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Customer Review

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely splendid read, 31 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Chosen Dead (Coroner Jenny Cooper Series) (Hardcover)
I highlighted this novel in my November "Watch out for these" post on the blog I write for (The Crime Warp). It's the fifth in M R Hall's Jenny Cooper series and an absolutely splendid read.

The protagonist is Jenny Cooper, coroner for Severn Vale, whose attention is caught by two deaths. The first is a suicide by a young aid worker who jumped into traffic off a motorway bridge. The second is a sudden death from meningitis of the young daughter of a family friend of her husband's.

Jenny tries to get to the bottom of each case, with inconsistencies and mysterious events convincing her that she needs to dig further to get to the truth. Her instincts are quickly confirmed when she's contacted by the oily and increasingly powerful civil servant Simon Moreton, who continues to try and keep Jenny in check to avoid any possible public embarrassment. As the plot develops, she finds the cases are linked and danger comes close to her and her family, putting lives at risk in a frightening way that she never expected or could even have imagined.

Using the role of coroner as the sleuth is a great idea, which Hall has made to work really well. Jenny Cooper herself is a credible and convincing character both as coroner and a person. She's changed as the series has developed, shedding her demons, rediscovering a zest for life, but always retaining an unwavering passion for the truth. Her character flaws however, remain - she's by no means perfect, but thankfully her judgement is spot and her doggedness is marvellous. The plot in this book is excellent and carries that trademark of all Hall's book of a big contemporary issue woven into the book as an underlying thread and crafted into a compelling narrative. The book is well-paced with twists, turns and tension, relentlessly building to a crescendo and a clear, satisfying reveal.

If you're new to M R Hall and not sure where to start, Amazon has a free download of a prequel to the Jenny Cooper series - The Innocent
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