Murder Theory, The Naturalist #3 by Andrew Mayne

murdertheoryMurder Theory is the third instalment in Andrew Maine’s Naturalist series and is yet again a compelling and completely engrossing read. I think this could be read as a stand-alone although personally I would advise readers to check out the first two books in the series as they’re both great reads and on top of that it will give a better understanding of the main character, Theo Cray.

This books picks up just a short time after the conclusion of No.2.  We have a short opening sequence where Theo is assisting the Government with questioning a potential Russian spy.  From there the story then balloons fairly quickly with Theo himself coming under suspicion from the FBI.  It seems that a crime scene has itself become the scene of yet a further murder with two dead bodies on site and a third person missing. In typical Mayne fashion it feels a bit crazy and totally random and yet once again you are pulled very quickly into the story.

Theo once again comes up with a unique train of thought that sees the investigation take an unusual turn and I have to say that the actual theory he comes up with is pretty darned chilly to read about. I don’t want to give away any spoilers for this because this is the type of book where readers will make discoveries thick and fast all on their own but for me this particular story definitely had the scare factor in terms of making you consider possibilities and ‘what ifs’. On top of that the author has come up with a very intelligent antagonist indeed. A person who can not only put Theo to the test in very clever ways and think one step ahead but also seems to be a fan of Theo’s own particular maverick style of investigation .

On top of this we have another couple of elements to the story in terms of keeping up with Theo’s personal life and also being updated on his laboratory work, where he’s supposed to be working on a top secret initiative involving genes and terrorists.  This adds another layer of chaos to Theo’s already frantic life and demonstrates the tenuous grasp he has on the ‘normal’ life he leads and that many others take for granted.  

Theo is the sort of individual who finds it difficult to interact with others and this is something that inevitably leads him into bother with others. He doesn’t seem to have the skill set necessary to get people onboard and in fact usually ends up antagonising others with his wild theories. This book is very similar in that respect and in fact I did wonder if the series might be becoming too formulaic in that regard. Thankfully Mayne avoids this pitfall by taking Theo to an even darker level in this instalment where he really pushes the line between good and bad/right and wrong and takes the story into a different realm where reflection and doubt play a greater role. I can’t lie, Theo does push the limits in this story and whilst he’s trying to catch a baddie some of his actions do make you wonder whether he’s going too far. Thankfully I do like Theo, he’s a very interesting character to read and his theories and train of thought are fascinating and he seems to be making not only a name for himself but also, thankfully, garnering a couple of people who are sympathetic to his way of thinking – although I have my doubts about one of these. 

In terms of criticisms. Well, as I already mentioned above this felt like it could go down a familiar route. I think the author manages to keep this fresh by taking our main guy into even darker territory in terms of right and wrong. I would also mention that the ending, well, let’s just say that I t ends on one of those notes that makes you desperate to read the next book. 

Overall. I’m loving this series. It’s a little bit crazy, it’s totally compelling and I know that when I pick the next instalment up I’ll yet again be completely transfixed by Dr Cray and his world. I can’t get enough of this series at the moment. 

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley, for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.  

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20 Responses to “Murder Theory, The Naturalist #3 by Andrew Mayne”

  1. Tammy

    I can’t wait to start this! So glad you’re still loving the series so much😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really am loving this and can’t wait for No.4.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Paul's Picks

    Excellent review! I can’t imagine where Mayne and Cray will go next.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Me too – but I’m excited to find out – particularly given the ending.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Good, believable antagonists are quite rare, and the one in this novel seems to be a very intriguing character: with a good “evil guy” as a counterpoint, a story’s success is certain…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think what makes the main character so good is he’s quite complex. He doesn’t naturally get on well with others, in fact he lacks a lot of the social niceties – and you can see that people seem to get the wrong impression of him as soon as they meet him. But, his thought processes are fascinating and he really is good to read.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    With you, Tammy and Mogsy all enjoying this series so much I feel like I should check it out

    • @lynnsbooks

      I feel like you should although I’m not totally sure what your feelings are on murder/mystery style books? These do have a very original concept which is why they’ve really grabbed me and the main character has some very unexpected thought processes.
      Lynn 😀

  5. sjhigbee

    I haven’t read this series – but it sounds like it could be something I would really enjoy. I loved your review – as ever, you give a good sense of the book without providing any spoilers:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m loving this series. It’s so unique and well thought out.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        So very tempting…

      • @lynnsbooks

        Do it, do it, do it – I’m chanting that in a most adorable fashion!
        Lyn 😀

  6. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I am jealous that you read this already. I’m counting down the books on my tbr til I can get to this – still a couple more to go and I’ll be right there! I only read the first few and the last few paragraphs of your review because I want to go in with a blank slate, but if the only criticism is that it could retread familiar routes, I say that could sometimes be a good thing especially with a series like this 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, and I think he manages to change things up – particularly in terms of the main character maybe taking a very dark route – it felt like that side of his nature became a little more dark than normal. Very good instalment though and definitely a series that has me hooked.
      Lynn 😀

  7. waytoofantasy

    Sounds like a good series, I have not heard of this one. Glad you’re enjoying it, Lynn!

    • @lynnsbooks

      This series is so good – it’s fun and original and I love the main protagonist and his thought processes.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Carmen

    Good review, Lynn! You give a good feel of what to expect from this third installment, for Dr. Cray’s journey, and a potential pitfall that Mayne avoided.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’m just loving this series and can’t get enough of it at the moment.
      Lynn 😀

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