Human Remains

Human Remains - Elizabeth Haynes Anabel lives alone with her cat, as a police analyst she hides in her cubicle at work and her social life revolves around getting groceries and dinner for her mother a few times per week. Coming home from her mother’s one evening she discovers her cat reeking and sticky. As she follows said cat to find out what she has been into, she discovers her neighbor, sitting in an armchair in her living room … quietly decomposing. Feeling totally disgusted and then slightly guilty at not even noticing her neighbor’s absence Anabel accesses her work computer to see if any other people are ever found in similar situations. What she finds disturbs her. As it turns out the number of people found in just such circumstance is staggeringly high in her little community. They just seem to lock their doors and die without anyone ever noticing they are missing. Although it appears no crime has been committed, she teams up with a young reporter and then a senior police officer to help her look into what is going on. Anabel finds out soon enough, when her own lonely existence comes to the attention one seriously disturbed gentleman.

This book is most definitely a psychological thriller. It moves slowly (very slowly!). And it is one of the few books in recent memory that has made me seriously cringe. Ms. Haynes seems determined to make us understand a psychopath’s thought process not only in excruciating but also in very cringe-worthy detail. Contrasting that to Anabel’s quiet, mouse-like life makes the villain so much more evil. An interesting part of this book is that as each body is discovered, the “victim” shares a short vignette about his or her own life and why they felt compelled to die, which adds a touch of the poignant.

All in all this was a very dark and disturbing book.