Let me start by saying that it's the best thriller I've read in a long time. Yes, it's simply that good. Welcome to my review.

A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, a mere heart of stone.
Charles Darwin

Theo Cray is a computational biologist. I'm sure he's much better at science than at interpersonal relations. To be honest, he's awkwardly bad at understanding people. Everything is a system or an algorithm to him, and he perceives people's decisions and actions as such. One day he suddenly gets accused of murder, but he's then quickly cleared of charges and starts his own investigation. He doesn't believe that his student was killed by a bear and tries to prove everyone wrong.

I have to admit he's really stubborn. He encounters many obstacles along the way, but he doesn't stop, even at the point when an ordinary person would simply say "enough!" and move on. But not Theo — he's really intelligent, but also tends to be very naive. That's one of his biggest personal issues. He risks his life multiple times to prove that the murderer is certainly not a grizzly bear. Or is it?

aerial view of pine trees in mist
There’s a clarity that arrives when life forces you into a binary situation.
Andrew Mayne, The Naturalist

In the beginning there's not much of an action, but the tension slowly builds up as we come further. By the end of the book it totally explodes and you can really be stressed out about how it's going to end. I even felt a surge of anxiety. It was a great feeling.

This book has everything a good thriller should have: suspense, action, tension, mysteries, puzzles. It's all there. The writer told an interesting story in a way that's both appealing and keeping you in suspense.

Of course there isn't just the mystery that matters. We get to know Theo Cray better and better as we follow his journey. Some parts of his character are worth admiring, though other — not so much. But we're in his head for the whole time and that's how we learn about his thought process. Which is really complicated at times.

aerial photography of trees

As the main character is a scientist, there couldn't be a lack of various science parts. They might not be the most important parts of the story, but they definitely add some value — and also help Theo with solving the mystery. We get to know about many interesting things along the way. Sometimes really technical. Did you know about GenBank? And who would've thought that dolphins attack sharks when they’re incapacitated? 🤔

Two percent of the population is sociopathic. They just don’t feel the way you or I do about others. If you come in contact with fifty people in a day, one of them is a sociopath.
Andrew Mayne, The Naturalist

Don't get me wrong — this is not a perfect book. But it's a really good one, and I highly recommend it. You'll probably have to stay up late to finish it. At least I did. The Naturalist is the first one from the series. Looking Glass is already out and you can read my review here! Murder Theory was released in 2019. I will update this post when I review any of them. Have a good read and be careful in the forest 😀