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This is a superb follow-up to The Coroner (Jenny Cooper 1), Hall's first book which introduced the character of Jenny Cooper, the most relentless (and reckless) investigator this side of Rebus. At one level of course it's a blend of familiar tropes - the detective who won't take "no" for an answer, even when They tell her to lay off; the self-destructive detective, who can't survive without drink or pills and the faceless, vague conspiracy that must be faced down.

Yet underneath, there is powerful current of mystery about Cooper's past - what childhood events is she suppressing, which drive her (we are, none too subtly, told) to uncover identities and seek justice for the dead? (And which also drive her to panic symptoms which she grapples with through medicatiin and counselling).

I know, it sounds a lot to bear with in a simple mystery. But this isn't a simple mystery. Hill fuses these elements and produces something truly compelling - whether you're reading to try and piece Jenny's past together, or waiting for the next episode in which she lays dignity, career, or even life in the line, or whether you are intrigued by the events she's doggedly investigating.

Here, Jenny is at her best, managing her awkward, prickly relationship with Alison, her Coroner's Officer (or her awkward, prickly relationships with her boyfriend, ex husband and son) while investigating the disappearance, some years before, of two teenagers - a disappearance which seems to have pointers towards her past. It's great fun to read, and I'm glad to see that Hall has another coming up later in 2011, The Redeemed (Jenny Cooper 3)
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on 24 May 2016
Two young men vanish.
They are Muslims
They are a bit religious
They have grown beards
Therefore they must have gone to jihad in Syria.

Except that they haven't.

The police and security services are less than helpful. Well what a surprise! The coroner pokes at the loose ends of the evidence until she finds the truth. I liked it, but perhaps the author has over-egged the pudding - the radioactive assassin was a bit too far over the top. Still, I'm off to look for the next book by this author now - always a good test of a novel I think
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on 4 May 2017
I love the Coroner Jenny Cooper series, it's such a change from the usual thriller or police drama books I read. Instead of focussing on the morbid and often violent crimes, Coroner Cooper has curiosity around why rather than the what happened? For a male writer to create and develop a female lead role shows Matthew Hall's experience of professional women in many roles. His sensitive treatment of Ms Cooper's psychiatric experiences is well placed and very up to date with current initiatives to deal with mental health issues in a much more sensitive way. An excellent read always with a twist until the very last page.
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Another story of coroner Jenny Cooper from M.R. Hall. Once again there is a cast of credible, well drawn characters and a plot involving suspected terrorists against a background of modern Britain. The story bowls along at a good pace and is an enjoyable read. The only problem was that I felt one or two of the plot lines, while dramatic, were not fully integrated into the action so I was left wondering how they actually fitted in. Can't say any more without giving away part of the plot and spoiling your read. Despite this minor point this is an enjoyable and gripping read.
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on 24 August 2017
I didn't find this book as compelling as the previous book and was quite disappointed but I will
try the next one and see where that takes me.
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on 31 July 2015
Good read but stretched my powers of tying everything up, finished book not entirely sure what exactly had happened. Still wondering if I need to read it again to get it all straight in my head.
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on 4 February 2017
What a great story full of twists an turns I just could not put th e book down having now read all of books 1an 2 what a great start to Feb 2017
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on 28 March 2017
Didn't like the plot quite so much as the first book but I like the development of the main character and am looking forward to reading teh next in the series.
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on 13 April 2017
very good, spoilt a bit by floating back to the past which was nothing to do with the story line
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on 26 April 2017
A very good read. I couldn't put it down. Second book in The Coroner series. First one The Coroner also good.
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