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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Flight (Coroner Jenny Cooper Series)
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Some people love flying and enjoy the thrill of it all, some can take it or leave it, and for others, myself included, it's all too easy to think about how you are thousands of feet up in the air inside a metal tube that didn't ought to stay there really as far as you can tell! Being a nervous air passenger myself with a tendency to grip the armrests, or the hand of the person next to me (usually only if I know them already) rather tightly, and having read the synopsis of this novel, it was with not a little trepidation that I began reading...

`The Flight' is the fourth novel in the `Jenny Cooper' series written by M. R. Hall. We first met Jenny in `The Coroner', as she arrived to take up her position as the new coroner for the Severn Vale district. Now established in her role, and having taken on and shaken up a good few people in the establishment as well as others along the way, she is back again to tackle the fall-out from a major incident that occurs just outside her patch.

Flight 189 from Heathrow, and destined for JFK, plunges into the Severn Estuary, and the body of one of the passengers, a little ten-year-old girl named Amy Patterson, together with that of a sailor, are both washed ashore in Jenny's district. As a senior official coroner is appointed to deal with the deaths of all the hundreds on board the flight, Jenny must determine the cause of death of the sailor, whose boat seems to have been sunk as the plane hit. However, as she tries to find answers to all the questions that are raised, she finds that doors are closed and lips are sealed due to the extremely secretive nature of the main investigation into the plane crash. But how could the crash have happened, with the highly sophisticated computerised systems now employed on such a plane leaving virtually no room for error by the pilot or his officer? Was this an horrendous accident, or is there some deeper conspiracy here? And is there a link between some of the passengers who were on flight 189?

Jenny is still haunted by the memories she has uncovered from her childhood, and the responsibility she feels is what drives her in this case to want to know, on behalf of `the hapless dead, the innocents', what caused their deaths. The somewhat turbulent working relationship between Jenny and her officer, Alison, is continued in this story, and there is once again a compelling and convincing inquest. This is a complex, intricate multi-layered story, with an investigation that explores a frightening possibility. The author has evidently done much research into modern air transport. Jenny finds herself once again in an almost impossible situation as she takes on the might of the establishment. It's difficult to comment much more without revealing the twists and turns of the story, which I don't want to do here, as the thrill and enjoyment is in discovering them as you read the novel. Suffice it to say the tension builds dramatically towards the nail-biting climax of the story.

I must admit that I am already a fan of this series of novels, and I think Jenny is a super character. Right from meeting her in the first novel, I liked the fact that she has her own difficult personal issues to overcome, and that sometimes these interrupt and interfere with her work. She is intelligent and quick, but flawed, and very human, haunted by certain events in her past and trying to cope in the face of anxiety and panic attacks, and yet she is determined to do a proper job at all times, to fight doggedly for the truth and to keep pushing people to the limits to get answers, whoever she comes up against, and I like her for all these reasons. This is another dramatic, intriguing instalment in the Jenny Cooper series. Looking forward to number 5 already.

As for holidays, well, we'll hop in the car and stick to the UK this year... '
4.5/5
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2012
The fourth book in the series follows coroner Jenny Cooper as she investigates the death of a sailor, presumably as a result of a plane crash. The body of a 10 year old girl, who appears to have survived the plane crash, is also found washed up. As Jenny tries to connect the dots, the official investigation into the fate of the world's largest high-tech commercial airliner appears to be doing its best to stop her.

Although a little heavy in technical detail at times, an intelligent well written plot with a likable protagonist will keep you turning the pages. Don't be put off he you haven't read the earlier books in the series either; this was my first M.R. Hall book, and it certainly won't be my last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2012
I've never had a fear of flying and on one holiday I flew ten times in the space of a month without an ounce of anxiety. That said, I haven't much experience of turbulence which I imagine is pretty frightening. M.R. Hall's The Flight depicts the tragedy of a plane crash and the mysteries that surround it. This is the fourth in a series of novels featuring coroner Jenny Cooper and would be my first taste of her work.

The novel focuses on Flight 189 which crashes into the Severn Estuary leaving no survivors. Just a terrible tragedy? While initial theories suggest a lightning strike there are further mysteries waiting to be unravelled. 10 year old Amy Patterson is found washed up alongside a sailor whose boat appears to have been hit by the plane. How did Amy survive the crash only to die in the water? Why was she found by the side of the sailor? How did such a prestigious plane fail at the cost of so many innocent lives? While Jenny Cooper is assigned to investigate the death of the sailor, she becomes drawn into the mystery of Flight 189 but in getting closer to the truth she discovers there are some people who do not want answers to emerge.

