review written & read live on the bookshow by Corinna christopher 4th Dec 2014
The main story in this crime novel is the disappearance of two Asian university students Nazim and Rafi. In spite of investigations seven years ago by the Police and Secret Services no trace of them has been found. The informed opinion is that they have left the country after belonging to some terrorist organisation.
This slightly complex novel is different from the usual since it is about the Severn Vale District Coroner, Jenny Cooper. Separated from her husband and living with her schoolboy son Ross she is a professional and dedicated officer and during the book we are told much about the details of a Coroner's court and how proceedings are carried out. Unfortunately Jenny does have psychological problems and with the help of a psychiatrist and medication usually manages to cope.
The mother of Nazim Mrs. Jamal comes to Jenny for help. After seven years her son is presumed dead and there needs to be a court hearing to decide this. Mrs Jamal is convinced her son has done no wrong and would never disappear and not contact her. Jenny decides to look further into the case.
There now follows much detective work and lots of new characters. To add to the mix there is a naked dead body found on the river estuary, a missing young girl working at the local nuclear power station and a rogue lawyer cum solicitor McAvoy who represented Mrs. Jamal. In addition we have witnesses who claim to have seen the men on a train and crossing the Severn bridge. Later we have the death of Mrs. Jamal in mysterious circumstances and apparently contaminated with nuclear matter., identified as Caesium 137. A dosimeter is used to determine this fact. (have never heard of this gadget!!)
Jenny attempts to unravel all of this and does eventually establish the truth, at the same time as trying to deal with her personal problems .
This book is full of interesting facts and I liked that it is set around Bristol. I did feel that there was rather too much about Jenny's mental state of mind and also the interview she had with the psychiatrist at the time I thought was not relevant. However, at the end of the book there is a startling revelation which could maybe indicate a further book! This was a good read and I enjoyed it though the reader does need to concentrate throughout.
The author is a screenwriter, producer and criminal barrister. His debut novel “The Coroner” was very successful.