The Naturalist (The Naturalist Series Book 1)
by Andrew Mayne
Review by Mel Jacob
Thomas & Mercer Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: 9781477824245
Date: 01 October 2017
A tour de force of a thriller, The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne takes the reader on a roller coaster ride as bodies pile up. Dr. Theo Cray, a computational biologist, is initially suspected of killing a former student, which he denies. Appalled by the crime, he is determined to find the vicious serial killer regardless of the personal cost.
Theo is a difficult man to know and the police remain uncertain about him because of his somewhat unusual behavior. However, no forensic evidence ties him to the murder of his former student. Other bodies, mutilated in similar ways, are attributed to bears. Once Theo is on the trail, he locates others corpses he attributes to the same killer. The police continue to suspect him as he leads them to more dead people.
He expounds his theories about wer tadpoles and predators and how environmental conditions engender changes until a balanced environment is again achieved, but others are slow to grasp his reasoning or how it applies to the killer.
He faces a fate between arrest by the police or becoming the killer's next victim. Convinced the killer resides in the local community, he takes some time to work through the common factors to identify the killer's characteristics and who it is.
Readers may have mixed reactions to Theo based on whether they understand his reasoning and science. He epitomizes the absent-minded professor yet he persists in a dogged pursuit of a dangerous serial killer.
It is unclear what the next novel in this series will be, but it's certain to feature Dr. Theo Cray applying his unique skills to solve other crimes. Mayne has two other fiction series: Jessica Blackwood and The Chronological Man, as well as two nonfiction books for writers.