The novel opens quickly with the terrible plane crash. Amy Patterson is due to fly back to America with her father but he has to remain in London due to his work. When Amy is killed along with the rest of the passengers, her father Greg Patterson is distraught but not as much as Amy's mother, Michelle Patterson, who flies to the UK demanding answers. While Sir James Kendall leads the investigation into the plane crash, Mrs Patterson turns to Jenny to help find the answers to her daughter's death. Not only is Jenny moved by the grieving Pattersons but Mrs Patterson has some intriguing theories about why the plane came down. It turns out that some passengers were moved from an earlier flight to the ill-fated Flight 189 and as Jenny digs deeper it begins to seem like more than just a coincidence.

Pressured by Mrs Patterson, Jenny strays outside the law in her pursuit of the truth and is helped along the way by her conflictive assistant, Alison, and a former RAF pilot Michael Sherman. Michael's ex Nuala Casey is one of the victims on Flight 189 and as the novel develops it seems that a one word text she sent to Michael before the plane crashed may be a key clue to unravelling the mystery of the crash. Conversations with witnesses yield further clues as Jenny digs deeper and as you follow the story you'll not be able to resist speculating as to what happens. You'll have to wait till the very end, of course, to learn the truth.

I enjoyed The Flight. Jenny Cooper wasn't the strongest leading character I have encountered but she made for a good heroine and was well supported by the other characters. There is a bit of technical description in here which may go over your head, it certainly did mine, but I didn't feel it undermined the narrative. The conclusion was very apt, not necessarily a wonderfully happy ending but we do get answers to the mystery and it's worth the wait.

The Flight is an enjoyable and intriguing thriller. There is some technical detail in there but it shouldn't impact too heavily on your enjoyment of the book. This is Jenny Cooper's fourth outing and I wouldn't be opposed to reading more about her.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2012
I will not summarise the book here - as others have done a good job of that - but I will say that I found it the most un_put_downable of the series about Jenny Cooper.

There is more to the news headlines when the Airbus crashes in the Severn Estuary - and Jenny the district coroner sets about the difficult task of sides-stepping political forces to find the cause. I am delighted to read another book set in my own part of the country - and pleased that the main character has got to grips with her personal problems from previous books. This is book to read with your feet firmly on the ground - and if you live in the greater Bristol area so much the better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2013
Being an ex aircraft engineer and often from my garden in FUlton the graceful flights of the A380 and other AIrbus aircraft. ALso being a fan of the Silent Witness program on TV there was an intriguing similarity of the two in this awesome story that gripped my attention from the first to the last chapters of the story even though the final outcome was weird.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2012
The 3rd book in the series was awful so I was pleasantly surprised by this 4th one which is much more readable. You do have to give the author a wide degree of licence as the heroine is so implausible - a small time country coroner who makes the cream of the country look completely stupid and rather than sacking her they keep overlooking her absurdities. If you can ignore that then the plot is actually well thought out and quite novel. As other reviewers have said her psychiatric problems really grate on the reader and should be omitted next time. But I did actually enjoy this book and wanted to find out what happened which is always a good recommendation.
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I really don't advise reading this book before making an aeroplane flight to anywhere. The story is about the investigation into the crash of an aircraft. One of the bodies from the flight as well as what appears to be a fisherman who was below the crash wash up on the shore of the Severn estuary (near Aust for those who know the area) and they are in the jurisdiction of Jenny Cooper who is the coroner for the area. A big investigation is set up for the majority of the victims but Jenny decides to keep the inquest for the fisherman when the family of one child who was on the aircraft appeal for her help because they think that things are being covered up.

This is excellent plotting and the details about the aircraft and its plunge from the skies is very well done and quite detailed (hence my warnings if a flight is imminent). The way in which a large investigation is put together and how the coroner's court is run is fascinating and you can see how this would all come together. When you get into the investigation which Jenny makes with a pilot who had an ex-girlfriend on the aeroplane you can see what could have happened and why. The author is also expert at conveying the often unspoken pressure on Jenny to toe the time.

I do have some reservations about Jenny's behaviour which I suspect is not typical or realistic - she breaks into houses, sees witnesses in car parks and removes evidence. I also have significant reservations about the behaviour of her assistant who is very unprofessional and rude. I think that these are overcome by the complexity of the plot and the satisfaction you get as it unravels and Jenny's sense of mission and the importance of what she is doing.
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on 9 March 2015
Firstly I want to thank my cousin for recommending this book to me (albeit on a flight(!)). Secondly, why have I not heard of this author before? He lives literally on my doorstep! Thirdly, regular readers of my blog will know that I a) love books with plane crashes in and b) rarely blog about books that haven't been 'recently' published. For The Flight I make an exception. I digress...

The Flight is a crime/thriller novel from a perspective that I had not considered before, that of the coroner.

