The Naturalist

Thomas & Mercer:Amazon. Oct. 2017. 380p. ISBN 9781477824245. $15.95. M
Professor Theo Cray is a computational biologist who is well versed in observing nature patterns but not as skilled in human interactions. A field trip to Montana leads him to become entangled in an investigation into the mutilation death of former student Juniper Parsons. The authorities suspect a rogue grizzly bear or Cray himself of the murder. After analyzing missing person reports, Cray is convinced that a calculating serial killer may be at work and that there are more victims. As he uses his scientific insight to stay ahead of local police and close in on the murderer, Cray is in danger of becoming prey. Throughout, he balances the difficulties in decoding personal interactions with his professional strengths.
VERDICT With a strong sense of place and palpable suspense that builds to a violent confrontation and resolution, Mayne's (Angel Killer) series debut will satisfy devotees of outdoors mysteries and intriguing characters.
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