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2006

    Addicted to Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1157
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    330
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    "Eleanor Rigby meets Dr. Kevorkian"

    "all the lonely people, where do they all come from"..... I kept thinking of the lines of the Beatles song while listening to this book. This book was very sad and gets into the mind of a very sick person, not for those with a weak stomach. Despite the grisly details, what stands out for me in this book is just how lonely people are in this modern world and how easy it is to give up the will to exist in such an isolated state. Definately thought provoking and disturbing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Shelby, NC, United States 03-16-13
    Janet Shelby, NC, United States 03-16-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Did not finish listening"
    Would you try another book from Elizabeth Haynes and/or Karen Cass?

    I found the writing crass and confusing jumping around to different people. I would probably not try another one of these books.


    Has Human Remains turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No possibly the writer does better at other times.


    Have you listened to any of Karen Cass’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I loved the narrators job, her accent and intonations were great!


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment and disgust at all the "wanking" and other such terms found in the book.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • Chris W
    Kent, UK
    5/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way too gory for me"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing really - I just hated the level of description of rotting bodies and substances


    Would you ever listen to anything by Elizabeth Haynes again?

    Probably not


    Any additional comments?

    Just a bad choice for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • William Stewart
    Neston, United Kingdom
    1/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "For me ....Dull and uninspiring."
    What disappointed you about Human Remains?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Elizabeth Haynes again?

    Possibly


    Would you be willing to try another one of Karen Cass’s performances?

    Mmmmm, maybe part of the reason I could not get on with this story was the way it was read...


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Human Remains?

    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..?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Barlaston, United Kingdom
    11/20/13
    Overall
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    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Corazie
    UK
    11/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Condescending Narration"

    DNF at 30%, which is a little over four hours in. I could not do the other 9, no way.

    AUDIOBOOK.

    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?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Gloucester, United Kingdom
    8/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Donna
    London, United Kingdom
    7/16/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rather unrealistic but fairly engaging"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Holly
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    7/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • K. A. Newton
    North West England
    6/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marjorie
    SOUTHWELL, United Kingdom
    6/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A really nasty story"

    This is a very unpleasant story about a very nasty man. I wish I hadn't listened to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jan
    BOGNOR REGIS, United Kingdom
    5/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unpleasant"

    Maybe I didn't read the blurb correctly, but I found this book to be deeply unpleasant and badly narrated.
    Jan

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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