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Publisher's Summary

Professor Theo Cray is trained to see patterns where others see chaos. So when mutilated bodies found deep in the Montana woods leave the cops searching blindly for clues, Theo sees something they missed. Something unnatural. Something only he can stop.

As a computational biologist, Theo is more familiar with digital code and microbes than the dark arts of forensic sleuthing. But a field trip to Montana suddenly lands him in the middle of an investigation into the bloody killing of one of his former students. As more details, and bodies, come to light, the local cops determine that the killer is either a grizzly gone rogue...or Theo himself. Racing to stay one step ahead of the police, Theo must use his scientific acumen to uncover the killer. Will he be able to become as cunning as the predator he hunts - before he becomes its prey?

©2017 Andrew Mayne (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    490
  • 2 Stars
    158
  • 1 Stars
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    353
  • 2 Stars
    103
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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 1 Stars
    99
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic! I loved this book!!

When a young woman is killed by a bear while on a camping trip with her boyfriend Professor Theo Cray gets involved. The woman had once been a student of his. Theo is not convinced that it was an animal, he's positive that a man did this. A man killing like an animal would kill.

In an attempt to prove his theory he begins to look for other animal killings that have gone unsolved. When he locates the body of a woman previously assumed missing, he becomes the prime suspect until the police determine that it was another animal killing.

Cray is now driven to find more. With the help of a sophisticated computer program and his biological background he discovers more. Upon meeting an anthropologist with information dating back to the 1980's of an attack by maybe a mountain lion, maybe a man dressed up like a mountain lion. Cray now thinks he's found this murderers beginnings.
This book starts out a little slow as you get background info, it increasingly speeds up until it like a roller coaster and by the end... forget it! This is a downward spiral with nail biting, stomach twisting suspense! I absolutely love books like this and listened to it in one day.

Will Damron does a fantastic job narrating. I don't think anyone could possibly do any better.

This book has my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!!
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

288 of 305 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • 82hp
  • SPRINGVILLE, UT, United States
  • 08-09-18

A bit of a Mess

Dr. Theo Cray is a scientist (specifically a computational biologist) who is in the field doing research when he is brought in for questioning by small town police for the murder of a young woman. They conclude she was killed by a bear, but he realizes she was murdered. No one else can see the clues as he does, in fact no one believes a killer even exists.
The clues takes him on a ride all over the Montana wilderness looking for similar murder victims as he tries to track down the killer.

The book does the bare minimum to keep your interest. Not a page turner by any stretch, but not so boring I turned it off. That might be all that I can say good about it as there are several things wrong with this book.

First, it is written in the first person present tense. Why?!?! This is the single most awkward tense for a novel. I almost stopped the book in the first 2 minutes. Maybe I should have.

An even worse offense is the main character. He is supposedly socially awkward and unable to make normal human connections (one small step above a sociopath) yet he routinely makes accurate predictions about what people are feeling and how they'll act. At one point he correctly guesses (with virtually no clues) what horrible crimes a certain person committed in the past AND how they will react when confronted with the truth. The author changes Theo Cray's personality any time the scene requires it. And, because it is written in first person, Dr. Cray must be a walking encyclopedia. We only know what he knows and when the plot needs to move forward he knows EVERYTHING. Alternatively, when the plot needs to slow down he doesn't know anything.

And be warned, of the several law enforcement officials in this novel there is one who is only partially stupid. The rest are completely stupid. They have to be dumb so Theo Cray can look smart.

The best thrillers introduce the villain at some point early on and then it is one of two types of books: you either have to guess which character did it, or they tell you and the fun is trying to figure out how the hero will stop them. Suspense comes from wondering if the killer knows the hero is on to them and what they'll do to stop him. I won't spoil the book too much, I'll just say this - don't bother trying to guess who the killer is in this book. Looking back it really doesn't matter, Theo Cray will make ridiculous intuitive leaps when necessary and figure it out when the book needs to end.

The problem with this book is it is trying to set up a Sherlock Holmes - the one person who can see the clues for what they are and solve the cases no one else can. Unfortunately the hero is uninteresting and uneven, the clues would be obvious to anyone with a pulse, and there is no Dr. Watson. There certainly isn't a Moriarty.

Rated "R" for language (very prevalent).

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 10-31-17

Very creative plot!

