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The Sacrificial Man Hardcover – Large Print, 1 Sep 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Charnwood; Large type edition edition (1 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444812262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444812268
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 0.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,130,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Ruth studied English at university and then took an MA is Social Work. Following this she worked in the Criminal Justice System as a social worker then as a probation officer. Part of this time was spent seconded to a prison housing serious offenders. She continues to work within the Criminal Justice System, most recently in Luxembourg.
Ruth's novels are informed by her experience and are "authentic and credible".

Ruth's first novel, The James Version, is a historical fiction based on the actual murder of Maria Marten at the Red Barn in Suffolk. The story is re-told with a fresh light on who really killed Maria.

Her second novel, The Woman Before Me, won the Debut Dagger in 2005. It is the story of Rose Wilks, a female stalker imprisoned for killing a child, who claims to be innocent.

Her third novel, The Sacrificial Man, will be published in 2011.
It is the story on an Internet suicide pact that goes wrong.

Humber Boy B, set in Ruth's birthplace Hull, was published in 2015 as was Nowhere Girl, which is set in Luxembourg.

Apart from The James Version, all of Ruth's books feature probation officer Cate Austin. "Probation officers have more face-to-face contact with criminals than any other profession," she says, "they are the unsung heroes of the Criminal Justice System."

Product Description


Praise for Ruth's Writing: 'An enthralling psychological thriller - perfect for fans of Sophie Hannah' --Best-selling author Sam Mills

'This novel is an extremely addictive debut - a real page-turner - As a debut novel, this is a remarkably assured and well-written book.' --Petrona --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ruth Dugdall studied English and Theatre Studies at Warwick University and an MA is Social Work at UEA. She worked as a Probation Officer for almost a decade, working in prisons with numerous high-risk criminals. Ruth's debut novel The Woman Before Me (Legend Press, 2010) was the winner of the CWA Debut Dagger award. Ruth's professional background gives her writing authenticity and credibility. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bookie TOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is another cracker from Dugdall. Make no mistake; it's not an easy read. Dugdall's themes include abuse, the morality of assisted suicide, the nature of obsessive love in a number of guises. And there's much, much more.

In parts, the plot development is directly through the eyes of two of the main characters. This narrative device works very well, revealing historic events which have shaped their deeply flawed psyches. The main character is clearly on the very strange side of normal right from the start. But she remains plausible and we are able to experience a taste of what it's like inside her weird world. These twisted individuals don't arouse any feelings of empathy. They each exist in their own disturbed world, tainting others as they go through life. I believe they are drawn from direct experience which makes them believable. As with Dugdall' previous book, I found this a compelling page turner. Iwas gripped from the outset and I was disappointed when I finished (no more to read from this author!).

There was mention of a central character from the previous book. I wonder if there's potential for her to return some time? Dugdall is certainly specialising in exploring the depths of the deviant personality and doing it very well. I could see these tales adapting well on TV.

I have one criticism; it would benefit from better copy editing and review of the formatting. In a couple of places the narrative jumped without apparent sense. In hard copy I believe there would be a clear space in the text and this is lost on Kindle. But those minor points don't detract enough to prevent an award of 5 stars, because it's a tight paced and well thought plot which I have no hesitation in recommending. More please!
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Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading The Sacrificial Man, after having read the Woman before me. I read the Woman before Me on my honeymoon, which was probably not the best place to read it, but i thoroughly enjoyed it although it was very dark. This book on the other hand, i feel is a book that more people can relate to. Suicide is often a 'touchy' subject, and something that many people can deeply relate to. Ruth Dugdall has created a book that depicts human pain, and the question of whether suicide is right at all? And if we have the right to die, even without a serious terminal illness...She has touched on a subject that is currently much in the media and has helped to make it more relevant. Despite the sad story, i found it to be a real page turner, and with the right music on, by the name of Hurts-it becomes even more atmospheric!!!!!

I started listening to Hurts to read the book, because i happened to have the privilege of being at the book signing in Ipswich, and Ruth Dugdall played a song by them which aided in creating an atmosphere, in fact i actually cried while she read the first few pages because it was all so moving, so i continued to use this method, and i have not looked back.

This book is a must read!!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ruth Dugdall has created a second book featuring Cate Austin, a Probation Officer. As in The Woman Before Me the reader enters the story after the crime and after the trial but Alice has not been imprisoned, instead the judge is waiting for Cate Austin to recommend a sentence. Alice answered an online advert 'Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a lifetime. I will lift mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help. Will you help me to die?' Smith is dead but should Alice be punished?

Once again as a Probation Officer Cate is writing a report on a woman carrying out a crime which we don't associate with women. Cate Austin teases out information from Alice and carries out her own investigations and the facts presented at the start of the book are not as clear as they first seem. A great second book and once again I can't wait to see what Ruth Dugdall will serve up next.
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Format: Paperback
This is not a crime thriller. But the narrative is built around the pending sentence of a woman convicted of assisting in a suicide. I intentionally read it the week that Bob Cole, the Euthanasia campaigner traveled to Switzerland to end his life. But I soon realized this novel was not about Euthanasia but a noir psychological thriller plotting a descent into madness during a failed lifetime of searching for and understanding love.

I hesitate to use the prosaic phrase ‘page turner’ in describing this book, but that is how I read it. In 2 sittings. The author, of whom I was unaware, deftly writes of the life story of the central character whilst switching backward and forward in time. I mention this because I measure a sign of good writing by the ability to hold the reader as the present and the past of the characters progress to roll up into a coherent finale.

Dugdale, I understand, was a Probation Officer and has clearly used her experience to frame the narrative in the drafting of a Pre Sentence Report on the main character. Also, I suspect some or all of the grotesques that necessarily punctuate the story fall out of the author’s work with the bedlamites of modern life.

Dugdale deals with the themes of loss, love, revenge and terminal illness along with the more salacious subjects of cannibalism, money and sex. The clever, sparse and economical writing repels and attracts the reader to and from the central character as she searches for what she thinks will be love. There are grim passages of gore and violence but they are never gratuitous and are essential, as we are taken further into the black mind of a killer.

All in all a really good adult read and a solid antidote to the rubbish of modern English thriller fiction ……. Into the Darkest Corner anyone?
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