Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Written in Bone” as Want to Read:
Written in Bone
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Written in Bone (David Hunter #2)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  5,799 ratings  ·  318 reviews
“I took the skull from its evidence bag and gently set it on the stainless steel table. ‘Tell me who you are. . . .’ ” With this silent plea, forensic expert Dr. David Hunter ignites a harrowing murder investigation on a windswept Scottish island, and a tale of menace, sexuality, and revenge unravels—along with the chilling message that a killer has…

Dr. David Hunter should
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 25th 2007 by Delacorte Press (first published 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Written in Bone, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Written in Bone

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
After enjoying the hell out of "The Chemistry of Death" I was very eager to start reading the second book about Dr Hunter. And... oh boy. I don't really know where to begin.
The book starts interestingly enough: gruesome murder, interesting location, good ol' Dr Hunter... But then it takes over a hundred pages until something, ANYTHING happens. Some of the characters in the book were so cartoonish I was afraid I might injure my eyes with all the eyerolling. Here's your token single mother with a
Rating: 4.5 stars

This is the second in the David Hunter series, and was just as compelling as The Chemistry of Death. The tension, the forensics, the story telling; they all had me gripped from page one, and one of the reveals made me gasp out loud and say 'NOOOO!' I loved the eerie atmosphere of the remote island, cut off from the mainland during a savage storm; no-one can arrive, no-one can leave, and there’s a killer on the loose with a fondness for fire. It gave me the chills!

Beckett has be
Excellent, gripping police procedural mystery. A slow start, but midway it takes off and there are several twists at the end that took me totally by surprise, especially the final few paragraphs - WHAT??!!

If you enjoy the *locked room* variety of murder mystery, Written in Bone should satisfy. Gruesome in places, and a plot twist that's creepy to say the least, but a quick and satisfying read.

Gerald Sinstadt
When Patricia Cornwell embarked on her series of novels about a forensic detective, the territory was fresh and interesting. But disciples have appeared, disinterring the bodies and conducting autopsies but finding little that is original. Simon Beckett is a follower though with a link back to Agatha Christie.

Written in Bone has a self-styled forensic anthropologist for a central character, thus justifying any amount of grisly information about burning bodies. But Dr David Hunter is cut off by
This reader loved The Chemistry of Death and in Written in Bone the descriptions of the actual finds are no less enthralling. However, it is unacceptable if, in I-narration, a third person in a chapter (i.e. a later report by the I-narrator –anything else would be impossible) fails to see shadows lifting themselves from the dark. This is cheating or oversight – not good writing. The extended ending with twist upon twist, too, is not convincing, just laboured. There is more to say –the constant b ...more
I didn't like this as much as the first one it was really really similar thematically and basically feels like he's reworked the same plot.

he's still clearly a smart guy which I like, but I mean there aren't enough crimes in london he has to go out to bumfuck scotland to find one? fine whatever, then there's a storm OH NO. But then ugh really a bit too thematic and cliche.

on the other hand, I liked the ending it was awesome. I think he really pulled that through, if the rest of the book was a
May 14, 2008 Gwenn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Moira
This book rocketed along, with lots of twists and turns until the very last page. It's a variation of the "and then there were none" theme, with all the characters trapped on a very small island in the Hebrides and no obvious suspects for any of the murders. The hero, a forensic anthropologist, is not quite smart enough to figure things out before we do, but that is part of the wonderfully sustained tension. Now I'm off to find the author's first book!
John Wiltshire
This is the second in the David Hunter series. This time set on an isolated Scottish Island, the tension ratchets up and up with each page. Atmospheric and densely plotted, this is an excellent addition to the series. David Hunter is a forensic anthropologist. He's drawn into the investigation of a bizarre find: the partially burnt body of a young woman in a croft. Stories always work well in remote, isolated communities, and in this novel the island becomes cut off by a terrible storm--no commu ...more
Cátia Santos
Melhor ainda que o anterior! Só peca por me ter deixado novamente descobrir muito cedo quem estava por detrás dos crimes, mas não deixou de ser surpreendente!

E não podia ter concluído o meu 2013 reading challenge de melhor forma: no dia 31 de dezembro, com um livro 5*! :)))
Gostei tanto!! Absolutamente inesperado e muito, muito bem construído.

