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The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett
  

The Chemistry of Death

Part of the David Hunter Series
Crime / Mystery   Books for the Boys   Thriller / Suspense   eBook Favourites   
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

I read this just after the latest Kathy Reichs so I was able to compare her American forensic anthropologist with this English creation, Dr David Hunter. He is as meticulous in his detailed analysis as hers, but he is much easier to follow – he does not use obscure medical terms – so I found this most interesting, highly intriguing and very disturbing. And the storyline …? Well that was totally gripping and almost hair-raising in the true sense. What is also exciting is that this is the beginning of a series, the next David Hunter book comes out in hardback in August, paperback early 2008 … I can hardly wait.

Similar this month: Patrick Lennon.
Comparison: Mo Hayder, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter.

If you like Simon Beckett you might also like to read books by Peter James, Mo Hayder and Kathy Reichs.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett

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...


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Reviews

'The best thriller I’ve read all year...fast-paced, fascinating and heart-stoppingly exciting'
TESS GERRITSEN

‘Spine-tinglingly frightening, but also poignant and caring...hits the bull's eye from the word go!’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

‘Very distinctive...a cut above the average, with a convincing central character, a gripping plot and a fine store of morbid information’ OBSERVER

About the Author

Simon Beckett

Simon Beckett is a freelance journalist and writes for national newspapers and colour supplements. He is married and lives in Sheffield.

Simon Beckett questions

1. Who or what influenced you to write The Chemistry of Death?

The idea came from magazine article I was writing about the National Forensic Academy in Tennessee, an organisation that gives highly realistic forensic training to US police detectives and crime scene investigators. Part of the course involved several days at a place called The Body Farm. It’s a world-famous training ground for forensic anthropologists and the like, and is unique because it uses real human cadavers for its research. The detectives had to carry out what are known as ‘body recovery’ exercises – locating graves where supposed murder victims were buried. Even though it was staged, the bodies were real and it was treated like an actual crime scene. It made a lasting impression on me, and formed the inspiration behind the book.

2. Is Dr David Hunter’s character based on fiction or someone you know?

No, David Hunter is entirely fictional. Having said that, the forensic techniques he uses are all real, and based on information from actual forensic anthropologists.

3. What do you love most about writing?

On a good day it’s a completely absorbing process. You look at the clock and find a few hours have gone by without your realising. And there’s an undeniable buzz when people read something you’ve written, and you know it does exactly what you wanted it to. On bad day… well, let’s not even talk about that.

4. What do you consider most difficult?

Starting a new novel – or any piece of writing come to that – is probably the hardest part for me. At that point you know all the hard work is still to come, and 100,000 words can seem like an awful lot when you’re still on Chapter One.

5. Do you write full time now? What jobs have you held in the past?

I’ve written full time for around twelve years now. I tend to split my time between novels and freelance journalism. I find the two complement each other pretty well, provided you organise your time properly. Before that I had a fairly varied career – everything from property repairs to playing in a band.

6. How did you first get started writing?

Good question. It’s something I’ve always been interested in, but I only really started to think of it as a potential career when I went to work in Spain. I was teaching English, but I used to write in my spare time. It took me about six years before I was finally published, though, so it was hardly an overnight thing.

7. How did you first get published?

I didn’t have an agent, so I started submitting my manuscript around publishers myself. After countless rejection slips it was picked out of the slush-pile, and within 48-hours I’d got myself both a book-deal and an agent. A real water-shed moment.

8. Where did you grow up, how did this place influence you?

I grew up – and still live in – Sheffield. It was a fairly ordinary working class background, at a time when the city was still dominated by the steel industry. But I can’t say it consciously influenced my writing – I don’t set my novels here, because I think it’s difficult to be objective about somewhere you know well. But other writers have no problem with that, so it’s just a case of different strokes, I suppose.

9. What can we expect next?

I don’t want to give away too much at this stage. But let’s just say we probably haven’t seen the last of Dr David Hunter.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th April 2007

Author

Simon Beckett

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Author's Website

www.simonbeckett.com/win/

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Publisher

Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback
448 pages

Categories

Crime / Mystery
Books for the Boys
Thriller / Suspense
eBook Favourites

Crime & mystery

ISBN

9780553817492

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