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The Chemistry of Death

I'm wondering what do you think about The Chemistry of Death book:,,1728777,00.html

Maggots, beetles and grave wax are bread and butter to a very distinctive kind of detective in Simon Beckett's fifth novel, a murder mystery set in an isolated community on the Norfolk Broads. As far as the people of Manham are concerned when he settles in their village, David Hunter, the novel's narrator, is a humble GP tired of London life. It's only when two boys stumble across a decomposing corpse in the nearby forest that their new doctor's macabre speciality comes to light.

Assisting the police in their investigations, Hunter struggles to conceal his professional interest in the corpse, but it soon transpires that he is the country's pre-eminent forensic anthropologist. Even the crime scene investigators are baffled by this esoteric occupation, which Simon Beckett, as well as his protagonist, studied for a time at the charmingly named Body Farm, a real-life training centre in Tennessee. Fluent in the language of decomposition, Hunter can read in a rotting body signs that will determine crucial factors such as time since death. But following the car crash that claimed the lives of his wife and daughter, Hunter was unable to maintain the cold, scientific gaze of his profession. Now, he must adopt it once again to help prevent the killer from claiming another victim.

The irony that haunts David Hunter is the best thing about Beckett's novel. So well versed in the minutiae of death, he cannot come to terms with its most fundamental mystery: what becomes of the life that is taken away? As a whodunit, this is certainly a cut above the average, with a convincing central character, a gripping plot and a fine store of morbid information. In contrast to the story's original angle, however, the crimes themselves seem a little bit hackneyed.

When the bizarrely mutilated and long-dead body of a young woman is found in a ditch in Manham, an isolated and insular village in the Norfolk marshlands, it isn't just the fact that she had been a friend that disturbs Dr David Hunter. He was once a high-profile forensic anthropologist and all too familiar with the different faces of death, until a devastating personal tragedy made him turn his back on his former life and career. Now hidden away as a country doctor, Hunter's past is a secret he hopes will remain buried. So when he's asked by the police to use his arcane skills to help track down the killer, he's reluctant to become involved, knowing this will only stir up the painful memories he's been trying so hard to forget. Then another young woman disappears, and Manham is plunged into a fog of fear and paranoia that threatens to tear it apart. And no one seems exempt from suspicion as the twisted killings continue. And as the once peaceful community is riven by fear and mistrust, David Hunter realises it will take all his knowledge and expertise if the killer is to be stopped.

But not even he is prepared for the terrible cost that will exact - or the awful price that failure threatens to bring.

IMO book's amazing. I've read it in few hours,with half-hour stop for snack Wink
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