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The Naturalist

(The Naturalist #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  21,773 Ratings  ·  1,730 Reviews
Professor Theo Cray is trained to see patterns where others see chaos. So when mutilated bodies found deep in the Montana woods leave the cops searching blindly for clues, Theo sees something they missed. Something unnatural. Something only he can stop.

As a computational biologist, Theo is more familiar with digital code and microbes than the dark arts of forensic sleuthin
Kindle Edition, 382 pages
Published October 1st 2017 by Thomas & Mercer
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Susan The audio book was fun. The main character says he's an idiot, and he's right, so I rolled with that. It was worth the $2.99 I paid for it. Getting it…moreThe audio book was fun. The main character says he's an idiot, and he's right, so I rolled with that. It was worth the $2.99 I paid for it. Getting it at the library would have been even better.(less)

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Montzalee Wittmann
The Naturalist (The Naturalist #1) by Andrew Mayne is a book I really enjoyed. It fed my eager science side of my brain, the mystery, and the side that likes a good scare! Brilliantly written with so many little things that had to be thought through...wonderful. Going in my favorites for sure. Lots of suspense, action, mystery, and the science part of it was fun too. I love these kind of mysteries.
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
After my last, very meh, audiobook, I was happy to read The Naturalist. This one engaged me from the get go. Dr. Theo Cray is a computational biologist. To me, he seemed a little bit on the asperger’s spectrum. Extremely intelligent, definitely obsessive, but lacking a little in the emotive or self preservation factors. At one point he compares himself to Don Quixote and it’s a very apt description. They are both tilting at their own individual windmills.

He comes to the police’s attention after
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.

Note: I originally posted that I was giving this book 3.5 stars. Upon further consideration, I've given it 3.75.

There are so many things I loved about The Naturalist! First, there's our main man, Professor Theo Cray. He's a computational biologist. So basically he's a little nerdy, very smart, and, because he's now been drawn in to a murder investigation, a bit of a rogue Magnum, P.I. I'm not one for bookish crushes but if I were, he'd
Liz Barnsley
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Definitely the most addictive read of my year so far, borne out by the fact that I started this last night then finished it this morning - no messing. I literally only put it down to sleep.

For a start how wonderful to find something a bit different - I can't say I've read a book before where the main protagonist is a Computational Biologist - the author makes this sound entirely fascinating and if you have a love of finding out small random facts like I am you'll love the little titbits you find
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I spent a day last week stumbling around in a sleep-deprived stupor because I had been up late the night before, and it was all this book’s fault since I’d refused to put it down until I was finished. Totally worth it, though. Talk about a page-turner! The Naturalist was exactly what I wanted out of a mystery-thriller—fascinating, addictive, and dramatic in all the best ways. It also captivated the science geek in me by
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
"What is research but a blind date with knowledge." (William Henry)

And Professor Theo Cray of the University of Texas at Austin knows research up close and personal. He's an MIT graduate specializing in computational biology. Analyzing data and constructing models brings Theo eye to eye with biological, behavioral, and social systems. Funny how such lofty studies might shine a light on a recent dead body.

Andrew Mayne starts his story out with a bang. Theo Cray's motel room in a small town in Mon
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Stereotypical protagonist, stereotypical antagonist, plot holes galore, interesting, if questionable, science, and first person narrative in the present tense rather than past tense. An interesting read except for disappointing final chapter or two.

Personal rant: I hate plot summaries that end with a question. Will he be able to do this before that happens? Makes me lose interest in the book. Stop. Just stop.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, thriller
This was a slam dunk of a 5 star read! Very funny, also geeky on the science, clever, fast paced. I should have been able to read this in one go but it was all so exciting I had to keep putting it down! If you’re looking for a quirky original thriller, you don’t get much better than this. #Theo Cray for President
Sep 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was pleased to choose this for my September Kindle First but in the end, I must admit to being quite happy I hadn't paid for it. It had stereotypical cliched cookie-cutter people with inane flat conversations and a story full of plot holes and dangling threads. IT WAS ALL TOO EASY! What makes this doubly disappointing is that it actually started out quite well, but it began going downhill at about halfway and by the end had degenerated into madness. If it had been a hard copy vs. a digital cop ...more
Jonathan Maas
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, and though there were some flaws - they had soft edges to them. In short though:

