Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes

Morning, all! Today I'm on the TLC book tour for Elizabeth Haynes's latest, Human Remains.

One evening Annabel notices a strange smell coming from her neighbor's house. She knows the house in question has been empty for quite a while but on this particular night, with the scent of something rancid emanating from the inside, Annabel can see that there is a light on. She knocks but no one answers. She knocks again and a pane glass shatters out of the already broken door. So Annabel lets herself in. Then she finds the origin of the smell: a very dead and very bloated corpse sitting in the living room. This discovery sets Annabel on an interesting path. As an analyst for the local police force, she has access to all kinds of crime stats and information. And though the body next door was deemed to be death by natural causes, Annabel wonders how many others might be festering away behind closed doors. People no one notices are even gone. She discovers that there are quite a few - in fact, a sharp rise in exactly this kind of case in her area compared to previous years. No one but Annabel has noticed because none of the deaths are actually crimes. Is it simply a sign of the sad current state of society or something more?

Holy creeptastic craziness, book fans! Three reads in from Haynes and each one as different from the other as can be. The two things all of Haynes's books have in common are: 1. they're freaking amazing and 2. they're creepy as hell!

Human Remains probably unsettled me more than either of Haynes's previous novels. Every once in a while, a story like this does make the news - I instantly remembered this story from 2011. It's sad and it's scary to imagine that someone could go completely unnoticed. But when you add the extra crime element that Haynes has created here, it becomes even more disturbing altogether.

The build in the book is interesting. It's not apparent at the outset who the bad guy is, what their motives may be, or even how they're doing what they're doing. The narrative shifts between Annabel, a city worker named Colin, and the newly discovered dead themselves - each headed up by an obit and then sharing their story with the reader. Even they don't reveal the truth about their own deaths. And then about halfway through the book, Haynes throws Annabel and the reader for a loop. It was definitely set up but it was still the kind of twist that I really didn't expect, especially at that point in the story.

Human Remains is a twisted but deliciously intense thriller, one that stands out thanks to being so completely unlike anything else I've read. If you're one of the few who has yet to read Into the Darkest Corner, Dark Tide, or now Human Remains, I highly, highly suggest remedying that very soon.

Rating: 5/5

To see more stops on the tour, check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Haynes and her work, check out her website here. You can also like her onFacebook and follow her on Twitter.


Lori's Reading Corner said...

This was sooooooooooo creepy, but sooooooo good!

IYamVixen2 said...

Schnikees!! This is going on the WWBL!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Yeah, this one definitely creeped me out the most! So excited the author is coming to my local indie bookstore next month!

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'll be sure not to start reading this one when I'm home alone at night, that's for sure!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.