Murder Theory

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Andrew Mayne once again delivers a taut thriller featuring Dr, Theo Cray.  This investigation leads to gruesome murders, unexpected criminals, and a very big twist causing the mayhem.  I thoroughly enjoyed this read that was terribly difficult to put down!
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I had a great time reading this book and now I am looking forward to reading more books by the same author. Many many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for granting me access to this eARC.
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Entertaining and creepy.  A very intriguing cover which was what initially piqued my interest I jumped right in to it. Not only is the cover art strangely mesmerising and a little bit creepy, but the story contained within its pages is even more compelling. For once in a long time, the artwork reflects or hints towards the ominous atmosphere that builds up and surrounds you with each new turning of the page. Looking forward to more from Andrew Mayne!
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For someone who keeps reminding us of how intelligent and superior he is, Theo Cray really does some dumb shit. I did enjoy this book (3rd in the series) and the second one too, especially because they're science-y, but I didn't *love* them as much as the first one. Even though I had an ARC, I listened/read this on Kindle Unlimited. I really appreciate when authors put the audio up on KU. Now, I'm off to the 4th book in the series, Dark Pattern.

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a copy of the ARC.
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I love this series a lot! The first book was a solid 5 star for me and I was so happy to see a nerdy characters solving murders using logic and software. I honestly had so much fun reading it and found his oblivious but brilliant character so charming! Unfortunately for me, Murder Theory was a bit of a letdown. While I got to read only the eARC and not really the finished version, I doubt that any small changes to the text would change my rating.

Theo came off rather arrogant and a bit full of himself, and where on the other books I found him sweet and charming, in this book he just went completely rogue and seemed a very different character from the one I remembered. It's possible I read the other two books too long ago and remember them differently, but this one made me cringe a lot. I just couldn't see Theo actually doing the things he did - especially sidelining Jillian so much! At some point I did expect her to break things off with him.

I also had a bit of an issue with how the women of the book and the men are described and treated slightly different - there's always clothes description for the women and a judgement on their beauty. I normally roll my eyes at that and let it slide, but it's a bit annoying for sure.

It's also such a verbose book, the actual plot feels very short if you take out all the monologues inside Theo's head all the time. It felt a little bit pedantic to be told in detail about certain cases, about procedures, about statistics etc. It was a bit too much and made the reading not quite as quick and fluent, but rather broken by these intermissions of explaining things a lot.

Otherwise, I did enjoy the story overall, hence my 3 star rating. I am not sure at this point I'll continue with the series, considering I'm trying to get my TBR as trim as possible, but maybe! Perhaps the next book will put Jillian in a more central position as she deserves!
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Number 3 in this series and a thriller as much as any other. I love the merger of processes in these books that was certainly highlighted here. This was a great conclusion to this saga and would recommend this author in the future. Great page-turner.

