Author: Andrew Mayne
Rating: 4 Stars
Review By: Shana
A bit of a twist on the typical murder mystery, employing an atypical nascent detective. Mayne has created a main character who blends social naivete and occasional ineptitude with a brilliantly analytical mind. Professor Theo Cray is a computational biologist, and uses mathematics and computers to uncover biological nuances in species, environments, and the like. After a former student of his is killed while doing research in Montana (while Theo happens to be in Montana), he is drawn into the mystery of her brutal demise.
Theo starts out as the police's main suspect and his awkward manner, strange detachment, and lack of social graces make him seem all the more likely. In his interrogation he reacts in non-stereotypical ways that hint at his coming need to figure out what happened. Though he begins as prime suspect, he is quickly released in favor of a new suspect -- a bear. But Theo isn't convinced. His genius intellect and knack for seeing patterns has been sparked and what follows is his nontraditional investigation to find out what happened.
For nerdy readers, it is good fun to see the ways Theo uses disparate data and an inquisitive mind to question what the authorities have taken as true. While Mayne has perhaps belabored the willing ignorance of the authorities a touch too much, and lent a bit too heavily on Theo's brilliance (not to mention luck), the book is still an entertaining ride. Part scientific vigilante on CSI steroids. The book is set up for a sequel (already published) and a third book in the trilogy is due out in early 2019. A good read for the forensically nerdy sort, or those that like their killers clever and bestial, and their (eventual climactic) action bloody and final.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...