* Michael Crichton-esque. A lot of authority here - and you'll be smarter after reading it. I alternated between this and Yuval Noah Harari's Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and didn't feel bad about jumping away from Harari's non-fiction.
* A page turner - beyond a page turner
* Great use of data and data-trends as a way of tracking the bad guys
* Likeable character - he has flaws, but t
Sep 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
As a lifelong biology writer and amateur naturalist, the protagonist in this novel rings extremely hollow. The author claims to love science -- and I've no doubt he does -- but he should have spent more time in the research and editing phase making sure his protagonist sounded like an actual scientist and not just a weird Big Bang Theory-esque parody of one.The core conceit isn't a bad one, but it comes across as hackneyed in execution.
Michael Hicks
If Dan Brown wrote a CBS-style crime thriller, it'd probably look a lot like Andrew Mayne's The Naturalist. It's big dumb fun, quickly paced, and routinely threatened this reader's willing suspension of disbelief with a number of inanities, ridiculousness, and just flat-out stupid plot points. The Naturalist is a highly readable work of fluffy entertainment, one that is strangely compelling but also not very good.

Professor Theo Cray is a bioinformatics researcher, and when one of his former stud
Fred Shaw
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne, Kindle edition.

Dr. Theo Cray is a professor of biogenics and uses computer models to determine how biological systems react given certain criteria. In Montana, while conducting a study, he learns that a previous student was just killed by a grisly bear. To most of the law enforcement, that is what it appears to have happened, but Dr. Cray was not convinced. However, the police and department of natural resources had their collective minds made up, so they track a
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow! I really enjoyed this. I loved the science and the main character’s thoughts were easy to understand. He was smart. For a while I was like ok, you are pushing your luck!!!
But he was intelligent and I just loved the science in this and how he used what he DID KNOW to find out what he DID NOT.
Can’t wait to read the next.
Joy D
What a wild ride! In this mystery-suspense-thriller, the story opens with Professor Theo Cray, a computational biologist, being questioned about a possible murder of a former student. He is released when police determine that a bear or mountain lion was involved. Or was it?

Professor Theo Cray is a remarkable character. He’s a brilliant scientist, and his strengths lie in numbers, systems, patterns, data-modeling, and methodical analysis. He is socially awkward when dealing with people. I found
Nancy Gold
Sep 05, 2017 rated it did not like it

Awful. The author was a magician and probably good at that job. A believable story teller, he is not. Too many quips, too much attitude, too much pseudo scientific facts mar this story. On the very first murder he forgot to tell you what happened to the boyfriend of the murdered girl who was camping with her. Too much blood to be believable. Please go back to being a magician.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Deciding to read this one was a total shot in the dark as I was without a book waiting for the library to re-open after the holiday break with books I had on hold. My September First Read email from Amazon came and I immediately selected this based on the primer sentence alone. Past selections of the First Read benefit have not gone well, but this one started out as a surprising exception. The main character in this book is the total opposite of a traditional protagonist - he's a socially awkwar ...more
Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read

The geekiness of the main character appealed to me. Normally I do not like books written in the first person but this time I think it actually works for the story. The many short chapters sort of chopped up my reading flow though. I do think I will seek out some of this author's other books because overall I was pretty impressed with the handling of the characters and storyline.
3.5/5 stars

If you enjoy the tv channel Investigation Discovery or shows like Forensic Files, then Andrew Mayne's The Naturalist is the perfect read for you! It is a quick, dark read that doesn't sugar coat the plot, while not explicitly getting too grotesque. The story starts off with Dr. Theo Cray being questioned about the disappearance of one of his past students, Juniper, who police claim has a direct link to Dr. Cray. After routine questioning, police confirm Juniper's death as an acciden
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.75-ish. At times it was predictable and slow going... like the word "blood" should freak me out.
Then it would amp up to full on descriptive dead things.

