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The Sacrificial Man [Paperback]

Ruth Dugdall
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

1 July 2011
What I want to say is that suicide is my choice. No-one else is to blame. Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a lifetime: Will you help me to die?

When Probation Officer Cate Austin is given her new assignment, she faces the highest-profile case of her career. Alice Mariani is charged with assisted suicide and Cate must recommend a sentence.

Alice insists her story is one of misinterpreted love, forcing those around her to analyse their own lives. Who is to decide what is normal and when does loyalty turn to obsession?

Investigating the loophole that lies between murder and euthanasia, Cate must now meet the woman who agreed to comply with her lover's final request. Shocking revelations expose bitter truths that can no longer be ignored.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (1 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908248009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908248008
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,255 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.
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.

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

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and disturbing 11 Jan 2012
By Bookie TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange, unsettling tale 23 Oct 2012
By Lianne
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book stands out as a thriller with a bit of a difference. It's a rather strange tale, even in the way it's written. The character of Probation Officer Cate Austin is straightforward enough, but the direct perspective you get from the main character Alice, gives you a glimpse into an unhinged mind. Perhaps the closeness of the madness to normality was a bit too near the bone for me, as I found it a rather unsettling and chilling read!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man seeks beautiful woman to help him to die 15 Jan 2012
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best book yet!! 6 July 2011
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure..... 26 Feb 2012
By julesmm
Format:Kindle Edition
Having just finished this book I'm really not sure what to think about it!

As many others have said, there were a lot of typos which I found very distracting as I had to keep re-reading bits to check whether I had missed something!

My main complaint is that I just couldn't empathise with any of the main characters. Alice is very cold and Smith was such a two-dimensional character that I didn't really care what happened to either of them. As this was the second book featuring Cate Austin I would have expected the author to have expanded upon her character but this was not to be. On the other hand I did want to finish it, just to see what happened.

I will probably read her next book as I really enjoyed the 'Woman before me'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant 19 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't usually write reviews although I always look at them before I decide on which books to read, but having literally just finished this I have to say that this is a brilliant book & felt compelled to write a review so others would know & read it. Yes it is dark & disturbing with some rather squeamish content but absolutely brilliantly written & such a page turner - you will not be able to put it down - I have been reading this at every available moment. I cannot get this book out of my head & have no doubt that it will stay with you for a long time afterwards. I would definately recommend & look forward to reading more by this author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sacrificial Man
This was a bit difficult to get into but I was beginning to really enjoy this book! However I dropped my kindle on the floor and lost the whole story and couldn't retrieve it, so... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Dancer
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark tale
This is a very dark and grim tale. I found it quite difficult to get into at the start but the reading got easier as the story progressed.
Published 1 month ago by DD
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
Very interesting with a little twist at the end. Quite gruesome at one point but very compelling. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by Liz
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unsettling Read
I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the Sacrificial Man, nor how to respond to it. Recommended by Carol at Reading, Writing and Riesling, the blurb certainly sounded... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Shelleyrae
5.0 out of 5 stars Assisted euthanasia, suicide or murder. Cannibalism. Freaky...but in a...
The book focuses on Alice Mariani who was arrested for the death of her boyfriend, Jenkins, after responding to an online advertisement wherein he seeks assistance in committing... Read more
Published 3 months ago by BookBunny
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought as present
I bought this for someone else who says it's good, but I don't know myself. When I have time I'll get round to reading it
Published 4 months ago by Mary Smith
2.0 out of 5 stars hard to care about the main characters
I stuck with this book to the end, but never managed to work up any enthusiasm for the main characters - both too self-obsessed.
Published 4 months ago by village lady
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever twist
Interesting premise with a well developed plot, good characterisation and a clever twist at the end. However I found it a little lacking in breadth none the less a very good read.
Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth Barratt
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark.
"The Sacrificial Man" is quite a dark and disturbing read, with subject matter that includes cannibalism, assisted suicide, lesbianism and drugs. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbingly addictive!
Another addictive read from Ruth Dugdall! This book is NOT an easy read in terms of the subjects covered... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Katie
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