The Scent of Death

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

While it may be helpful (and interesting) to have read the previous David Hunter novels it’s not essential. A well-crafted, occasionally spooky thriller with enough angst and action to make it a worthwhile read if you like the genre.
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This book is the 6th instalment in the David Hunter series of books. Although it's the first book I'm reading in this series, it worked well as a standalone for me. The backstory was easy to follow and you'll get straightaway into the crime scene and the investigation that follows.

A short brief about David Hunter for the newbees to the series: David is a forensic anthropologist who assists the police in their investigation as a Medical Examiner. His wife and daughter were killed in a car crash and he is still reeling from it. Meanwhile, David has a psychopathic stalker lady who haunts him during his dark hours. Currently, he is in a relationship that is still in its initial stages. His work keeps him occupied and spends most of his time in the morgue or at his new high security house in London.

So St.Jude's hospital is being demolished since it's too old and abandoned. That's when the mummified remains are found walled up inside the old hospital and Dr.Hunter is called to the scene. It doesn't take much time for David to examine the bones and determine that they're of a young female's and that she was pregnant when she died.

With this discovery, the media explodes putting more pressure on the Police and the investigating crew including Hunter, and his SIO Sharon Ward. To make matters worse, the roof of the hospital falls down to reveal two more bodies strapped to their beds for God knows how long. Who are these people and how did they end up here? Is a larger sinister force at work in the abandoned hospital? You must read to find out!

Simon Beckett proves his expertise in writing crime fiction with his consistent pace and characteristic developments, without giving away anything to his readers. David Hunter is your everyday guy - suffers from his own issues, takes pressure from his seniors at work, makes mistakes and then realises when it's just gone too far. The atmospheric setting of the hospital and the findings about what the victims have undergone are a little uneasy to read. But I really loved the descriptions about the medical examination throughout the story. It's really a treat for all crime thriller fans to taste in-depth knowledge about the on-going investigation and Simon gives his fans a handful!

I'd totally be adding Simon Beckett to my list and can't wait to read what he writes next! Highly recommended.
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An intriguing storyline which really takes you in depth into its folds but it was a real slow burner to start with and 'hands up' I was so close to giving up 3 or 4 times throughout.

I found that an awful lot of energy was spent on the descriptive text and felt more could have been spent on the actual storyline. At times the scenes felt repetitive and quite basic which can then tend itself to slightly boring.

The forensics within the storyline were written fantastically,  really in depth and perfect for this genre but once again became quite repetitive. 

Because of the repetitive style there was no real build up of suspense, sadly this is a novel that had SO much potential but didnt quite hit the notes I was hoping for.

Must say though... the ending was explosive!!!

Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for the ARC. 

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Forensic expert David Hunter has been called to an abandoned hospital where remains have been found, soon it becomes clear this is bigger than anyone thought when more bodies are found. A full scale investigation is soon launched and David is quickly involved. The case soon becomes more twisted when a friend is rundown and another injured. Plus theres the ever present threat of the woman who stabbed him coming back. 

This was so good. It's actually book 6 in the series but I understood enough without having read the previous books though after this, I'm going back to find them. The plot starts off steady and just builds to what you think is the end before wham theres another twist which caught me completely off guard. The ending was brilliant too. The writing was detailed without being too heavy in the technical detail. David Hunter is an interesting character with a detailed backstory.  I also liked Whelan and Ward they added further depth to his character. A fantastic thriller and well worth a read.
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This is the 6th book in the series featuring Dr David Hunter, a forensic anthropologist working in a university but asked to help the police on occasion.  However, this is the first Simon Beckett book that I have read, so I am very late to the party!  It does make sense as a stand-alone novel, but now I'm wanting to read the precious books and wondering how much I would already know...

This book sees Dr Hunter being called in to an investigation where a body has been found in the loft of an abandoned hospital, St Jude's.  Pitted against a private forensics company that the police have brought in, Hunter has to prove his worth as he uncovers things that impact on the wider investigation that he is being excluded from.  As more bodies are uncovered in the building, Hunter's past continues to haunt him and the stakes are raised as he is put into danger.

I did like this book a lot - it's really well plotted, although the narrative continued long past the denouement of the mystery, which was a bit odd.  It probably all makes more sense if you are invested in Dr Hunter's story from the previous books.  The forensics work was interesting and the characters engaging.  I was slightly deterred by Dr Hunter's tragic past - I'd love to read a mystery without all the emotional baggage of the investigator, but this is a personal opinion - I know others like a tortured soul fighting his own demons even before the bodies start stacking up!

I'd recommend this if you enjoy police procedurals with a forensic focus.  It will keep you reading long into the night and is properly creepy in places.  Perhaps best to start with the first book in the series if you think this might be a writer you would like.
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What a good story.  The plot is gripping right from the start and the action moves along at a fairly cracking pace.  The phrase "couldn't put it down" is a cliché but in this case it was true because I just kept on reading until I finished the book.  Highly recommended.
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The scent of death is a clever character-driven thriller written by Simon Beckett. It is a fast-paced drama with just amount of forensic information that is interesting and brings the story to life without swamping the reader with too many unpronounceable words or boring details. 

  The story follows our main protagonist David Hunter who I found to be a very likeable and relatable character. He has a detailed and heartbreaking backstory that gave him great depth as a character.

I must admit that this is my first outing with this author but it will most certainly not be my last. I pan to go back to the beginning and read all the books that preceded those in this series and his stand-alone books.

I found The Scent of death to be well-written and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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I had previously read three books in this series some years ago and was delighted to become reacquainted with Dr. David Hunter. A derelict hospital is due to be demolished when a mummified body is discovered in an old loft. David Hunter, a forensic anthropologist is brought in to find the answers that a dead body can disclose to an expert. As the body begins to reveal its secrets an accident occurs and leads to events that open the inquiry up to a whole new level and a murder investigation begins. Liaising with detectives Ward and Whelan, Hunter’s eye for detail begins to produce more questions than answers and the hunt for the murderer is most certainly not straightforward. With a wonderful insight into the complexities of forensic science and with twists aplenty, the story slowly develops to a final devastating crescendo. A clever story but with hints that shouted their truth to me, I felt this wasn’t quite as good as some of the earlier books in the series and I felt that David had become more arrogant. That said, I did enjoy the story and wouldn’t hesitate reading another by this very thorough author.
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I was given a copy of The Scent of Death by  NetGalley for review purposes. This is the first time I have read any of Simon Beckett's novels and, whilst I enjoyed the book on the whole I did find the slow burn of the story a bit too slow at times. Overall it's a well written, well crafted thriller but I found David Hunter a bit too angst ridden for my liking.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for allowing me to review an advance copy of this book.

'Only desperation would bring anyone here now.'

A mummified body is found in a derelict hospital and Dr Hunter is brought in to help solve the mystery.
Soon, what seems a straightforward investigation becomes anything but and there are plenty twists and turns to keep you guessing.

This book is part of the Dr David Hunter series but I haven't read any of them before so wasn't familiar with the main characters. However, I still enjoyed the book and found the plot very well researched and interesting. It is a bit gruesome in parts but the title should be enough of a giveaway! 

The story is well paced and definitely keeps you on your toes. The descriptions are good and you get a real sense of the eerie, deserted feeling around the old hospital.

I didn't really warm to any of the characters but still enjoyed the story. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read the other books in the series.
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A decomposed body is found in the loft of an old hospital and whilst looking for evidence 2 more bodies are found strapped to beds in a sealed off room .Is there a link between these bodies ,who are they and why were they killed? David Hunter is on the case and meets an elderly woman wandering near the hospital and he tries to help her . She has a disabled son at home who is bedbound ., but all is not as it seems . There are many twists in the plot of this story and a number of red herrings . A good read .
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I remember, many moons ago, reading The Chemistry of Death and Written in Bone and thoroughly enjoying them and have always had Simon Beckett on my radar as an author to pick up but alas I seem to have been side-tracked by the sheer plethora of excellent books out there so have sadly missed out on the other books in this series but on starting to read this, it was like putting on a comfy pair of slippers and snuggling down on the sofa (or, in my case whilst on holiday, in front of a swimming pool in the Portuguese sun) and losing a few hours amongst the pages of this gripping book.

The blurb gives an outline of what the story is about so I won't repeat it but what I will say is that it's as good, if not better, as it sounds.  The setting is perfect and provides an additional layer of atmosphere and general creepiness and tension to this excellent book.  The characters are well developed and believable; the details of the forensic side is not over done or too technical that you either get lost or lose interest and the plot development and twists means this is one book that I found hard to put down (cliché I know, but true).

I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this book to lovers of fast-paced thrillers from a different perspective than the usual police-procedurals and don't be put off that this is the 6th in the series as it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

My thanks go to the Publisher via NetGalley for accepting my request for a copy in return for an honest and unbiased review; you have helped to remind me of how good Simon Beckett's work is.
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I loved this book, the plot is interesting, the set up well done, the scenario described are, almost, plausible.
The book is well written, based on what, to me, appears to be a well researched subject. The frustrations experienced by the investigators within the story are certainly believable.
the characters are well written and individually plausible playing on may emotions and feelngs we all experience  in some elements of the characters the tings they describe and feel are within us all, love, hate, regret, frustration-they are all there all well intertwined within the story.
The story itself-simple set up which swiftly becomes complex and multi faceted. The twists are introduced, the red herrings all believable within the overall story. For anyone like me who enjoys crime fiction, especially crime fiction with both forensic and procedural twists it is a compelling read, I struggled to put the book down , it kept me awake well into the night.
I'm glad I chose to read it whilst on a sunny holiday,the book is dark!
I am now very keen to read other works by Simon Beckett and hope I enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed this on.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for the chance to read this book for my honest review.
It is the first time I have met David Hunter but  I can't wait for more encounters with him. The Scent of Death drew you in with all the smells of a wet London and a decaying hospital. The descriptions were so good you could believe that you were there which is what a good book should do. It was a little slow to start but once it gets going things happen one after the other fairly quickly but the last few chapters still manage to surprise you bringing an end to more  than one of David's relationships.
Look forward to reading what David does next.
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Good tale, I've not read any of this series before but I definitely will after this one. 

engaging characters and a solid police procedural.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and found the finale to be a surprisingly good twist to the tale. Definitely recommended to those readers who enjoy reading this type of book.
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Dr David Hunter's seems to be getting his life back on track.  He's back working with the police and although his girlfriend is off to Greece as a Marine Biologist for three months, their relationship is good.  You just know that there'll be a but, if not there wouldn't be a story.  It's a good story too, well told and entertaining - in a grim sort of way.  

Loved it.

I received a free advance review copy from Netgalley.  This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.
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My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, for the ARC.
What an absolutely fascinating and engaging read.  The writing is excellent; the characters are really believable; the atmosphere created is chillingly menacing - couldn't put it down!  This is the 6th book in the series but easily read as a standalone as the author cleverly weaves-in pertinent threads from past to present.

St Jude's Infirmary has started to be demolished.  The hospital's most recent use has been as a shelter for the homeless and a dealing den for addicts.  There's lots of controversy over its redevelopment as office space because its locality is in an area of high deprivation in London where new homes are thought be a priority.  A Bat Preservation Society has halted the progress of demolition (bats being a protected species), not least of all because their inspection of the old infirmary's loft space has led to the discovery of a mummified body up there.

Dr David Hunter is a forensic anthropologist.  He abandons his dinner with girlfriend Rachel when he's called to St Jude's on a Sunday evening by DCI Sharon Ward following the discovery.  During their deliberations in the loft part of the structure collapses, opening up a hidden ward of 3 beds..............2 of which are occupied by mummified bodies!

Running the gauntlet of an unstable demolition contractor on the verge of bankruptcy; a private forensic contractor engaged to examine the pair of bodies in the ward, and a vocal activist against the redevelopment, Dr Hunter is determined to find answers.
St Jude's has more gruesome and shocking secrets yet to be revealed.
And what an ending! - didn't expect that at all!

Thoroughly recommended.
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During the demolition of a hospital a mummified body is found in the loft ,could it be a homeless person sheltering from the outside world ? 

When several more are found after a ceiling collapse the police alongside Dr David Hunter must identify and discover why.

A very complex investigation but can the dead speak and tell their story

Not read any of this series before but after reading this one i will certainly be catching up
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Thanks to Netgalley and Random House UK for providing this ARC in return for an honest review.

Dr. David Hunter, a forensic anthropologist, is called to St. Jude's Royal Infirmary, an abandoned hospital, where the mummified body of a young woman has been found by a demolition  crew. While examining the remains, an accident occurs which reveals a sealed off room of horrors. The hospital has terrible secrets that are about to be discovered.

The Scent of Death starts off with a fascinating description of a body's decomposition and how the odors change as it progresses. I was hooked from the first page!

This is a fast paced, unpredictable, tension packed story with well developed characters. Hunter is a likable, compassionate man who has known loss, been stalked by a psychopath, and is dealing with a romantic relationship that isn't ideal. He has plenty of personal backstory that ramps up even more tension.

The case is complicated, but not confusing. The forensic descriptions were thorough, but easily understood. I love graphic descriptions and details, and enjoy abnormal psychology, and this book delivered both brilliantly!
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