Newest Review: ... sent to the remote Scottish island of Runa to discover whether a body found there is suspicious. On finding the corpse almost completely... more
hoots mon theres a moose loose aboot this hoose!! murder and mayhem on a remote scottish island
Written in Bone - Simon Beckett
Member Name: sparkymarky1973
Written in Bone - Simon Beckett
Advantages: keeps you guessing and hooks you into this thrilling mystery before you realise
Disadvantages: often a bit too similar to his previous novel and not quite so fast-paced at times
Following on from the end of the last novel that saw Dr.David Hunter returning to his chosen profession of forensic anthropologist almost reluctantly, we start this new novel from acclaimed writer Simon Beckett as his protagonist prepares to return from the wilds of Scotland and a paticulary nasty murder scene to which he has been lending his very specialised expertise. His relationship with the woman he met and fell in love with in the previous novel is a little stressed. She tires of him jet-setting off to lend his assisstance and longs for him to remain closer at home but David has opened Pandora's Box and now he has returned to that he meant to leave behind, he finds it increasingly more difficult to refuse.
Thus when a Police Superintendant asks him to travel that little bit further before he returns home to investigate the remains of a suspicious death on an island in the Hebrides, Hunter, after some persuasion, agrees... after all it will only be for a couple of days won't it?
The death seems to suggest a vicious murder but resources are temporarily tied up somewhere else and for a while Hunter is left holding the baby as it were with a drunkard mainland Police Detective, a retired police officer and a rookie who longs to be a criminologist. Then a storm arrives cutting them all off from the mainland and suddenly the death toll begins to rise with horrifying escalation.
With its insular community and it's suspicious locals, this follow-up novel at times feels a bit too much like a rehash of his first novel and isn't quite as compelling as his debut. That said it is still a bloody good read and once the pace picks up it soon grips you by the ballls and won't let go. If Chemistry Of Death was a tribute to Miss Marple, this second novel is a homage to Ten Little Indians and soon begins snowballing into something dark, disturbing and definetly a little dangerous.
My only regret is that this time around the culprit did seem a little obvious even if the motive and circumstances surronding the murder spree were less clear untill explained- certainly this time around there are no easy answers and even when you think its all wrapped up Beckett still manages to surprise us with a couple of bolts from the blue that aren't anything you were expecting.
This is a guy who knows how to write an ending and if the climax doesn't leave you reeling I will be very surprised. One thing that did annoy me, and this is more to do with the publishers than the author, is the insistence on the front cover once again that "if this book isn't as good as Patrica Cornwell we'll give you your money back!!"
We have sen this with Kathy Reichs, as you will know from an earlier review, and now we're seeing it again. Why publishers cannot let an author stand on their own merits instead of comparing the two I will never know- it is no more than a clever gimmick and not one that is needed!! Indeed, as I have said before, Cornwell is no longer even one of the big hitters with her latest works paling in comparison to the much superior Kathy Reichs and the equally as thrilling Karin Slaughter!!
Thankfully Beckett's latest work is not a disappointment and, after a slightly slow and shaky start, settles into its own and delivers near-perfectly once more. Almost despite myself at times, I found myself enjoying this and once agaiun finding it very compelling reading.
Whether or not there will be a third book in this series is impossible to say but if he continues to write as well as this then Beckett will have a justly deserved successfull career!!
Summary: Stuck in the middle of nowhere,shut off from communication; a killer stalks a scottish island