In the thriller Human Remains we meet one of our most unlikely of heroes. One night, police analyst Annabel Hayer finds the decomposed body of her next-door neighbor laying in a state of decay, after being undisturbed for several months in her living room. Upon further research, part morbid curiosity and part vocational habit, Annabel discovers there have been 24 bodies found in similar conditions in her hometown just that year. This prompts our lonely, middle age and overweight, socially awkward hero Annabel to look dangerously into the trends around these mysterious deaths.
Annabel–oh Annabel, who lives alone with her cat, whose only other social interaction is with her ill mother, running her errands and cooking her dinner–is a social pariah, especially within police HQ, with its high school-ish blend of snark. Oh, I believe we’ve all been there, at some point or another, and it makes you root even harder for her. Annabel is looking for angels, angels to lift her up out of the sinkhole of loneliness and sorrow that is her life. And when the angel finds her, will he be who she hopes he will be – an angel of mercy?
Elizabeth Haynes narrates Human Remains from the point of view of her characters, and most uniquely, the dead. Each of the 24 found decomposing in their homes has a different story to tell, with one recurring theme of loneliness and despair. Who are these people, how did they die, and are all these deaths linked? And does our heroine, her wits matched against those who prey against people at their weakest moments, prevail? A lot of questions, I know, but Haynes answers them all and more to our chilling delight in this novel.