Length: 346 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Back in the word of forensic anthropology, Dr. David Hunter is on his way home to the woman he loves after another assignment. But instead of finding himself on the flight to London, he finds himself crossing an angry sea to the isolated island of Runa – a favor granted to a troubled police officer he’s never met. His discovery of a body completely incinerated save for the feet and one hand that remain absolutely untouched shocks even the experienced anthropologist. Local police insist on the verdict of accidental death, but Hunter feels otherwise. And before he can ask the mainland for help in apprehending a killer that he believes is on the island, an Atlantic storm leaves Runa without power or communication. As the storm rages on, Hunter discovers that, in reality, the peaceful seeming island is far from its image, and that the burned body was only the first of the many works of a very real killer.
Another great read from Simon Beckett, Written in Bone has all the elements of a good mystery/thriller. Although it leans more towards the mystery than the thriller end of things, it has its spooky moments that give the entire story a nice, rounded off feel.
If you’ve read Beckett’s work before, you’ll know just what to expect style-wise and definitely not be disappointed. The book moves along at a great pace and there is always something happening, ensuring that there isn’t a single dull moment. All the characters hold their own, regardless of how minor or major a role they’re playing, and you really get a feel for the place and the mindset of the community that can exist on a remote island. The tension is kept high and the twists may catch you unaware at many points. Given that you develop a kinship with the characters, their turmoils, brought on by these twists, manage to hit home.
On the other hand, if you’ve read enough mysteries, you may find things a bit predictable. Yet, even with its predictability, the story manages to shock and surprise – especially at the end; that isn’t something you’ll really see coming. The story was interesting, much as you’d expect from Beckett, and covers a whole lot of angles that come together quite neatly.
A fast paced, easy read that makes you want to keep turning the pages, Written in Bone is a must read for all fans of Beckett and even for fans of mysteries and thrillers. Although it is the second book in the David Hunter series, it can be read as a stand alone, albeit with a few spoilers for The Chemistry of Death. My suggestion is that you get your hands on the first book in the series and then make your way to Written in Bone, because the series is a great one for lovers of thrillers.