Der Oskar für die grauslichsten Einstiege in Kriminalromane geht an.... Simon Becket!! Jedes mal auf Seite 1 beginnts mich zu schütteln in Chemie des Todes (Band 1) ging es um Larven und ihre Arbeit an einem toten Körper und in "Kalte Asche" um die Wirkung von Feuer auf Körper. Sehr sachlich - deshalb aber nicht minder grausam sondern eher mit verstärktem Ekelfaktor wird dem Leser extrem detailgetreu vermittelt, was passiert, wenn der Körper wie eine Kerze verbrennt. Ein mittlerweile bewährtes
ENGLISH: As a forensic thriller... awesome. The main character is easy to be related with.
It was kinda gruesome in some parts but keeps you in the line the whole time. It made me elaborate like 5 different theories about the possible killer or killers, but in the end everything turned out right the opposite and with multiple endings. I can't say that I enjoyed it, too many corpses being analized and explicit descriptions, but I got hooked by the plot.

ESPAÑOL: Lo leí en inglés así que no sabría
Plot line:
A murder occurs on a small island in the middle of no where. With technology difficulties from a storm, our hero determines how the victim died and that the murderer is still on the island. More bodies appear and it's now the hero's job to stop him before he kills again.

I started this book not knowing that this was the SECOND in a series. The author tried to bring me up to speed, but the character was flat. This should be impressive because the story is told in first person, bu
Tattered Cover Book Store
This is a forensic suspense/mystery/thriller that has more than a few twists and turns to it, even up to the bitter (or sweet,depending on how you look at it) end. CSI, Reichs, Cornwell, etc fans will love it. I can't say I was at the EDGE of my seat, but I was way past the middle of it and turning pages fast....
Premise: a forensic anthropologist gets called out to a remote British island to investigate a suspitious death. A storm, a fire and more than one body keep him there as he risks his lif
"Kalte Asche" hat mich wirklich gut unterhalten und ich konnte das Buch etwa ab der Hälfte nicht mehr aus der Hand legen. Ich mag Becketts Schreibstil und obwohl es sowohl im Aufbau, als auch im Setting einige Ähnlichkeiten zum ersten Teil gab, fand ich die Geschichte sehr spannend. Einige Apsekte waren recht vorhersehbar, während das Ende mich dann doch sehr überrascht hat. Da die forensischen Details, die mir im ersten Buch so gut gefallen haben, hier weniger zur Geltung kamen, gibt es "nur" v ...more
"There aren't always answers to everything, no matter how hard we look. Sometimes you have to learn to just let things go."

I can't even, my bits are scattered. This book was mindblowing. A lot of people didn't like it, and I have to say the beginning is kinda boring, but the end was amazing.

"Written in Bone" starts 18 months after the events of "The Chemistry of Death". David Hunter is in a remoted island, helping the police investigate the death of a person whose body was burned, but its feet
Well, I'm not exactly going to write a review about this but, instead, I'm going to ask a question: How can you possibly destroy such a promising story with such a lame ending?? I had hopes for this book - just as for its predecessor - but Beckett's formulaic "final twists" ultimately always destroy the stories for me. I'm disappointed.
Darren Roubinek
Predictable murder mystery. Thin characters. The opening just plods along. Oh, yes there are twists (lots of twists), but they're forced and convenient twists that only the author can fully enjoy. It was like reading an afternoon soap opera script.
Sandra Bašić
Forenzički antropolog David Hunter se ovoga puta suočava sa novim izazovima i novim leševima. Na poziv policije, otputovat će na zabačeni škotski otok Runa kako bi ispitao spaljeno truplo, od kojeg su ostali čitavi samo stopala i jedna šaka. Nakon temeljitog pregleda, ustanovit će da je u pitanju ubojstvo iako bi policija bila najsretnija da se radi o nesretnom slučaju. Na otoku nema dovoljno policije, forenzičari su zauzeti nekim drugim stvarima, a sve će dodatno otežati veliko nevrijeme koje ć ...more
Janette Fleming
“I took the skull from its evidence bag and gently set it on the stainless steel table. ‘Tell me who you are. . . .’ ” With this silent plea, forensic expert Dr. David Hunter ignites a harrowing murder investigation on a windswept Scottish island, and a tale of menace, sexuality, and revenge unravels—along with the chilling message that a killer has…

Dr. David Hunter should be in London with the woman he loves and a past he can’t quite shake off. Instead, as a favor to a beleaguered cop, Hunter t

Quando eu penso que já sei o que se passou, quem é o assassino (mais uma vez andei lá perto e quase que acertava) e porquê, eis que há mais uma reviravolta.

E o final deste livro? Fica-se com a respiração suspensa e é IMPOSSÍVEL não pegar IMEDIATAMENTE no livro a seguir para ver (view spoiler).

Curiosamente, devido à minha própria estupidez o 3º volume foi o 1º que li e por isso não fiquei tão desesperada.

Há momentos em que só nos apetece faze
Having a forensic anthropologist as the main character in a whodunnit is great because it allows the author to give us the gory detail of the victim. Here David Hunter arrived at the scene to find a body that appears to have spontaneously combust, with no damage to the building and only a hand and a pair of feet remaining intact.

