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Summary

How well do you know your neighbours? Would you notice if they lived or died?

Police analyst Annabel wouldn’t describe herself as lonely. Her work keeps her busy and the needs of her ageing mother and her cat are more than enough to fill her time when she’s on her own. But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbour’s decomposing body in the house next door, and appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed her absence. Back at work she sets out to investigate, despite her police officer colleagues’ lack of interest, and finds data showing that such cases are frighteningly common in her own home town. A chilling thriller and a hymn to all the lonely people, whose individual voices haunt the pages, Elizabeth Haynes’ new novel is a deeply disturbing and powerful thriller that preys on our darkest fears, showing how vulnerable we are when we live alone, and how easily ordinary lives can fall apart when no one is watching.

About the Author

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst. She started writing fiction in 2006 thanks to the annual challenge of National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and the encouragement of the creative writing courses at West Dean College. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son. Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, was the winner of Amazon's Rising Stars and has been translated into 30 languages. Her second novel, Revenge of the Tide, was published in March 2012.

©2013 Elizabeth Haynes (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

"It's hard to put the uniqueness of Elizabeth Haynes' writing into words. Her stories grip you by the throat and force you to acknowledge that this is what real crime and real horror look and feel like, as well as real love, hope, fear. Suddenly, much of the other crime fiction you've read seems, in comparison, rather like stories made up by writers. Haynes is the most exciting thing to happen to crime fiction in a long time." (Sophie Hannah)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    94
  • 4 Stars
    96
  • 3 Stars
    56
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    27

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    76
  • 4 Stars
    57
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    17

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    79
  • 4 Stars
    58
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    9
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    16
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jill
  • Roermond, Netherlands
  • 23-02-13

Disturbing and absorbing

In the beginning of the book I had some sympathy for Colin who first appears to be a man who is socially awkward and a bit out of step with the society in which he lives. However, as the book progresses and we continue to share his thoughts and motivation I came to realise that I was being treated to a look into the inside workings of a truly disturbed mind; a man who preys on severely depressed people. Far-fetched? No, having suffered depression myself in the past, I found it only too plausible. The narrator successfully finds different voices for the main characters and paces the reading well. If you like crime fiction then give this one a try - if you dare!

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ann
  • Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 24-02-13

Pretty good story let down by a dreadful reader

This audio book underlines how important the reader is and in this case the

reader lets it down completely by making one of the pivotal characters sound like an asinine chump.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

DEATH BY READER

I am not sure how good this book is as it was murdered by the reader. This book has many voices and for me, this reader seemed incapable of more than one. I googled the reader and discovered she is LAMDA trained which I find interesting. Maybe this book's delivery is not her fault, maybe its the director who is to blame but the flat unvaried delivery meant I found the book irritating and unlike me, unable to listen to the end.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not finished it - not sure I want to

Like another reviewer, I feel this book is not enhanced by its narrator and I agree that at some moments I have wondered if it is meant to be a comedy or spoof. I am about half way through but I find it difficult to follow, and the change between voices (of the narrative) confusing because there is little change in the voice of the reader. I wondered if this book would be better read - but someone else seems to have tried that too and thought the audible version better. I may persevere just because I hate leaving books unfinished - even poor ones.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Spoilt by appalling narration

Elizabeth Haynes 'Into the darkest corner' is my best ever Audible listen, so it's a huge shame that this, her third novel, is practically unlistenable, wholly due to Karen Cass' appalling narration. This is a novel of many voices and in this narration they are all read by Karen Cass. The voice of Annabel is fine, however the other character's voices are laughable. The use of multiple narrators would work perfectly for this novel, so I'm not sure why this was not done. As I am unable to read at the moment I feel very angered that so often the books I long to read are being spoilt by such poor narration.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Irene
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 05-05-13

Was this a comic novel?

I was never sure whether this was supposed to be a thriller or a comic story, mainly due to the reader's representation of Colin's voice. I know it is not easy for a woman to do a male voice and vice versa but plenty other readers manage quite well. I am still not sure what the intention of the author was. And I am afraid I am unlikely to buy another book with main male characters read by Karen Cass

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lor1
  • Wales
  • 06-03-13

menacing and plausibly scary. Great characters.

My first Elizabeth Haynes, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.



I found myself very curious about the characters, including the enigmatic Policeman..



Was left wanting more, so although the story was concluded, was there a whiff of more to come?

Hope so!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • United Kingdom
  • 28-02-13

Was going to give this 2 stars

This book won a last minute extra star for the ending but up till then it was a great disappointment.

I was going to give it only 2 stars which I awarded for the authentic police background and for creating the criminal mind of Colin. No more because the book is dragged down by a totally inadequate narrator. Unfortunately the book is structured as a stream of consciousness from two main characters - male and female - and a string of minor characters. The narrator has only one voice for all the female voices and one, only slightly different voice, for all the male characters. To make things worse the author also appears to use identical phrasing and speech patterns for everyone regardless of age, background and gender. Maybe if I had read rather than listened to the book I would have enjoyed it more as I could have created different "voices" for myself. As it was only the dreadful weather outside meant that I kept picking it up again after vowing I just couldn't be bothered to carry on. The ending redeemed the book a little and so I have grudgingly given it 3 stars.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

For me ....Dull and uninspiring.