#MurderTheory #NetGalley
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MURDER THEORY (Suspense-Theo Cray-Georgia-Contemp) - Okay
  	Mayne, Andrew – 3rd in series
  	Thomas & Mercer – Feb 2019
First Sentence:  The helpless man in the wheelchair thrilled him.
  	Dr. Theo Cray is a computational biologist.  He has also built a reputation with the FBI as a hunter of serial killers and has been called upon to fulfill that role again.  At the site of Cray's previous case, an agent with no history of violence has murdered two of his colleagues.  Once captured, others note that he's not the same as he was, and the change is beyond his commission of the acts.  But this isn't the only incident of violence on the site. As Theo investigates, he recognizes that he's up against someone as talented as he is and finds himself crossing the line in an effort to stop a killer.
  	Prologues, even when not so named and no matter how suspenseful, are a device unnecessary to a good book. There is no reason why this book could not have started with the first chapter, which is interesting and makes one suspicious of Q-Tips.
  	One of the attributes of Mayne's writing is his observations about people and human nature—"In parts of Africa even today, "witch children,” boys and girls born with albinism or other uncommon features, are treated as outcasts and killed for their supposed magical powers. … To be sure, it's one thing to murder a child for having different genders and another to make a joke at the expense of someone who is dealing with a handicap, but they're both acts of cruelty and dehumanization.'  The comparison of the two killers in Mayne's previous two Cray books is fascinating and thought provoking.  It also leads to the age-old question—"Do you believe in evil?".
  	There is quite a lot of geek-speak and scientific information.  One may either focus on it and learn some rather fascinating bits of information, or one may choose to skim through it and still pick up rather fascinating bits of information.  Either way, one must pay attention as these passages can lead to sudden realization and/or twists.
  	It's nice when a character who starts out as a bit of an antagonist becomes an ally.  It disrupts the stereotypes.  The fact that in the midst of an investigation, Cray indulges in profanity which makes him very human and very real.
  	Reading Mayne is not for the weak of stomach or heart.  What offsets it, however, is understanding that his character is operating for the greater good and that he has a conscience when he crosses a line—"Um, God, uh, forgive me for not believing. And forgive me for what I'm about to do.  Uh, may they all rest in peace."  We do also get flashes of Mayne's humor—"I look up to the sky as if I'm expecting Morgan Freeman to look down at me and wink, giving me his approval."
  	When Mayne creates a plot twist, it's a serious twist.  Unfortunately, the climax is a bit too fantastical.  Theo's co-rescuers are opportune and improbable, yet there is a great deal of humor among the suspense. 
  	"Murder Theory" is, sadly, not Mayne's best book.  But, between the unnecessary prologue and the nearly wall-banging last sentence, there are some good characters, and breath-catching suspense.
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A virus that turns normal everyday Joe's into a murderer? Sign me up! I loved this book!
Dr. Theo Cray is not a cop, detective, or F.B.I. He's a sometime teacher, who also works in a lab. He's good with numbers and computational stuff that boggles my mind. He occasionally finds murderers that others can't find, or sometimes don't even know are active. But, Theo sees patterns that others can't see. It makes for one heck of a ride! I also enjoy that he's always spouting facts. It's all very informative and never boring.
This book wasn't as scary as the last book, but it's definitely one worth reading. I'm looking forward to the next. Author Andrew Mayne is someone I'd be willing to bet is either fascinating to talk to, or very long winded! My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book.
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An absolutely unputdownable crime thriller that will have you up all night! If you love how Andrew Mayne weaves a detailed and,  intricate plot,  you’re guaranteed to be hooked from page one.
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Murder Theory is a great thriller that kept me turning the pages. This was the third book, but the first I have read and I will be sure to read the others. I would recommend this to others.
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Really enjoyed this installment of the Theo Cray saga! I was invested in the story almost right from the first chapter. I feel like we get to see Theo grow up a bit in Murder Theory and really take a hard look at his life (with Jillian's help). And the slight cliff hanger at the end was an awesome way to end it... gave me some chills.

*received a free copy courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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This was not only an entertaining read but also an educational one. I love nothing more than reading fiction and learning a thing or two from it at the same time. I thought at first that the author must have had some type of a scientist background, which doesn’t appear to be so in the author’s description. Clearly, a lot of research must have been done to produce a work like this, making it a commendable effort.

The story is refreshing with the hero being a computational biologist than the usual police/detective character. It was nice seeing from that point of view of how a civilian bypasses the inefficiencies of red tape and bureaucracy to hunt down the killer, albeit with the most questionable methods. However in my honest opinion, I thought that the faking of the Butcher Creek crime scene is not realistic at all, and downplays the prowess of police/FBI. 

Overall, this really reminds me of Robin Cook’s books, which are also medical thrillers with the doctor as the crime solver. Fans of this book will love the way Cook covers stronger and more intricate scientific facts.

In conclusion, this book is well written and well executed. So far, it is the first and only NetGalley book to score a 5 from me.
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The third book in the series and just as enjoyable as the previous two. 
I thoroughly recommend this book.
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Dr. Theo Cray has found two serial killers that no one - including the authorities - even believed existed.  It's paid off and he's become a government contractor and head of his own research lab.  Now he's been asked to unofficially consult on a bizarre double murder that has taken place at the site of the body dump for the Toy Man - a crime scene tech working the scene has disappeared, his two co-workers were murdered.  Once he's found, his MRI reveals a bizarre degradation of his frontal lobe and Dr. Cray has a theory that something was done to deliberately turn him into a killer. 

The FBI doesn't buy his theory, so Dr. Cray is off to hunt another killer - this time, one whose weapon of choice appears to be whoever he chooses to turn into a killer. 

