Written in Bone
by Simon Beckett
(Delacorte Press, hardcover, $24)
Simon Beckett’s first book, The Chemistry of Death, is a book that I always recommend to readers who want forensics and a good story and I feel the same way about Written in Bone:
“When I sat down to write a sequel to The Chemistry of Death (Dell Reprint, paperback, $6.99), my first novel to feature British forensic anthropologist Dr David Hunter, my main aim was not to disappoint readers. I knew I had to deliver the same elements that people enjoyed in Hunter’s debut: forensics, mystery, shocks and twists. But at the same time I didn’t want the second book to be too much like the first.
(The Chemistry of Death)
Years ago, I could remember reading about something called ‘Spontaneous Human Combustion’, where victims have somehow been incinerated without any of their surroundings being burned. So I began playing with the idea of having Hunter confronted with this apparently inexplicable phenomenon. How could he explain it? How could I, come to that?
That left the question of where the story should be set. I’ve visited several Scottish islands, and been struck by how the small communities that live on them survive amongst all that bleak, windswept beauty. They’re wild and atmospheric, especially in winter, and the idea of Hunter finding himself stranded on one of them with a crazed killer seemed too good to miss. The result was Written in Bone. Hopefully readers will enjoy it just as much as David Hunter’s first outing. And perhaps feel a little shiver the next time they stare into the embers of a dying fire..”