Book Review // Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

Book Review // Perfect Remains by Helen FieldsPerfect Remains by Helen Fields
Series: D.I. Callanach #1
Published by HarperCollins UK on September 15th 2016
Rating: five-stars
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Thrillers, Crime, Suspense, Psychological, General
Pages: 400

’Must read!’ Closer
‘I love, love, LOVE Perfect Remains!’ Reader review
‘A superb debut!’ Reader review
On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.
In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness...
Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.
It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes ... The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.
Fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

Perfect Remains is one of the few crime books I’ve read recently that doesn’t fall into the same category as every other thriller out there. I genuinely thought I was getting sick of crime thrillers because they’re all so same-y, so it’s a nice breath of fresh air when an author writes a crime book instead of a thriller. Don’t get me wrong, Perfect Remains is still thrilling, but there’s no unreliable narrator or stupid ending that makes you want to smash your face against a brick wall because it just leaves you with no closure. A lot of the reviews on Amazon, from Vine Readers, complain about how gory the book is. Now, this makes me roll my eyes. It’s a crime book. There’s going to be deaths. The synopsis mentions Elaine Buxton burning, then says the *real* Elaine Buxton is screaming into darkness, so I mean, howay. WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING? IT’S A BOOK ABOUT A KILLER. It’s going to be a bit gory. Maybe I have a stronger stomach than most, but I didn’t find it unnecessarily or gratuitously gory. The scenes weren’t over the top, they weren’t pleasant, but they hardly had me vomiting into a bucket. So if you don’t like even a bit of gore this isn’t for you.

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed Perfect Remains. I loved the plot, it was clever, and new, fresh, something that hadn’t been done before. The characters were interesting – DI Callanach has an intriguing back story, being French-Scottish and trying to get used to the Scottish weather and re-acclimatising, but not only that he has to put up with angry underlings, who are fuming he got the DI job, instead of promoting within. I liked DI Callanach. I thought he was thorough with his investigation and because of how meticulous the killer was, he couldn’t have done any more than he did. I also loved PC Tripp. He’s adorable! With his “sir”s and being like a teacher’s pet, but a likeable teacher’s pet. Is there going to be a romance between Ava and Luc? Probably. How do I feel about that? It depends how it happens – Luc is clearly still troubled with everything in his past, so I wouldn’t want them to rush into anything, and I kind of like that they’re friends and I don’t see why it always has to be more. But I loved Ava, I thought she was head-strong, knew her own mind, and I like that in a woman.

I really liked the plot. On the one hand it was soooooooooo frustrating, because we, the reader, knew who it was, and what was happening and all about the girls not really being dead so it was like intensely frustrating every time the police hit a wall, or didn’t know what to do. But it was such a good plot. The writing was tight, tense and woven very, very well. It reminded me, genuinely, of the early Rizzoli & Isles books by Tess Gerritsen. The Surgeon remains one of my absolute favourite books of all time and Perfect Remains is right up there with it. It just hit all the right notes, which is so good.

I am so, so excited for Perfect Prey and absolutely over the moon we don’t have to wait too long for book two! I am most definitely a Callanach convert. This is a brilliant debut novel that just did everything right – from the plot, to the characters, to the twists and turns, it was like being on a roller-coaster. It may not be for everyone, but I loved it.


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