I found Murder Theory an engaging, quick read and enjoyed the story.  Four stars instead of five because of a few minor plot points I found to be implausible, but Murder Theory is a fast-paced, enjoyable third installment to the Naturalist series.
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I did not read the first two books so I had trouble getting in the characters. I will have to go back to the first book to see if that helps.
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Solid story, but missing the creepy factor I loved from the other books. This is the 3rd book in The Naturalist series and while it is still enjoyable, it is my least favorite. 

Basic Plot: Dr. Theo Cray finds himself embroiled in another case of trying to find a serial killer. He is just coming off finding the Toy Man and now something bad has happened at the site of the Toy Man's killing ground. A couple people are dead and a forensic tech is a suspect. The tech would normally be the least likely person to be suspected of violence, but Theo suspects that something or someone has altered his brain. And whatever caused a violent streak in this tech, might be effecting others.

Starting with the positive, I really like the Theo character. He is smart and quirky and doesn't shy away from getting involved in some dangerous situations. The science element that is added to these books is really interesting and it's what makes these books different from other crime mysteries. I often find myself trying to decide whether the science stuff is real or even possible and for me, it's kind of fun. 

In this book, Theo finds himself breaking a lot of rules in his quest to find out what is driving people to violence. Some of what he does just isn't well thought out. I am ok with some reaching in order to drive the plot and make a good story, but Theo is super smart and it just didn't add up. My biggest disappointment with this book is that the book just doesn't have the scare factor or creep factor of the other books. Without the creepy factor there was just a lot of inner Theo monologues and a lot of sciencey (making up a word) stuff. The sciencey stuff works out well when it is balanced with the proper amount of creepy...but, just not enough creepy in this one. 

Overall, I like this author and this character and I would read another Theo Cray book...hopefully one with a lot more creepiness.
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Intelligent, Dark, and Suspenseful! 

Murder Theory is a tightly wound thriller with an intriguing lead. 

Dr. Theo Cray, a computational biologist, uses science and the darkness he carries within, to catch serial killers. I can’t say much about the plot of Murder Theory without giving spoilers, but I can say without giving anything away that Theo is the only person smart enough to identify and track down the killer. He breaks laws, pisses off the higher-ups, and puts himself in danger all in the effort to save lives. 

This is book three in the series, but the first for me. It can be read as a standalone--I was not lost or longing for additional information. Sufficient background on Theo and his previous cases are provided.

I really enjoyed this book. In the beginning, I was more than a little overwhelmed by the scientific theory and questioned whether or not to stick with it, as much was going straight over my head. It is very well-written and clear that Mayne has done his research, but I am just not a huge fan of scientific theory. I also, at first, thought the plot was a little too farfetched. However, I persevered and I am so glad that I did!

Theo’s character won me over. He is both arrogant and fascinating. His arrogance is not off-putting, rather it worked to build my confidence in his ability to catch the bad guy and save humanity!

Overall, this is a well-written and smart read with an ending that left me wanting more! 

Thank you to all of my GR friends who brought this book to my attention! 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review.
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"I am not a Minion of Evil. I am Upper Management." (Unknown)

Andrew Mayne has sliced open quite the watermelon here. Thickly separated into juicy portions with a trail of sticky seeds.

Dr. Theo Cray wears his newly found reputation of serial killer killer like an impressive tattoo. It ventures into a dark universe well beyond his usual territory of computational biologist. Mayne introduced us to Theo in The Naturalist which is the first book in this series. I had Looking Glass #2 up at bat, but so like me on Christmas morning, I couldn't wait and jumped into Murder Theory #3. Mayne fills in the missing pieces with just enough backstory.

Our story begins with a crew of FBI forensic agents sifting through the crime scene in the aftermath of a previous serial killer. The agents have reported flu-like symptoms. Two of them die within days and one of them goes missing. Eventually the agent shows up, but everything about him seems altered. An MRI will reveal something jaw-dropping.

Theo runs his own government backed lab in Austin, Texas. He's been known to fly aboard a State Department jet now and then to investigate hush hush sites. Theo had even been presented with the challenge of pursuing a common genetic thread for terrorists. Mayne ladles on mighty layers of scientific secret sauce within these pages. Never fear.......his explanations are thought-provoking and easily understood while avoiding the deer-in-the-headlights look. It's amazing to think of the scientific horizons within arm's length for the future in crime investigation.

