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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.
A chilling thriller and a hymn to all the lonely people, whose individual voices haunt the pages, Elizabeth Haynes’ new novel is a deeply disturbing and powerful thriller that preys on our darkest fears, showing how vulnerable we are when we live alone, and how easily ordinary lives can fall apart when no one is watching.
It's hard to put the uniqueness of Elizabeth Haynes' writing into words. Her stories grip you by the throat and force you to acknowledge that this is what real crime and real horror look and feel like, as well as real love, hope, fear. Suddenly, much of the other crime fiction you've read seems, in comparison, rather like stories made up by writers. Haynes is the most exciting thing to happen to crime fiction in a long time.
Haynes puts the reader firmly in the mind of the psychopath at the heart of it, who is wonderfully and grimly fascinating. A gripping whodunit becomes an even more twisted ‘whydunit’. Throw in Annabel’s domestic drama and Haynes’ dark sense of humour and Human Remains could be one of the thrillers of the year.
Taking as its theme the plight of lonely people in today's fast-moving society, this is a deeply unsettling psychological thriller.
It may seem a little premature to announce that I have already found one of my top ten (and very likely top five) reads of the year already, but I genuinely feel that I have.
Just when you think you’ve read everything that crime fiction has to say, all the crimes it can detail and all the ways it can say it, along comes Elizabeth Haynes...The best stories, the best thrills, are when writers or directors put us in places that we’ll never feel safe again...with Human Remains, Haynes has put us in our own homes, alone, and she’s shut the door. There are few writers who could write such disturbing prose so beautifully.
Ready for a chilling thriller which will send shivers down your spine? Dare to pick up Human Remains by this award-winning author, and you may find you can't put it down...With believable characters and plot, this story tugs at our deepest fears and shows a side to society we'd all rather believe doesn't exist. It's only Haynes' third novel, but the way she gets to the heart of the darkest of minds and crafts a compelling story which gets under your skin puts her up there with the very best. Not for the squeamish, but a must for anyone who loves a gripping read.
Be prepared to be pinned to your chair by the skin crawling brilliance of Human Remains. Haynes has a unique gift for generating empathy in the reader for the victims in her novels. In this compelling yet terrifying thriller, the voices of the dead soar from the pages to touch your heart.
The killer is Haynes most terrifying creation to date...At times the visceral scene setting punches the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses so hard that you'll be tempted to slick a little vapo rub beneath your nose to temper the stench. Human Remains is an unnerving tale, when you reach the end you may feel compelled to knock on the doors of your solitary neighbours to check they're still alive.
Elizabeth Haynes was my great discovery of 2011 and I wasn't the only person who thought that Into the Darkest Corner was one of the most readable books of the year. A year later Revenge of the Tide confirmed that Haynes was an author to watch.
The character of Colin points up just how good a writer Haynes is. He's hyper intelligent with severe personality problems but Haynes brings him off the page in such a way that you have no difficulty in believing that lonely people would feel comfortable with him. Haynes works as an intelligence analyst for the police and obviously draws deeply on her own experience, so it wasn't just a good read but an enlightening one too...I think it's now safe to say that Elizabeth Haynes is no longer just a rising star. She is a star.
This is truly a psychological thriller – but I can’t really say any more without giving the game away...It's an unsusual and intriguing story and, as well being a gripping thriller, it is also fascinating to watch the characters of Colin and Annabel develop over the course of the book. It’s thought-provoking and certainly makes you question the power of the mind.
This is the third novel from crime writer Elizabeth Haynes and for me this is her darkest yet...She established herself as a must-read author for me with Into the Darkest Corner. This novel confirms her talent for getting to the heart of the darkest minds and imagining the awful horrors they might commit. She has crafted another compelling story, with characters that get under your skin, a mystery and investigation that keeps you turning the pages, and with a dark, creepy air pervading it all.
This is an original, disturbing, chilling and scary book which reveals a great deal about modern life.
One of the most exciting and original thrillers I have read for some time. More than just a page turner...and works on several layers with many hidden depths and much to say, especially about forgotten people. You think you know what is coming at the start and you have absolutely no idea then, just when you think you have it all figured out, Haynes does it over and over again with more twists and turns as you go on. Highly, highly recommended reading!
This is the third novel by Elizabeth Haynes, and my favourite so far...It was very creepy and atmospheric and had me holding my breath...I thoroughly enjoyed this entire book; the plot and style are excellent. Lots for reading groups to discuss as well, not just a run of the mill crime novel.
A deeply disturbing and powerful psychological thriller that will have you checking the locks on your doors and windows...This book is so disturbing. I hated what it did to me, how it made me think, made me question how I treat others, question my own motives, and question my relationship with my family. I hated how I was so deeply embedded in the mind of a narcissistic sociopath that I could predict his reactions. What does that say about me when I know how a sociopath is going to react (or in this case, not react)? It says nothing about me, and everything about the author and her brilliant writing. Haynes is a master at creating memorable characters in a terrifying but thought-provoking story.
Haynes invites us to consider the fabric of contemporary society and how well it cares for its forlorn and elderly, not to mention what happens when boys lose their fathers and come adrift. Ultimately, [Human Remains] achieves a meditation on death. And therein lies both the compulsion and the fascination of crime fiction that dares to imagine the unimaginable.
It's creepy, but beautifully written - as was Haynes's debut lnto the Darkest Corner - and it has some important things to say about isolation and friendship in contemporary society.
Already gathering glowing accolades, Human Remains has cemented Haynes’ place as a must read crime author.
This is a story that makes you sweat and your pulse race, 100% believable, magnificently dark, incredibly exciting, and I defy anyone to put it down for anything but the briefest of pauses before its fantastic ending.
Elizabeth Haynes' work goes from strength to strength [...] HUMAN REMAINS is one of the most interesting books I have read for a long time and has an ending that I didn't even come close to guessing. Extremely highly recommended.
Her well-drawn central characters explore the mechanics of loneliness and despair, while the action taps into the deep-seated fear of dying alone.
From the gruesome opening gambit to the thrilling denouement, this might not be one for the fainthearted (or lonely), but it’s very hard to leave it alone.
Visit Elizabeth Haynes' website
Read Elizabeth's piece on how her day job impacts her fiction writing on the It's a Crime site.
'This house holds a secret: inside lives the hottest new crime writer of 2011...' Read Elizabeth's full interview in the Independent on Sunday