Dr David Hunter is a forensic anthropologist with a tragic past who is embroiled in a series of macabre killings and ultimately haunted by the mystery of death.
Beckett’s commitment to authenticity makes the reading of this series eerily accurate and crime fans who lavish in the forensic detail will feel most at home.
If you enjoy piecing together the gruesome evidence and are keen to read crime fiction from an alternative perspective then this series is for you.
Simon Beckett’s Dr David Hunter books in order:
Finding refuge in a quiet rural backwater, Dr David Hunter hoped he might at last have put the past behind him. But then they found what was left of Sally Palmer…
It isn’t just that she was a friend that disturbs him. Once he’d been a high-profile forensic anthropologist and all too familiar with the many faces of death, before tragedy made him abandon this previous life. Now the police want his help. But to become involved will stir up memories he’s long tried to forget. Then a second woman disappears, plunging the close-knit community into a maelstrom of fear and paranoia. And no one, not even Hunter, is exempt from suspicion.
As a favour to a colleague, Dr David Hunter is on the remote Hebridean island of Runa to inspect a grisly discovery. He’s familiar with death in all its guises but is shocked by what he finds: a body, incinerated but for the feet and a single hand. It appears to be a textbook case of spontaneous human combustion. The local police are certain it’s an accidental death, but Hunter is not convinced. Examining the scorched remains, he finds evidence that this was no accident; this was murder.
And as the isolated community considers the enormity of Hunter’s findings, a catastrophic storm hits the island. The power goes down, communication with the outside world ceases – and the killing begins in earnest.
The victim has been bound and tortured, the body decomposed beyond recognition.
Then a second body is found, and a nightmare is about to begin. A serial killer is at work and the death toll is rising. And for forensics expert David Hunter, it’s become a terrifying race against time.
When DI Terry Connor turns up on David Hunter’s doorstep, it’s an unwelcome reminder of the past in more ways than one. The two used to be friends before Connor’s behaviour caused a bitter rift. And the news the policeman brings is even less welcome: the psychotic rapist and murderer Jerome Monk has escaped from high-security prison.
Monk’s is a name all too familiar to Hunter. Eight years before he’d part of an ill-fated Body Recovery team assembled to try and find the graves of Monk’s teenage victims on the bleak expanse of Dartmoor. Only one of the missing girls’ bodies was ever found, and Monk’s own controversial involvement in the search led to more failure and a violent denouement. And now Monk is on the loose – and seems to be targeting anyone involved with the original search.
Then Hunter receives a mysterious appeal for help from Sophie Keller, a young woman who also worked on the operation, he suddenly finds that the past is far from dead and buried. Neither the events unfolding now, nor those from all those years ago, are quite as they seem. And as the maniac’s bloody trail edges ever closer, Hunter is forced to question who he can really trust. Especially when his own life depends on it…
David Hunter is facing an uncertain future – his career hangs in the balance and his personal life has taken a turn for the worse. So when he gets a call from Essex police, it comes at the perfect time.
A badly decomposed body has been found in the mudflats and salt marshes of the Backwaters. Could it be linked to two unsolved missing-person cases?
But then more remains are discovered. And as these desolate wetlands begin to give up their grisly secrets, Hunter is reminded that it’s not the dead we need to fear.
There you have it – Simon Beckett’s David Hunter books in order. How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below!