The Naturalist features brilliant but not fully socially acclimated University of Texas computational biology professor Theo Cray is the unlikely protagonist. While in Montana for a summer field trip he learns that one of his former star students, now a PhD, has just been killed apparently by a grizzly bear. He believes it is murder by a human who used sharpened metal claws to simulate bear claws. A few miles away he finds the buried body of another woman who has been missing for months. Again it looks like a bear's work to everyone except Cray. Using the scientific tools he finds several other bodies in forest graves apparently killed by animals. He is not buying the animal killer theory believing instead that all were killed by a man over a long period. From there the story gets really interesting and wild. His life is at risk as are two of the friends he has made.

The plot of this suspense mystery is easily among the most interesting and creative I have read. Author Andrew Mayne is a professional magician and a top selling independently published novelist. Looking Glass, Book 2 in The Naturalist series, is scheduled for release on March 13, 2018. I look forward to the release. Will Damron's narration is superb.

Following Audible Listener Shelley has again led me to a wonderful suspense mystery. If you enjoy the mystery/thriller genre and are not following her, you should.

99 of 109 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Michael Creighton meets The Gray Man!

Hard to stop listening... incredible story and performance! Dr. Theo has a long runway and many interesting adventures ahead.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow,Wow,Wow! Read or listen to this one. It’s great.

Exciting, interesting, well written., With a great story line. The narration is spot on. It as been awhile since I’ve found a book I couldn’t wait to get back to. You won’t waste a credit on this one. I’ve already downloaded the second in series and hoping it is as good as this one. I’m telling all my friends to get this book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Too far fetched

I am still trying to figure out why this book received so many rave reviews. It is the most un-plausible mystery book I have read in years. With crime fiction like this you often need some semblance of believability, which this had very little of. There are a lot of narrative gaps as well as repeated details. Needs another run through with the editor. My two star review mainly stems from a very good audible reader paired with an interesting premise. Plus it was easy to fly through this read.

92 of 109 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 11-03-17

Different Sort Of Thriller

Entertaining. Couldn't put it down. The science seemed rather dubious, but I just went with it. I would agree about some of the other more critical reviews about loose ends (what happened to Gus? did I miss that part?). And Professor Cray should have encountered at least a few dead ends--seemed like everything he did was spot on every time. But overall, it was an enjoyable book. I can't wait for the next one.

Will Damron was outstanding with the delivery of the story

63 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An Intense Thriller

I found myself unable to put down this thriller focused on a "science nerd" biologist who works to hunt down a serial killer in the wilds of Montana. I found the story to be both engaging and terrifying and will probably listen to book two in the series to see how things resolve. I agree that the story requires a strong degree of suspension of disbelief--but many blockbuster type movies require this as well, without diminishing the experience. Do be aware that the book contains graphic violence and the occasional discussion of real life serial killers--both of which can be very disturbing. My best advice is to proceed with caution and that this title might not be for the faint of heart listener.

33 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

clever premise but fails to live up to promise

I listened to the sample of this audio book before buying, and it engaged me right away, with the promise of a very different take to solving crime. But unfortunately, that excellent opener devolved into poor dialog and unbelievably immature characters. I just could not keep listening. too bad

42 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Started Out Great and Went Downhill

I was looking for the next great mystery and was hoping this might be it. I liked the premise of a killer who disguised his actions as those of a grizzly bear - thus leading authorities to assume that the victims were killed by a bear and not a person. The hero is a professor who sees the anomalies that point towards a human killer but the authorities don’t believe him. As I first started listening I was totally hooked and thought this would be a five star listen. As the hero’s actions became less believable I downgraded my opinions to four stars - and then about two thirds of the way through the hero just seemed to be falling apart. I no longer found his actions credible and it was hard to listen to his rationale for one stupid decision after another. I’m not a fan of stories where you know the hero is stepping into a trap because it’s so obvious it should be obvious to the hero too. I skipped several chapters towards the end just to find out the conclusion but I was tired of the premise that only one person was smart enough to realize what was going on and all the law enforcement personnel were idiots. Ultimately I rated this a three - it could have been a lot better.

46 of 56 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colette
  • 10-21-17

Great listen

I loved everything about this book. It had me gripped from the start and I genuinely didn’t want it to end. I enjoy Jack Reacher/John Milton characters but this nerdy bioinformatics professor is right up there with them. I loved his unusual thought processes and felt his frustration when others didn’t make the mental leaps that he did. Can’t wait for Book 2.

A brilliant narrator enhanced the pleasure.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr John H
  • 05-12-18

Gripping and intelligent mystery

This first time novel from Andrew Mayne has all of the elements of a gripping mystery suspense story. The listener is captivated from the first paragraph and the author does not let go until the last word. What is really surprising is that it is intelligent and scientifically accurate, the author having clearly done his research to ensure that the details are correct.

I was captivates by the story and writing and cannot wait to listen to his second in the series.