Coroner Jenny Cooper (the main protagonist of M.R. Hall's coroner series) is called to investigate the death of a sailor, whose ship wreck appears to be have been caused by the crash of a large passenger aircraft that mysteriously plunged in to the Severn Estuary. The largely unmarked body of Amy Patterson, a ten year old passenger of Flight 189 is found nearby, with her lifejacket inflated.

This leaves Jenny with a lot of unanswered questions;

Did she survive the initial crash?

Why is she so close to the sailor?

Are their deaths linked or is it just a tragic coincidence?

And how on earth did one of the world's most advanced passenger jets fall from the sky?

Of course, we know that the last question is one that can be answered with some confidence. Pilot Error. Catastrophic failure. Inclement weather. There are all causes of fatal crashes in the past, some alone, and some combined together. Some crashes remain a mystery forever, but Jenny Cooper, does not want these questions to go unanswered. She is convinced that there is a link, that no one wants her to make. There is something about the way that the authorities around her are acting, that only makes Jenny more determined.

The Flight is a novel that will have you gripped from start to finish, and with recent world events, its conclusion may leave you chilled to the bone.
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on 17 February 2012
When Ransome Airways Flight 189, bound for New York with 600 passengers and crew on board, plummet's into the Severn Estuary shortly after leaving Heathrow, it falls into North Somerset's Coroners jurisdiction, but two bodies wash up in the jurisdiction of Severn Vale District Coroner Jenny Cooper.

Jenny is currently investigating an unexplained fatal car accident, and along with her current case load is relieved that she doesn't have the job of ca 600 bodies to deal with. And when she is contacted by her immediate boss to transfer her two bodies to the temporary D-Mort (Disaster Mortuary) that has been set up in North Somerset, she puts matters in motion to effect the transfer. But her initial inspection of the bodies throws up the fact that one of the bodies was not a passenger on the fated airliner, but a sailor in the wrong place at the wrong time, the other is that of a ten-year-old girl.

The crashed plane is the world's largest commercial airliner the Airbus A380, designed to carry five-hundred and twenty-five passengers in a normal three class configuration - Ransome Airlines had managed to squeeze in closer to six hundred. As you will surmise a crash of such magnitude demands extensive investigation as to what happened to this airplane that has a sophisticated network of computers and electronics. And the relative investigation bodies swing into action with alacrity.

This is a David and Goliath story, as Jenny Cooper continues to conduct her own investigation even when warned off. This screams to her `cover-up' and we are with her all the way. Whilst she is under pressure from her boss to leave matters alone, she also has to deal with the grieving mother of the ten-year-old dead girl, who brings some big guns to pressurise Jenny. Not to mention the continual disapproval of everything she does by Alison Trent her own officer.

Apart from an intriguing mystery and interesting facts about air travel, there is some marvellous characterisation, I loved Detective Inspector Williams who will do anything to get one over `the bastard English'.

One of those books that you can't put down, or turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened next. Don't miss it.
-------
Lizzie Hayes
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This is an excellent thriller but it does pay to have read the earlier books in the series. Jenny Cooper is the Severn Vale District Coroner. She has a complicated history which has been revealed over the previous three books, The Coroner, The Disappeared and The Redeemed. The Flight can be read as a stand alone novel, but it will be less enjoyable and a lot more complicated than if you have read the earlier books.

The opening chapter is the build up to an air disaster. The rest of the book is devoted to finding out what has happened. Jenny, as Severn Vale coroner, has responsibility for the bodies washed up on her side of the river. The majority of the investigation is to be carried out by an important nominee from London.

Soon Jenny starts to believe that her investigation is being hindered by the powers that be. She is not receiving evidence that she needs and feels that she is kept out of the loop. On one side she is pressured to close the proceedings quickly, but she is also being pressured by a grieving relation to dig more deeply.

The possibility of conspiracies start to emerge - not one but several, all hardly credible but equally plausible - or is it Jenny's paranoia? Could it be industrial espionage, political assassination, the first onslaught of a new cold war or a ruthless entrepreneur cutting costs to increase profit? Perhaps it is just an unfortunate accident, an act of God.

Meanwhile Jenny's father is dying, which is doing nothing for her state of mind, and her assistant, Alison is being her usual, hyper-critical self, undermining Jenny's confidence at every turn.

The story resolves itself so that we know more or less what has happened but all sorts of moral issues are raised: about what governments should and should not be able to do, about what the public should be allowed to know and about the integrity of the law.

We are given lots of technical detail about modern aviation, but it does not detract from the story. In fact, I think it heightens the tension.

This series goes from strength to strength - an excellent read (but perhaps not on an aeroplane!).
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