Book Review: The Chemistry of Death – Simon Beckett

Title: The Chemistry of Death
Author: Simon Beckett
ISBN: 9780440335955
Pages: 400
Release Date: September 26, 2006
Publisher: Dell
Genre: Mystery
Source: Library
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

After a horrible accident that claims the lives of his wife and daughter, Dr. David Hunter moves to the small town of Manham in order to become a GP.  He wants to leave his past behind, to forget what happened.  But when a body is found and the police discover that Hunter used to be one of the top forensic anthropologists in the country, they push him into putting his old skills to use again.

Review:

I’m always on the prowl for good mysteries, so when I saw a review of The Chemistry of Death somewhere around the blogosphere, I decided I’d check it out from the library.  I was a little hesitant to start it because I’m easily grossed out, and I know that forensic anthropology is not for the faint of heart, but it sounded like a really interesting novel and worth a little squeamishness.

The Chemistry of Death was an absolutely fascinating novel.  I was surprised to discover that it actually wasn’t that gross.  There’s definitely some graphic descriptions, but it’s all clinical enough that it didn’t really bother me.  I found what Dr. Hunter did really interesting, and it whetted my appetite for more novels on forensic anthropology.

The mystery in this novel was also very well done.  I really did not suspect the culprit, and the twist at the end was amazing.  Beckett is a very talented writer, and he develops Dr. Hunter very well.  I liked how Hunter was trying to move on with his life, to get past what happened but was unable to.  It’s only after he confronted his former profession that he started the acceptance phase.  Running away only made the problem worse.

I am thrilled that The Chemistry of Death is the first in a series – I’ve already put the second novel, Written in Bone, on hold at the library.  Beckett has written a fascinating character with an intriguing profession.  Combine that with a suspenseful, well-written mystery?  I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Comments

  1. Argh. How did I know about this? I have a bit of forensic work (twice, skeletal remains) and I’ve always been fascinated. Must.Find.This.Book.

  2. Argh. How did I know about this? I have a bit of forensic work (twice, skeletal remains) and I’ve always been fascinated. Must.Find.This.Book.

  3. I have the worst luck with mysteries, but I’m glad to see this one is good!

  4. I have the worst luck with mysteries, but I’m glad to see this one is good!

  5. This one sounds great. Like you, I am always on the lookout for a good mystery!

  6. This one sounds great. Like you, I am always on the lookout for a good mystery!

  7. Hmmm..this definitely sounds interesting! And it being the first in the series is even better yet as I love finding new series of books to read. Great review and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. Hmmm..this definitely sounds interesting! And it being the first in the series is even better yet as I love finding new series of books to read. Great review and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. I like books with forensic anthropology, so I’m adding this to my wish list. I can read graphic scenes that I could never in a million years watch.

  10. I like books with forensic anthropology, so I’m adding this to my wish list. I can read graphic scenes that I could never in a million years watch.

  11. This book sounds terrific. I’ll add it to my list immediately. Thanks!

  12. This book sounds terrific. I’ll add it to my list immediately. Thanks!

  13. thanks for a really good review!

  14. thanks for a really good review!

  15. I would love this book. I’m reading Cutting for Stone right now and the medical jargon is my favorite part. And like bermudaonion, I can read the most gruesome scenes that I’d never be able to watch.

    Thanks for the heads up on a good read 🙂

  16. I would love this book. I’m reading Cutting for Stone right now and the medical jargon is my favorite part. And like bermudaonion, I can read the most gruesome scenes that I’d never be able to watch.

    Thanks for the heads up on a good read 🙂

  17. I love anything dealing with anthropology, and like you, I’m always on the lookout for a great mystery. If you say it is well worth it, I am definitely adding it to my wish list. Thanks!

  18. I love anything dealing with anthropology, and like you, I’m always on the lookout for a great mystery. If you say it is well worth it, I am definitely adding it to my wish list. Thanks!

  19. Forensic anthropology sounds like a fascinating subject in which to weave a mystery, and your mention of an unlikely killer and a twist at the end has certainly gotten my attention! I am going to have to see if I can grab this book and give it a try. It sounds really fun! You know, every time I stop over to your site my wish list grows exponentially!

  20. Forensic anthropology sounds like a fascinating subject in which to weave a mystery, and your mention of an unlikely killer and a twist at the end has certainly gotten my attention! I am going to have to see if I can grab this book and give it a try. It sounds really fun! You know, every time I stop over to your site my wish list grows exponentially!

  21. Add this one to my list!!! I didn’t know anything about this book. This is the one you were mentioning on Twitter, right? Definitely have to check it out. Thanks Swapna! 🙂

  22. Add this one to my list!!! I didn’t know anything about this book. This is the one you were mentioning on Twitter, right? Definitely have to check it out. Thanks Swapna! 🙂

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