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4.3 out of 5 stars116
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 24 December 2012
I'm a big fan of Jenny Cooper - this short story is brilliant. Really enjoyed it and it whetted my appetite for more - can't wait for the new one out next month. Thoroughly recommend this - it's set before any of the books and gives another insight into Jenny and her complicated life.
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on 13 February 2013
This is the first book I have ever read by M R Hall. I came across it by looking for free books for my kindle. I am a fan of Kay Scarpetta books but found this one to be just as enjoyable and in fact much easier to read, not so intense with coroners jargon that you cannot understand what you are reading. Once I started reading it I could not put my kindle down. I got so into the character of Jenny Cooper that I have now purchased the next 4 in the series. Very enjoyable and would recommend to people who like crime books. Cracking twist at the end!!
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on 18 February 2013
Gripping read! A prequel to MR Hall's Jenny Cooper (the Coroner) series which will get you hooked. After reading this I bought the rest and am thoroughly enjoying them. MR Hall is a master plotter and an enchanting storyteller. (Should come with a warning that once you start, you'll have to finish them all.)
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on 17 February 2013
A clear, concise and gripping short story giving the background to subsequent stories about the Coroner, Jenny Cooper.
Highly recommended either as as an introduction to subsequent books or if you have read any of them an essential addition to the library.
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on 10 February 2016
Despite some glaring typos, I was drawn into the story. I wanted to know what happened and why. I enjoyed it - if that's the right word for a fairly grim story. However, it did feel a bit two-dimensional, everyone is so quick to turn against Jenny. There are times when people feel alone and abandoned and that was realistic, but in this context we have to see all Jenny's colleagues as self-serving and distrustful. Risks tainting entire professions, as neither Police nor Social Workers show her any compassion. There is no sign of the troubled past that appears in the series proper, nor does she come across as cold or unpleasant. So it is hard to understand why none of her colleagues is remotely friendly, let alone a friend.
Her desire to be available to someone in such need and her own need to escape from her job, even if only for a few minutes, are believable - there is a tension between wanting to be human and needing to be professional. In addition,
her concern for her son also explains the "error" that drives the story - but this is error is somehow, both bad enough to provoke the aforementioned abandonment and yet so slight as to have no implications for her future as a Coroner - this is, paradoxically, both annoying - because of the suddenn, unexpected, outcome, and true to life - because the same facts often are interpreted in very different ways by different people. How or why we reach the outcome is not explored, we are given little insight into the mind of the Coroner who represents Jenny's new beginning and anticipates her new career. Jenny seems likeable, if a little too vulnerable - not at all like she seems to become in the first novel. As much as I liked this, I don't feel drawn to read the series.
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on 28 April 2014
I have 5 books by M R Hall in the Jenny Cooper series so when this ebook became available I got it only to find out that it was an early story in Jenny's professional life when she was a lawyer. Others have commented that it is too short but for what it says it is word perfect. As many such short accounts the ebook promotes a later book in the series as an introduction to the character and then previews much of The Chosen Dead. Where others perhaps take a season like Christmas to join up their other books and principal characters M R Hall has offered fresh insights into why Cooper changed career path and became a Coroner. Therefore it sets me up nicely to read book 1 in the Jenny Cooper series - The Coroner.
As someone who likes to read books in chronological order or from dates of publication this later edition provides wonderful backstory and presents a women I would be interested in reading about even before you contemplate the mysteries she seeks to unravel. At I time when authors look at the earlier days of their detectives this is a welcome jumping off point for me to commit fully to reading this series that has always appealed to me. For that reason alone the ebook has served its purpose and demonstrates the benefit of owning an electronic devise to read books where publication costs mean a short story would not be published other than in a journal or magazine.
For anyone familiar with M R Hall's work this short story will be a treat; for others like me it might finally convince them to read the whole series sooner rather than later.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 June 2013
My first outing with this author and I enjoyed this short which I've read before starting The Coroner.

The story rolled along nicely, each character sketched with sufficient detail to get a feel for their personality. The cross questioning dialogue in the courtroom was particularly effective and realistic. Nothing demanding and I enjoyed this as a quick read and an introduction to the central character in the full length books.
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on 7 February 2013
Having not read any of the 'Jenny Cooper' books, I downloaded this prequel to see if I wanted to get into the series.
I guess M.R.Hall must have worked in Child Protection in some capacity, as I was immediately plunged into the world of abused and neglected youngsters and their abused and neglected parents; well-meaning foster carers; police and social workers anxious to cover their backs as much as protect those in their care, and all the frustration, suspicion and unsatisfactory outcomes inherent in this line of work.
Jenny comes across as an interesting, complex and likeable person whom I should like to know better. Her relationship with her husband and son are touched upon: I am keen to learn more, though unfortunately another review has told me more than I would wish to know before I continue reading.
I certainly will read the other books: yet another promising new series discovered since acquiring my kindle last year. So this taster has certainly achieved what it was supposed to - at least for me!
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Hall has written a series of books about Jenny Cooper, Coroner for Severn Vale, a woman with a troubled past - and an unshakeable dedication to uncovering the truth: the "last thing" she can do for the dead.

In this short "prequel", an accident draws Cooper's thoughts back to ten years before. We see her in an earlier role, when, as a lawyer working for social services, and having to question her own motivations and commitment after a young girl dies, Jenny is herself brought before the Coroner. Perhaps this is the start of the series of traumas that will leave her divorced, subject to panic attacks - and herself The Coroner? Through that difficult time she will be able to hold on to the words spoken to her at the end of this story: "Don't weaken. Whatever you do, don't weaken. And never stray from the side of the angels - they need you."

A lovely bonus from M R Hall, in advance of the next Jenny Cooper book, The Chosen Dead, the opening chapters of which are also included.
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on 6 October 2014
A taster short story, from before JC became a coroner, but involving her in the workings of a coroner's court. If you aren't sure whether you want to read these books, I strongly recommend that you try this freebie.
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