There is a problem with having a forensic anthropologist as the main character though in that he is not a detective and so Beckett has to work out a way to make him tak
Melody Savage
I recently read Written in Bone by Simon Beckett, published 2007 by Bantam Dell, and was reminded of why I do not read many adult novels.
It had fast-paced action, an adventurous plot, and an interesting setting. The forensics details and processes are fascinating. However, Beckett set out primarily to entertain with a complicated mystery, not to educate.
This book features frequent use of offensive language, shockingly violent scenes, and indulgence in the vulgarities of life. These elements
~Kalte Asche ist der zweite Teil der David Hunter Reihe.
~Geschrieben wurde das Buch von Simon Beckett.
Asche ist alles, was von ihr übrig geblieben ist. Fast alles. Als der Rechtsmediziner David Hunter die Überreste der Frau in einem verfallenen Cottage auf der schottischen Insel Runa zum ersten Mal erblickt, weiß er sofort: Dieser Tod war kein Unfall. Er will seine Erkenntnisse dem Superintendenten mitteilen, doch die Leitung bleibt tot. Ein Sturm ha
Deb Bodinnar
OK, so I said I was hoping that this series would get better? Well it did! I really enjoyed this one... it was fast paced, interesting characters (even the grumpy Policeman had his moments) and the plot was intriguing. The pictures that conjured up in your mind as reading the description of the initial crime scene were so easy as Beckett has a great way with his words to put those images in your head. Again, the twists and turns in who was the murderer had me guessing, double guessing then havin ...more
Called in to examine a badly burned body found on a small island in the Hebrides, forensic anthropologist David Hunter hopes he won't be delayed long. Just as he determines that the death is a murder, a monstrous storm prevents help from arriving. So he is left to find out what happened with the help of an alcoholic local sergeant and a retired officer who lives on the island. The setting in the Hebrides is interesting and the story is reasonable well plotted although the characters are thin. Un ...more
Great read, despite forensic inaccuracies. Human heads do not explode in a fire. I repeat, human heads do not explode in a fire.
We are not watermelons.
Also, while I know this is fiction, and that everyone is an individual and therefore different, I found that Dr. Hunter's thoughts about death and his job to be very different from that of every forensic scientist I've met. On the whole, they tend to be a happy go lucky lot, replete with gallows humor. I'm still a student, but I'm pretty much the
Great powerful crime thriller. Good twists and gory ending.

Back Cover Blurb:
On the remote Hebridean island of Runa, a grisly discovery awaits the arrival of forensic anthropologist Dr David Hunter.
A body - almost totally incinerated but for the feet and a single hand - has been found. The local police are quick to record an accidental death but Hunter's instincts say otherwise: he's convinced it's murder. In fact Runa is far from the peaceful community it first appears - and a burned corpse is o
This is the second in the David Hunter series that started with The Chemistry of Death.

In this one we find young David sent off to investigate the charred remains of a body in a remote cottage on a Hebridean island. In true crime fiction style we have a small community and almost everyone is a suspect. Further deaths occur and a storm strikes keeping David on the island.

Once again Beckett has written a solid crime thriller that keeps going right to the last page. The intricacies of the plot are
Ann Vanhaeren
Wat een boek....een lange inleiding maar spannend tot de laatste zin! Ik moest het weten hoe het zou aflopen...dus moest ik vlug deel III erbij nemen....met een gerust hart kan ik nu verder lezen!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Der Augensammler
  • Mordsfreunde (Bodenstein & Kirchhoff, #2)
  • Erntedank (Kommissar Kluftinger, #2)
  • Abandoned (Smoky Barrett #4)
  • Der fremde Gast
  • L'Âme du mal (La Trilogie du mal, #1)
  • Bretonische Brandung (Kommissar Dupin, #2)
  • Blinde Vögel (Beatrice Kaspary, #2)
After an MA in English, Simon Beckett spent several years as a property repairer before a stint teaching in Spain. Back in the UK, he played percussion in several bands. He has been a freelance journalist since 1992, writing for The Times, The Independent on Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and other major British publications. In 2002, as part of an article on the National Forensi ...more
More about Simon Beckett...

Other Books in the Series

David Hunter (4 books)
  • The Chemistry of Death (David Hunter, #1)
  • Whispers of the Dead (David Hunter, #3)
  • The Calling of the Grave (David Hunter, #4)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“When it comes to misfortune, we are all selfish at heart, offering up the same prayers: not me, not mine. Not yet.” 6 likes
“Kiedy los nam nie sprzyja, w głębi serca wszyscy jesteśmy egoistami i wszyscy wznosimy te same modły: tylko nie ja, tylko nie ja, jeszcze nie teraz.” 3 likes
More quotes…