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The Calling of the Grave by Simon Beckett
  

Maxim Jakubowski's view...

February 2012 Book of the Month.

A Maxim Jakubowski Great Male Crime Sleuth.

Forensics expert Dr David Hunter has featured in a handful of investigations so far and is becoming a worthy British counterpart to Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. Ironically, he has become a major bestseller in Germany where he outsells all other crime writers. The meticulous emphasis on bones, blood, insects and the paraphernalia of crime scene investigations makes his cases emphatically realistic and Hunter proves a sympathetic if obstinate sleuth who seldom deviates from the right course of action. Addictive stuff.

If you like Simon Beckett you might also like to read books by Karin Slaughter, Nick Stone and Denise Mina.

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Synopsis

The Calling of the Grave by Simon Beckett

When DI Terry Connor turns up on David Hunter's doorstep, it's an unwelcome reminder of the past in more ways than one. The two used to be friends before Connor's behaviour caused a bitter rift. And the news the policeman brings is even less welcome: the psychotic rapist and murderer Jerome Monk has escaped from high security prison. Monk's is a name all too familiar to Hunter. Eight years before he'd part of an ill-fated Body Recovery team assembled to try and find the graves of Monk's teenage victims on the bleak expanse of Dartmoor. Only one of the missing girls' bodies was ever found, and Monk's own controversial involvement in the search led to more failure and a violent denouement. And now Monk is on the loose - and seems to be targeting anyone involved with the original search. Then Hunter receives a mysterious appeal for help from Sophie Keller, a young woman who also worked on the operation, he suddenly finds that the past is far from dead and buried. Neither the events unfolding now, nor those from all those years ago, are quite as they seem. And as the maniac's bloody trail edges ever closer, Hunter is forced to question who he can really trust. Especially when his own life depends on it...


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Reviews

As bone-chillingly bleak as its subject... this doesn't disappoint FINANCIAL TIMES Deeply unnerving... a writer who clearly relishes raising our pulse rates while lowering our blood temperature -- BARRY FORSHAW


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

2nd February 2012

Author

Simon Beckett

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Author's Website

www.simonbeckett.com/win/

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Publisher

Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group) an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback
464 pages

Categories

Crime / Mystery
Books of the Month
Thriller / Suspense
eBook Favourites

Thriller / suspense

ISBN

9780553820652

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