>The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett


I thought a book review would be apt given that today is World Book Day
(image description) it says “The Great Transworld Crime Caper” The T in transworld is bigger and blue, the rest of the text is black.  There is a magnifying glass over the T, yellow “crime scene do not cross” tape across the entire logo and a gun with blood splatters in the top right of the image.

I was given a copy of The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett to review by Transworld as a part of their Great Crime Caper

This is the blurb from the back cover (helpfully provided from Amazon)

Three years ago, forensics expert David Hunter abandoned his old life after a tragedy nearly destroyed him. Now working as a doctor in a remote Norfolk village, he believes he’s left his past behind.

But then they find what’s left of Sally Palmer…

The body has been savagely mutilated. The police need Hunter’s expertise to find the killer, but he is desperate to remain uninvolved. Then a second woman disappears and the close-knit community that had been Hunter’s refuge becomes a maelstrom of fear and paranoia. No one is exempt from suspicion. Suddenly, there is no place to hide…

When I got this book I was a bit concerned that it might be a bit too gruesome for me.  Not sure why considering I chose it!  But anyway I kept putting off starting it as a result.  I was wrong.  The first page or so were a bit gruesome for my tastes but that eased off very quickly and you were left with a very readable book.There were one or two other slightly graphic parts but nothing as gruesome and they weren’t overdone or milked.  Overall I’m glad I read this – it’s a good book.  In fact I have two of the sequels – Written in Bone and Whispers of the Dead – sat on my desk next to me, that’s how much I enjoyed it.

I didn’t manage to guess who the bad guy was.  At one point I briefly wondered if it could be the guy it turned out to be but dismissed it.  The book is full of twists and you keep thinking you know who done it or what’s going to happen next and then it turns out that no, you don’t.

Also this book manages to be disability positive with one of the characters who plays a frequent role in the book being a wheelchair user.  And a realistic wheelchair user at that.  No super human crips in this book!

Comparing this book to The Accident Man which was the first book I reviewed for the Crime Caper is difficult because they are so different in scope and writing style.  Both are great books and I enjoyed them in very different ways – The Accident Man being more of a “what if” to The Chemistry of Death’s straight thriller.  But I think I enjoyed this one a little more.

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