Written by Elizabeth Haynes

Review written by Angela Hatherell

RRP: £7.99
Released: 14th February 2013
Pbk Original

This is a hefty, intriguing read. The two main protagonists are seriously weird.  Anabel, a police analyst, overweight, socially insecure, mocked behind her back by her colleagues, believes in angels.  Colin, a council worker, is massively intelligent, can read body language, studies more and more academic subjects, and can influence suggestible people.

One evening Anabel, living on her own, notices an unpleasant smell. She tracks it down to the house next door, where she finds a body, long dead and decomposing. Researching, she discovers, that over the previous few months, there has been a much larger than usual number of decaying dead bodies in the town. Her bosses think nothing of it, but she persists in continuing her research.

Meanwhile we come across Colin - Colin is conducting what he looks on as  his crusade to help lonely people to end their unhappy lives. He believes that what he is doing is right and proper. He finds people living on their own who have suffered loss, who have nothing to live for, and persuades them calmly and reasonably that it is right for them just to give up, to stop eating, and just lie down and die. His powers of persuasion are strong and hypnotic, and are always successful.  After each event we learn from the dead person their reason for dying. Colin's motive is to feed his curiosity about the processes of decay: he visits his victims and notes the various degrees in the process.

Anabel's life has been disrupted by the death of her overbearing, demanding mother, and she is confused and disoriented, and an encounter with Colin becomes inevitable. From now on the story gathers momentum: gradually the Police become interested, Colin stalks Anabel, and Anabel meets Sam, a young reporter who is covering the story. Colin is moving in on Anabel, but she is saved by a "chance" meeting with Sam, who has been protectively shadowing her. The rest of the book deals with Anabel's and Sam's research, the gradual involvement of the Police, the trapping of Colin, and .... no, you should read it yourself. But perhaps not if you are at all squeamish.

The author has worked as a police analyst, and is spot on with police procedure. She has also studied NLP( neuro-linguistic programming) which is the technique used by Colin in his mind-influencing. On the whole I found this book thought-provoking and very enjoyable.

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