Human Remains – Denis Welch

Publisher – David Ling Publishing Ltd

ISBN 0-908990-65-0

1960.  On a lonely South Island Sandspit , a schoolboy discovers a skeleton said to be that of a moa hunter from 500 years ago.  But is it?  Forty years later, in late 1999, fresh evidence links the skeleton to an identical discovery in Bolivia, and a young American archaeologist is sent to New Zealand to investigate.  But what he came for is not what he finds; and as the mystery deepens, he becomes caught in a bewildering and ultimately terrifying spiral of events that don’t stop till they reach their climax at the first dawn of the new millennium.

In the 1960’s Eric Amberley found what was thought to be the remains of a Moa Hunter, but others suspect the bones are older than that, especially when other older burials spread throughout the world are done in a similiar burial pattern.

In Christchurch in 1999, on the eve of the Millenium, Joe Chen is sent to NZ to investigate the find a little closer.

What happens is a story that unravels in the space of three months, when Joe finds Eric, they find Eric’s long lost niece, May who is blind and mentally challenged and Mary, a friend of Joe’s from the Israeli dig, a New Zealander who has returned home, they all become involved in very strange happenings.

This book is a page turner, but the pace of the story changed up a gear when Chloe, the daughter of the people Mary lives with, and their friend and Joe’s boss at the Christchurch Museum are abducted.  The family and the strange quartet of Eric, May, Joe and Mary, find themselves in a race against time, and following the guidance of the blind woman who can walk without a stick they track down and find the culprits.

The only disappointment is that it didn’t clearly tie in with the start of the story, in fact it felt rather abstract what the bones on the beach had to do with the final scene, but if you are careful, you will see it.

The other thing about the story, was it felt almost like Denis Welch had jumped plot lines because he found the new one faster.  But other than that, it is a great NZ read for those who like a good whodunnit.


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