Home > Book, Book Review, Crime, Reviews > Book Review – Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes (@Elizjhaynes)

Book Review – Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes (@Elizjhaynes)

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes returns with a disturbing and powerful tale that preys on our darkest fears.

Police analyst Annabel wouldn’t describe herself as lonely. Her work and the needs of her aging mother keep her busy. But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbor’s decomposing body in the house next door, and she is appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed the woman’s absence. Annabel sets out to investigate, despite her colleagues’ lack of interest, and discovers that such cases are frighteningly common in her hometown.

A chilling thriller and a hymn to all the lonely people whose individual voices haunt its pages, Human Remains shows how vulnerable we are when we live alone, and how easily ordinary lives can fall apart when no one is watching.


Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes was featured as a Kindle Daily Deal, and after reading the book description (see above), I had to read it.  I read about cases like these occasionally (about bodies being found after weeks/months of no one missing them) and I’ve always thought about how sad that was. That someone could be so cut off from everybody around them that they die alone and no one notices.

In this crime thriller, analyst Annabel makes the disturbing discovery that in her hometown, the number of such cases are off the roof. Surely, that isn’t natural, is this a sign of something wrong with her town in general or is someone responsible? Ms Haynes chooses not to keep her readers in the dark, and in alternating chapters, she gives voice to the man responsible (Colin – a sick man with an obsession for death) and his ‘victims’.

For a ‘thriller’, Human Remains is a slow read though; nothing really exciting happens until near the end (and that’s only because Colin decides to deviate from his MO and does a really stupid thing). Annabel is also a tricky kind of character; she’s so mousy and depressed and had such a victim-complex that I got really frustrated with her character. She was the perfect prey for Colin, though, so I get that was why the author wrote her that way.

Human Remains tells a really compelling story though – it’s disturbing (Warning: there’s explicit description on decomposition that might gross out some readers) and grim and I did like the psychological aspects of it, and what the author was trying to say about alienation and depression in modern society. I mean, it’s definitely different from the usual crime thriller books I’ve read.

I have no plans for re-reading this one though (it’s just not that kind of book). So, if I were you, I’d suggest you borrow this if possible.


Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes (Myriad Editions) is available on Amazon, B&N, Apple iBooks, Kobo books

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