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4.1 out of 5 stars120
4.1 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 January 2012
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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on 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!!!!
11 comment12 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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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on 17 August 2015
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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on 19 December 2012
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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on 26 February 2012
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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on 13 March 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which made compulsive reading for me. The topic of assisted suicide and the additional weird request, is a most unusual one. The plot is not straightforward or predictable and is almost believable. The characterisation of Alice, her story and her strangeness are excellently depicted by Ruth Dugdall. Alice speaks directly to the reader, in the present tense which adds more drama to this shocking and thought provoking book. The story lingered with me long after I finished the book.

The errors within the book, to which other reviewers refer, did not bother me - I was absolutely 'hooked' from start to finish.

If you like a sinister, dark tale and wish to try a book that is different, then I recommend it. The Kindle download price is extremely cheap at 99p!!
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on 23 October 2012
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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on 19 June 2013
The Sacrificial Man

Crime thrillers are not usually my favourite genre, however in this case I bought this book as my daughter had recommended it to me.

I have never read anything by Ruth Dugdall prior to this. This was an excellent book, unusual plot and some stand out characters. Some of the characters are not exactly nice people, but once you read their back-story at least you can understand their motivation.

Truly captivating from start to finish, if you are unsure whether to read this or not, give it a go. I am sure that like me you will be captivated and read it from start to finish.

Would make perfect holiday reading.
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on 23 July 2012
I really enjoyed this book. It gripped me from the beginning, and if you like a good mystery which is full of suspense and psychological insights, this book is perfect.
The book is singled out from others in the genre by the main character, Alice. It is quickly clear that there is more going on under the surface than is immediatly obvious, and i loved the way the story develops and the way my perception altered as the story progressed.
I would recommend this book, and i think that i would probably read it again. I will be following up to find more by this author.
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