Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes, paperback by Myriad, £7.99 (ebook £6.07)

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HOW well do you know your neighbours? Would you notice if you didn’t see them for a while – or be unaware that anything was amiss until a bad smell began to linger?

Those are the questions that this pacy new thriller, in which a policewoman discovers that dozens of people aren’t found until months after death, aims to answer. Is there something sinister going on?

In this – her third thriller in as many years – Elizabeth Haynes plays with society’s mistrust of the loner.

Her well-drawn central characters explore the mechanics of loneliness and despair, while the action – and there’s enough of that – taps into the deep-seated fear of dying alone.

From the gruesome opening gambit to the thrilling denouement, this might not be one for the fainthearted (or lonely), but it’s very hard to leave it alone.

Sarah Warwick