This is an excellent and thought-provoking book, essentially about loneliness. Annabel is a police intelligence analyst (as is Elizabeth Haynes) who discovers a dead body in the house next door, in a bad state of decomposition. She takes a casual look, for interest, at the statistics of people who die alone and discovers an alarming number of people found in a state of decomposition in her home town of Briarstone, and alerts her bosses at the police station to the fact. Initially her ideas are dismissed, but as the deaths continue to be discovered, she falls victim herself after a sudden bereavement in her family.
I loved the way that this story was told, in the first person narrative, alternating between Annabel, a lonely, overweight woman who lives with her cat and thinks that her work colleagues constantly laugh at her behind her back, and Colin, a truly creepy character who appears seemingly normal on the outside, but has obvious issues with people and friendships, not to mention rather morbid fascinations. And mixed in are the voices of the dead, each a study in the various ways that people end up alone without people to watch over them.
This is a very dark thriller, that lingers in your mind long after you’ve finished reading it, and confirms Elizabeth Haynes as a must-read author for me. I’m already waiting for her next book…