Published by Bantam Press
ebook: 9 February 2017 | Hardback 6 April 2017
I’m delighted to be taking part in the publisher blog tour for The Restless Dead and must thank Hannah of Transworld for the invite. This book is number 5 in the David Hunter series – I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series but that doesn’t matter at all – this can easily be read as a standalone however much to the distress of my mountainous TBR, I now want to read the previous 4 books!
David Hunter is a forensic anthropologist, often called on to assist the police when human remains have been found that are too badly decomposed for a pathologist to deal with. It is clearly a specialised field however it appears that he is currently ‘out in the cold’ following mistakes on a previous case and is currently clinging on to his job at a university. When he gets a call from DI Bob Lundy of Essex Police for assistance, he doesn’t hesitate, grateful for the work and for the chance to perhaps redeem his reputation.
A decomposing body has been found in the Saltmere estuary, a few miles up the coast from Mersea Island. The police believe they know it’s identity but they need formal confirmation – however what seems at first to be a straightforward case is anything but and Hunter finds himself drawn into situations that put his own life, as well as others, in danger.
As mentioned above, I hadn’t read any of this series and when I first started reading, I did wonder if this would be the book for me. Having read numerous serial killer and murder stories over the years, I am no stranger to a dead body but sometimes you can have too much information! There is great detail of the various stages of decomposition – certainly not a book to read whilst you’re eating your lunch but I quickly got over any feelings of squeamishess and became completely engrossed in the story.
This story alludes to events in Hunter’s past – it is clear he is still recovering from past events. both physically and mentally and his role in this investigation really does push him to the limit. I really liked his character though, he’s a resourceful, no-nonsense type of guy and the hints of romantic interest in this story, make him a three dimensional character that you can engage with. In fact most of the main characters here were superbly drawn, each had depth and distinguishing personalities.
These Essex backwaters of mudflats, floods and tidal currents are in themselves a main character. I live in Essex but even though this is not a part of the county that I am familiar with – the atmospheric description of the run down town, the isolation and remote location is really well explored and after finishing the book I was interested enough to start Googling and came across this picture of a typical Maunsell fort – which plays a significant part in the story.
This was a real cracker of a read – the intelligent and clever plot will both surprise and dismay – there were turns in the story that I certainly didn’t see coming and it was one of those reads that I just had to sit up late to finish. A well deserved ‘highly recommended’ from me. Despite coming in to this series part way through, I now want to read more.
My thanks to the publisher for the paperback copy to review.
About the author:
Simon Beckett has worked as a freelance journalist, writing for national newspapers and colour supplements. He is the author of four international bestselling crime thrillers featuring his forensic anthropologist hero, Dr David Hunter: The Chemistry of Death, Written in Bone, Whispers of the Dead and The Calling of the Grave. His other novels are Stone Bruises and Where There’s Smoke.