What disappointed you about Human Remains?

This was a story I simply could not get into...it was slow to ignite anything in my imagination and seemed to be more about little stories rather that a bigger picture about remains found in the house next door, I could not bring myself to continue to the end of the book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Elizabeth Haynes again?

Possibly

Would you be willing to try another one of Karen Cass’s performances?

Mmmmm, maybe part of the reason I could not get on with this story was the way it was read...

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Human Remains?

It would be difficult to suggest cutting scenes as there appeared to be too many, it would be better to suggest that the story should not have drifted so much..?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Light entertainment but not a thriller

As a big fan of the thrillers by Mark Edwards and Louise Voss I was hoping for this to be along the same lines. Whilst it was an interesting story, it wasn't what I would describe as 'gripping'. Good narration and easy to listen to.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 16-02-13

Disturbingly Sad

Would you consider the audio edition of Human Remains to be better than the print version?

I have no preference, but the narrator did such an excellent job the audio version may be preferable

What other book might you compare Human Remains to and why?

I cant think of another to compare

What about Karen Cass’s performance did you like?

I love her voice and accent, the narration was animated but not overbearing

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes especially towards the end

Any additional comments?

The book was full of suspense and entertaining but also very depressing. It brings to light how lonely and hopeless people can be and how overlooked by a society of busy,multitasking and indifferent people we have become. Do you know your neighbors?
My overall feeling after the book is sadness.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janice
  • 01-03-13

For Criminal Minds fans

I grabbed up this title as soon as I saw it available because I had really enjoyed "Into the Darkest Corner" by the same author and narrator. I did like this story very much but was disappointed in Karen Cass's reading this time. Her voicing of Annabelle, Sam and some of the side characters was fine, but I think her interpretation of Collin, the villian (that's not a spoiler) I think was too loud and strident for one that I thought should have been voiced more pensively furtive. Also, some of the supporting female characters came across too perky - almost ditzy, and that was also a distaction. A more subtle touch would have been more appropriate. Perhaps just a matter of taste, but for me it downgraded the enjoyment of the listen.

As for the story - very creepy, almost squeamishly so in some places. But it does build suspense and Annabelle is someone to root for. Quite a bit of time is spent setting up the plot, and some advice to readers who struggle with stories that switch narrators frequently - listen to the names that are annonced at the change of a chapter: That is who is speaking, telling their own stories. It may be a bit confusing in the beginning, but you'll catch the pattern within the first hour. I found the last hour exciting and satisfying. Wraps up leaving some questions to contemplate about social ethics and legal justice. Did not find it depressing, would not relegate it to a Lifetime Movie. More of the style of Criminal Minds.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Albert
  • 26-02-13

Should be a Life TIme Movie

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would make it into a Lifetime Movie, then you could change the channel and watch something better. It's OK, but not all that gripping.....you sort of have to wade through it.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The newspaper reporter with a conscience.

Did Karen Cass do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Not to bad. She has a pleasant voice, and her English accent is interesting, but she has a hard time with male voices. Still she did a good job with what she had to work with.

Do you think Human Remains needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, I think the author needs to move on to other endeavors.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • yachtcowgirl
  • 04-01-16

Just could not relate.

Difficult to become involved with. The characters didn't seem real. Just got bored with the story.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Dottie B.
  • 12-04-13

A bit far fetched, and another passive protagonist

I enjoyed this author's first book, Into the Darkest Corner, and thought I would give this book a try. This book just did not cut it for me. The plot was far-fetched and the main character was too passive for my taste.
The narrator was perfectly good at reading this book. But If you are grossed out by icky biological happenings, don't listen to this book. And if you are someone who needs the plot to be mostly believable, don't bother listening to this book either.
Without giving spoilers, the book involves many decomposing bodies, and two main unappealing characters whose heads we have to be in for the entirety of the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Taryn
  • 04-03-13

Eleanor Rigby meets Dr. Kevorkian

"all the lonely people, where do they all come from"..... I kept thinking of the lines of the Beatles song while listening to this book. This book was very sad and gets into the mind of a very sick person, not for those with a weak stomach. Despite the grisly details, what stands out for me in this book is just how lonely people are in this modern world and how easy it is to give up the will to exist in such an isolated state. Definately thought provoking and disturbing.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Janet
  • 16-03-13

Did not finish listening

Would you try another book from Elizabeth Haynes and/or Karen Cass?

I found the writing crass and confusing jumping around to different people. I would probably not try another one of these books.

Has Human Remains turned you off from other books in this genre?

No possibly the writer does better at other times.

Have you listened to any of Karen Cass’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I loved the narrators job, her accent and intonations were great!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment and disgust at all the "wanking" and other such terms found in the book.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful