cover image The Naturalist

The Naturalist

Andrew Mayne. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (410p) ISBN 978-1-4778-2424-5

This smoothly written suspense novel from Thriller Award–finalist Mayne (Station Breaker) stars professor Theo Cray, who’s an expert in the field of computational biology (finding patterns in apparent chaos) but lacks the most basic skills at human interaction. When an ex-student of his, Juniper Parsons, turns up horribly mauled in the Montana woods, Cray becomes a suspect in her murder. The police eventually decide that a bear killed Parsons, but Cray believes that she was the victim of an eerily cunning serial killer. An analysis of the pattern of missing persons in the area over the past decade convinces Cray that there were many more victims, and he thinks he knows how to find them. But every time he digs up a body, the police suspect him of having put it there. The action builds to a predictable if nonetheless exciting confrontation between Cray and his foe, and scientific detail lends verisimilitude. Agent: Erica Spellman-Silverman, Trident Media Group. (Sept.)