Development of live secondary characters was sparse, but I felt like I knew the victims well.
However, I might read the next in series.
Wow!!! I haven't had that much fun reading a book in a long, long time! Don't get me wrong this serial killer thriller....thrills. It has it's seriously creepy, tense and edge of your seat moments but it was also extremely fun to read (yeah, I'm a little wacked), perfectly paced and balanced.

This book follows Theo, the quintessential, socially awkward, and common sense lacking scientist, as he gets caught up in the hunt for the serial killer responsible for the death of his former student. And
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Remarkably original thriller about Dr. Theo Cray, a mild mannered science professor on a personal mission to prove the existence of a human serial killer who he believes, frames bears for his kills. As ridiculous as that sounds, it makes for a truly mesmerizing thriller that I was unable to put down. This is the first book I've read by this gifted author and certainly will not be my last.
Tom Swift
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really fun exciting read. Theo Cray is a research professor on a field trip in Montana, a bear attack to an old students leads to an exciting story.
Eli Easton
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I loved this mystery/thriller so much I immediately jumped into the sequel and I loved that one too!

I find it interesting when murder mysteries find a unique idea for a detective--not a cop, not an FBI agent, not a Private Eye, but something new. Andrew Mayne does that with The Naturalist. Dr. Theo Cray is a biology-information professor, someone who uses technology to see patterns in the natural world. When one of his students is killed, presumably by a bear, Theo is not convinced the kill
Oct 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
It took me forever to read this book because #1. I kept falling asleep and #2. I dreaded picking it back up. Generally speaking, the story line was stupid, the characters were shallow and poorly developed, the action scenes were overly complicated and hard to envision, and the main character was so boring, I don't even remember his name. The first 30% of the book was like reading an encyclopedic entry on bears. Was the author trying to make us think a bear really was the killer? Or was he just s ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This book is one of the best reasons why I shouldn't rely on others to tell me what needs to be read because "you will not be able to put it down. It is that good".

Well, I hate to disappoint but I did put this book down, a lot. So much so that I at times read five pages and got up to do something else, not going back to the book for days.

In its core, I don't think the book was that bad. However, there a lot of plot holes in this book that I couldn't get over. From one of the characters (not me
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
An unexpected pleasure. I don't know why I approached it with such suspicion -- maybe I no longer trust the Amazon or Goodreads algorithms. I don't know. But I wanted something different from my immediately preceding read so I thought "I'll give it a try". Very glad I did.

Theo is a "computational biology" professor in the field when he's arrested in suspicion of a nearby murder. Turns out it's one of his former students and he had no idea she was in the area. He's eventually set free and the pol
Edwin Priest
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
OK, this is yet another of those Kindle freebies, this one from the lending library, that I keep telling myself to stay away from.

Theo Cray is a botanist college professor who, on a field trip to Montana, gets sucked into a serial killer mystery. He uses his improbable set of nerdy talents to figure it all out, all the while getting beaten, shot and generally mishandled by most everyone he meets along the way. There is a silly love interest, lots of home-spun CSI sleuthing, and a ton of goofy tw
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, audio-only, romance
I loved the first half of The Naturalist. The clever and humble but socially awkward biologist who notices things that law enforcement doesn't, and uses his noodle to progress the case. I was thinking that this is a series I can get behind.

But then it took a turn. (view spoiler)
Jim Fromm
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is what storytelling is all about. I was entertained, puzzled, educated, surprised, and satisfied. Reading is a pleasure when you are sure it is time well spent. Do yourself a favor and spend some time here. I am getting another one of Andrew Mayne's works immediately.
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Other books in the series

The Naturalist (3 books)
  • Looking Glass  (The Naturalist #2)
  • Murder Theory (The Naturalist #3)
“Killing is a solution to a problem. Murder is something you do because you want to. You divorce your wife because you don’t love her. You murder her because you hate her.” 3 likes
“There’s a clarity that arrives when life forces you into a binary situation.” 3 likes
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