Elizabeth Haynes, a police intelligence analyst in England, has written a story which is so creepy that the reader may not be able to put it down.
"Human Remains" (Harper, 447 pages), which includes a preview of her fourth novel, "Under a Silent Moon," is a modern nightmare which centers on two socially awkward and isolated characters - Annabel Hayer and Colin Friedland.
The story is told largely through these two, frankly odd, individuals who are loners and share a common bond of bearing the responsibility for an elderly parent.
Annabel is a police analyst working for the Briarstone police force. After finding her neighbor's decomposed body, she does a computer search and finds an alarming number of people who had died alone and whose bodies had not been discovered for quite awhile.
When her mother dies from a stroke, Annabel, is sent into an emotional, downward spiral. A chance encounter with a friendly man outside a shopping center reinforces her peculiar belief in angels.
But Annabel has not met a benevolent being. She has come into the path of Colin, a psychopath driven by his obsession with human decomposition and who targets despondent individuals.
Elizabeth Haynes poses the question "How well do you know your neighbors?" in this nightmarish thriller which highlights the dangers of being alone in a world with predators while making a marvelous case for the practice of cremation.