Title: Whispers of the Dead
Author: Simon Beckett
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recovering from the events of Written in Bone, forensic anthropologist Dr. David Hunter travels to the United States to work with his old mentor, Tom, at the Body Farm in Tennessee. While Hunter is there, some grisly murders are discovered and Tom asks him to stick around and help out, though the other officials on the case aren’t quite as welcoming.
The third book in Simon Beckett’s Dr. David Hunter series (after The Chemistry of Death and Written in Bone), Whispers of the Dead is a worthy successor to those first two books. Beckett shakes things up with the setting, moving Hunter from his comfort zone in the UK to Tennessee. The Body Farm, a huge laboratory where forensic anthropologists can study what happens to the body after death, is an intriguing place and I do wish that more of the action had taken place on site. I would have loved to have learned more about it.
It is absolutely imperative to read Written in Bone before reading Whispers of the Dead. The events of that book were traumatic for Dr. Hunter, and he spends most of this book recovering emotionally. He has lost his confidence and must grapple with a situation where, for the first time, he is very unwelcome. He wants to prove himself to those around him, yet part of him just wants to give up. It’s really important to read the previous book in order to understand this crisis of confidence. Additionally, the main villain of that book is mentioned multiple times in this one, which would ruin it for any reader.
Once again, the mystery in Whispers of the Dead was very well done. I’m not sure it was quite as gripping as the first two, but it still sucked me in from beginning to end. This has quickly become one of my favorite series, and I’m so distressed there are no more for me to go out and find! I’ll just have to wait for the release of The Calling of the Grave in February.