Human Remains

Human Remains

3.9 12
by Elizabeth Haynes

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New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes returns with a disturbing and powerful tale that preys on our darkest fears.

Police analyst Annabel wouldn't describe herself as lonely. Her work and the needs of her aging mother keep her busy. But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbor's decomposing body in the house next door, and

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New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes returns with a disturbing and powerful tale that preys on our darkest fears.

Police analyst Annabel wouldn't describe herself as lonely. Her work and the needs of her aging mother keep her busy. But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbor's decomposing body in the house next door, and she is appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed the woman's absence. Annabel sets out to investigate, despite her colleagues' lack of interest, and discovers that such cases are frighteningly common in her hometown.

A chilling thriller and a hymn to all the lonely people whose individual voices haunt its pages, Human Remains shows how vulnerable we are when we live alone, and how easily ordinary lives can fall apart when no one is watching.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author Haynes’s third crime novel effectively explores the dark corners of the human psyche. Soon after Annabel Hayer, a civilian crime analyst for the Briarstone police, discovers a neighbor’s moldering body, she realizes that an astounding 24 such bodies have been discovered in Briarstone borough during the first nine months of 2012. The authorities didn’t bother to investigate in a number of cases because the deaths weren’t considered suspicious. Meanwhile, psychopath Colin Friedland preys on individuals who are ready to give up on life. Hayer, who manages to get senior officials to take the deaths seriously, is in danger of becoming another of Friedland’s victims. Haynes (Into the Darkest Corner) does a good job detailing the multitude of painful circumstances that make people susceptible to Friedland’s manipulations, as the contest between Hayer and Friedland plays out in surprising fashion. Agent: Adrian Weston, Adrian Weston Literary Agency. (Sept.)
“[The] most ambitious—as well as the best—of Elizabeth Haynes’s suspense novels to date....Haynes keeps things rolling toward a frightening conclusion—you wont be able to read the last 50 pages or so quickly enough—and a satisfying ending....A smart, engrossing mystery.”
“Fast paced, riveting, and intense.”
Suspense Magazine
Human Remains is a compelling and disturbing novel, character driven but with some edge-of-your-seat suspense as well…dark, engaging, and richly human, this is a highly recommended and well-written novel.”
Daily Candy
“This smart, psychological thriller by Elizabeth Haynes taps into our deepest fears of being alone and vulnerable.”
“Haynes is a master at building tension to unbearable heights....The only breaks you’re likely to take while reading will be to triple-check the locks on your doors and windows.”
SJ Watson on Into the Darkest Corner
“This intense, gripping account of domestic violence and its aftermath is utterly unputdownable. A stunning debut.”
Kirkus Reviews
British suspense novelist Haynes' latest asks the question: How well do we know our neighbors? Initially, this book appears to be a routine murder mystery, but it evolves into a provocative examination of a controversial issue: the right to die. The story begins when Annabel, a police analyst, follows a strong odor into the home of her neighbor, who she thought had moved out long ago, only to come upon a horrific discovery: the woman's decomposed body. She is aware that a number of dead bodies have been discovered in her part of town, so she analyzes the data and concludes that there has been a radical spike in these numbers. She believes an investigation is in order, even though all signs indicate that the victims died of natural causes. The ensuing story is told from the points of view of Annabel, who feels unappreciated at work, and Colin, who perceives himself to be a liberator of people whose lives have become empty of all but misery. Interspersed are chapters that juxtapose newspaper articles about the discovered bodies with the voices of the deceased, articulating why they wanted to end it all. An artfully woven tapestry of stories that delves into what familial disapproval, social rejection, infidelity, abandonment, loneliness and lack of self-esteem can do to people.
Library Journal
In New York Times best-selling author Haynes's third title, police analyst Annabel discovers the decomposing body of the neighbor next door and is shocked to realize that neither she nor the other neighbors had noticed the woman's absence. Soon she realizes that similar incidents have occurred frequently in her town. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

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Human Remains 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 12 reviews.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I discovered Elizabeth Haynes last year when I devoured her debut thriller Into the Darkest Corner. Her latest book, Human Remains, is even better. "I should have turned away from the door. I should have gone back into my own house, and locked my door, and thought no more about it....I thought about going back to my kitchen and phoning the police. Looking back, that was exactly what I should have done." Two sentences from the opening chapter guaranteed to hook you right from the beginning. Human Remains is told in alternating chapters from the viewpoint of Annabel and Colin. Annabel works as a civilian police analyst for the Briarstone (England) Police Department, tracking patterns in criminal behaviour. When she discovers a badly decomposed body in her own neighbourhood with no sign of foul play she's curious and runs a report looking for other people who have died with no one noticing. And what she discovers makes her take notice - the current year has four times as many as the past years. And those are the reported ones. Colin, well, Colin is the one they're after. For those decomposing bodies hold a fascination for Colin. As his studies have progressed, Colin has begun helping things along. Oh boy, Colin is a seriously creepy and disturbed individual. His inner dialogue is downright frightening. Haynes has done a bang-up job creating her 'villain' this time around. I love the back and forth style. Although we know who the 'criminal' is, the tension ratchets up as his behaviour escalates. (But why did I italicize criminal you ask? The question arises - is Colin doing anything that he can be charged with? I know, but you have to read the book to see what a diabolical plot Haynes has come up with. Annabel's chapters are just as suspenseful. Will the higher ups in the department listen to her? And when Colin and Annabel's paths cross...... There is a third set of narratives - that of the deceased. I found these to be the pages I stopped at to think. Haynes gives a voice to her deceased and the questions that the living ask when such a discovery is made. How does a body go undiscovered for years? Why did no one notice? "You never realize what loneliness is until it creeps up on you - like a disease it is, something that happens to you gradually. I realized it had been years and years since anyone made eye contact with me. If people stop looking at you, do you cease to exist? Does it mean you're not a person anymore? Does it mean you're already dead?" Their stories just really made me think. The library I work at does serve some marginalized patrons. I've often thought that for some, we may be the only point of contact some days. In real life, there are many deaths that go unnoticed. One of the most reported 'undiscovered body stories' is that of Joyce Vincent in England. This is an excellent thriller - dark and disturbing. (Fair warning to gentle readers it's probably not for you). It was a five star page turner for me - devoured in one lazy vacation day. (And hey - say hi to your neighbour today...)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the first 2 novels, have no idea what happened was so disjointed, sad and convoluted that I do not intend to finish it
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings There are many reasons why a person could start feeling very lonely and start to avoid social interactions, but this book took these feelings and amplified them with a predator and a prey.  With an interesting twist by allowing the reader to read through the mind of the "killer", this book was set on a different level.  It didn't take me long to get the characters straight and quickly follow the investigation as they slowly figured out what all was going on in their community.  
denise66 More than 1 year ago
Loving the interesting way that this is set up. You hear from several people's views of what they are doing and several of those who have died are giving some information about themselves also. Annabel is an analyst good at seeing patters and she thinks there is a serial killer in her area after she finds her neighbor dead. She puts together that people with no relatives are dying in their own homes. Her mom dies and she becomes depressed and no one at work really notices her or is very friendly. Once her mom dies and she is out of it and trying to deal with everything makes her vulnerable to this killer but is he really a killer. He doesn't believe so just that he helps those who are going anyway he thinks. Annabel is rescued by reporter Sam who is her friend and the ending is really good though I don't want to give it away. Great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend!!
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I love this author and this book. A must read
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