Is it the nature of the beast to become a monster without even realizing it or is it a so-called fine art gleaned from experiential life episodes? Andrew Mayne will crack the door open a bit and we, as readers, step into this bizarro world at a fast pace. If you get a chance to pick up The Naturalist, this will set the tone. Murder Theory ends with a gasp.......and we'll be hyperventilating until the next one gets here. Hunka Munka time, People.

I received a copy of Murder Theory through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Andrew Mayne for the opportunity.
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I loved this book and the cliffhanger ending - wow!!! It was my first read by this author and I will definitely return to read more from him. The biology  jargon got a little deep for me at times, but it was easy to move past it into the meaty details of the plot. Well done!
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The nitty-gritty: Mayne continues his series about computational scientist/serial murder catcher Dr. Theo Cray, with another stellar entry that will terrify readers with its “what if?” premise.

Well, Andrew Mayne has done it again. Damn these stories are so much fun! I decided on a whim to pick up Murder Theory over the weekend and raced through it in only two days. If you’re new to The Naturalist series, Dr. Theo Crane is one of the most complex, intelligent and maddening protagonists I’ve ever run across. Maddening because he’s almost too smart for his own good and has a way of getting himself into a heap of trouble, even as he’s trying to do the right thing. Theo has a habit of hunting down serial killers—by himself, since most of the time his theories are so out there that the police don’t believe him—and this is what makes Mayne’s stories so good.

Theo has his own government-funded lab now and has hired top people to help him run it. He’s been tasked by his boss General Figueroa to come up with technology that can determine someone who might have “terrorist genes,” but in reality Theo is concentrating on his own personal projects. When the story begins, Theo has just found out about a strange murder that's been discovered at the site of the Toy Man murders, Theo’s last harrowing adventure from Looking Glass. Three lab techs were taking samples from the site and doing follow-up work, but now two of them are dead and one is missing. Theo is reluctant to revisit the site where he recently went through so much trauma, but he agrees to help out.

When the missing tech turns up, a man named Daniel Marcus, it’s clear to Theo that he killed the other two techs. But how to prove it? When the FBI interrogates Marcus, there’s something off about him, which puts Theo on a circuitous path to find out what made Marcus go crazy and turn on his friends. With the help of an FBI agent from D.C., Theo gets down to business, utilizing his unorthodox scientific methods to solve the crime. But as the clues are revealed, Theo realizes that they have an extremely intelligent killer on their hands, and in order to beat him, Theo is going to have to prove that he’s even smarter.

You really don’t need to read the other two books in the series to enjoy Murder Theory, as it stands alone quite nicely. However, Mayne does reference events and characters from those books, so new readers might stumble a bit. For example, in the first book, The Naturalist, Theo’s girlfriend Jillian plays a big part in the story, and while she does make an appearance or two in this book, she’s mostly in the background. New readers may wonder “who is Jillian?” because Mayne doesn’t rehash the past (thankfully!), but readers of the previous books will appreciate these brief scenes, which show Jillian’s snarky sense of humor and her ability to put up with such a wild card of a boyfriend.

Once again, Mayne adds lots of fascinating scientific details relating to the murders, and this time the plot revolves around viruses. Every time I read stories about viruses I’m reminded of how terrifying they are, and this book scared me to death! Mayne resorts to info-dumping at times in all his books, but it never bothers me because I learn so much. The reader follows his thought processes as he solves the mysteries of the murders, and trust me when I say that Theo’s mind is an intriguing place to visit.

But as smart as he is, Theo lacks the ability to stop himself from doing some crazy shit. There is one scene in this book that went WAY over the top from Theo’s behavior in the previous books, so much so that I almost started laughing. Ultimately it moved the story forward, but it was very hard to suspend my disbelief. Theo’s actions are becoming more and more risky as the books progress, so again, new readers might be shocked by his flagrant disregard for the law, especially since he’s such a high profile person now, famous in his own right for solving some “unsolvable” murders.

I also thought the ending wasn’t quite up to par with the first two books, in regards to the excitement and tension that I’ve come to expect from Mayne. That’s not to say that it wasn’t exciting, but for some reason it felt a bit flat to me. There is a WTF twist at the end, however, that made me wonder what Mayne will do in the next book. I guess time will tell!

Overall, I just love this series. Andrew Mayne continues to impress me with his near perfect pacing, vivid characterizations and the sheer amount of scientific detail that he smoothly inserts into an action-packed story.

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
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