eARC Review: Murder Theory (The Naturalist #3), by Andrew Mayne

murder theory andrew mayne

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Thriller, Crime


Murder Theory is the third book in The Naturalist series, following Dr. Theo Cray as he gets involved with another strange case… this time, a series of senseless murders apparently disconnected from each other take place not that far apart, except – all the murderers have no history of violence and no reason to commit the murders at all. They all look vacant and have no memory of what they did. What if there’s something infecting them, affecting their brains and making people attack loved ones? What if someone is spreading this infection on purpose?

I love this series a lot! The first book was a solid 5 star for me and I was so happy to see a nerdy characters solving murders using logic and software. I honestly had so much fun reading it and found his oblivious but brilliant character so charming! Unfortunately for me, Murder Theory was a bit of a letdown. While I got to read only the eARC and not really the finished version, I doubt that any small changes to the text would change my rating.

Theo came off rather arrogant and a bit full of himself, and where on the other books I found him sweet and charming, in this book he just went completely rogue and seemed a very different character from the one I remembered. It’s possible I read the other two books too long ago and remember them differently, but this one made me cringe a lot. I just couldn’t see Theo actually doing the things he did – especially sidelining Jillian so much! At some point I did expect her to break things off with him.

I also had a bit of an issue with how the women of the book and the men are described and treated slightly different – there’s always clothes description for the women and a judgement on their beauty. I normally roll my eyes at that and let it slide, but it’s a bit annoying for sure.

It’s also such a verbose book, the actual plot feels very short if you take out all the monologues inside Theo’s head all the time. It felt a little bit pedantic to be told in detail about certain cases, about procedures, about statistics etc. It was a bit too much and made the reading not quite as quick and fluent, but rather broken by these intermissions of explaining things a lot.

Otherwise, I did enjoy the story overall, hence my 3 star rating. I am not sure at this point I’ll continue with the series, considering I’m trying to get my TBR as trim as possible, but maybe! Perhaps the next book will put Jillian in a more central position as she deserves!

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