Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes

How well do you know your neighbours? Would you notice if they lived or died?
Police analyst Annabel wouldn’t describe herself as lonely. Her work keeps her busy and the needs of her ageing mother and her cat are more than enough to fill her time when she’s on her own. But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbour’s decomposing body in the house next door, and appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed her absence.

Back at work she sets out to investigate, despite her police officer colleagues’ lack of interest, and finds data showing that such cases are frighteningly common in her own home town.

I downloaded this onto my Kindle a while a go when it was on sale for just £1 in the Kindle store. I’m a bit of a fan of crime/mystery drama and a watched a TV drama with a similar premise a couple of years ago so I couldn’t resist.

The story is narrated from the points of view of Annabel, a lonely police analyst; Colin, a highly intelligent man who struggles to fit in; and several of the dead people whose bodies are found.


It becomes clear fairly soon in the story that Colin is behind the startling rise in the number of decomposed bodies being found, however, it is unclear how he is manipulating people so that they shut themselves away and die without anyone noticing. The passages narrated by Colin are extremely disturbing, and at times I found them quite difficult to read. However, this did add to the general creepiness of the story.


Overall I thought this was quite a good crime novel, and very different to most. Despite this I wouldn’t say that it kept me gripped throughout, but it was certainly worth the £1 I spent on it!


‘You never realise what loneliness is until it creeps up on you – like a disease, it is, something that happens to you gradually.’


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