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The disappeared by M. R. Hall
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The disappeared (edition 2009)

by M. R. Hall

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1067113,849 (3.31)4
Member:KAzevedo
Title:The disappeared
Authors:M. R. Hall
Info:New York : Simon & Schuster, 2009.
Collections:Fiction, Read in 2012, Read but unowned
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Series, Mystery/Crime/Suspense/Thriller

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The Disappeared by M. R. Hall

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English (6)  Swedish (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Jenny Cooper is a UK coroner who agrees to open an inquest on two young Muslims who disappeared years previously. Her battle to find the truth is obstructed from all sides - the families who just want the past to remain so; the families who are too caught up in grief to see how they damage their cause; the security services who seem to have a stake in the outcome; the police who perhaps did a less than stellar job in investigating the disappearances at the time. This is a bleak book where every character has flaws and demons that attack their ability to do the right thing, make them lie or push them to the edge of madness with the 'heroine' perhaps the most dysfunctional of them all. The workaday start to the story - well, workaday for someone who deals in dead people - builds slowly to a complex interplay of psychological and actual violence with plenty of twists, although none of these are out of context. As life often is, the ending is satisfying, final and with loose ends that do not all make sense. ( )
  pierthinker | Sep 8, 2013 |
Hall seems to be a frustrated psychiatrist or perhaps a wannabe pharmaceutical sales rep - his constant refrain is his protagonist's need for medications to keep her anxiety under control. While he refers to the deadening effects such drugs often have, he minimizes the frustrations patients often experience with this. And he incorporates psychotherapy into the narrative but with no explanation of the synergy between talk therapy and psychopharmaceuticals. All of this rather burdens what would otherwise be an excellent novel of mystery or suspense dealing with issues of ethnic prejudice, cultural and generational conflicts, terrorism and the balance between national security and justice. Only the final line draws me toward Jenny Cooper's next case. ( )
  amac121212 | Feb 7, 2011 |
Some things are peculiarly English – like Inquests, Coroners Courts, and young Muslims who, although they may be second generation British, rebel against their upbringing and their country to become Islamic fundamentalists.

To all appearances Nazim Jamal was just another hothead who vanished into a Middle Eastern terrorist training camp: only his mother is convinced of his innocence, and she manipulates Severn Vale District Coroner Jenny Cooper into investigating her son’s disappearance before declaring him legally dead.

Although Jenny is an unnecessarily irritating character, this is an interesting book and quite an eye-opener into the political machinations endemic to the post 9/11 British secret service. ( )
  adpaton | Mar 23, 2010 |
First Line: During her six months as coroner for the Severn Vale District, Jenny Cooper had known only a handful of corpses to remain unidentified for more than a day or two.

A distraught mother asks Coroner Jenny Cooper to declare her son legally dead. Eight years ago her son and a university friend disappeared. After a rather shoddy police investigation, Mrs. Jamal has been in limbo. She needs closure.

Cooper is hesitant to accept the case, especially when the police tell her that the two young men are believed to have fled to Afghanistan to join al-Qaeda. Mrs. Jamal is adamant that her son was not an extremist. As Jenny's investigation broadens, she meets with resistance, not only from the police, but from MI5 who start talking about national security.

Jenny Cooper is a very interesting, and very flawed, character. She suffers from acute anxiety and depends upon medication to keep herself together. She's raw from a nasty divorce. She's trying to be a good parent to a difficult teenaged boy. The man in her current relationship wants commitment, and her job is stressful and demanding. She's trying to give 110% to each facet of her life, and there are times when she almost comes unglued.

My favorite parts of the book involve the inquest when Jenny has to face down all the people who are trying to sweep these two young men under the rug. Jenny refuses to back down. She refuses to accept anything but the truth and justice. She can face up to anything, but when the pressure is off and she's alone, her anxiety kicks in, and she starts coming unraveled.

At times it felt as though there were too many bad guys with too many motives wanting to stop Jenny. Each new villain and each new motive were explored, and this caused problems with the pacing of the book. I got the feeling I was a passenger in a car with a faulty clutch. Herky jerky. Stop and go. It was frustrating.

This is the second book in the Jenny Cooper series. The first is The Coroner which hasn't been published in the United States. I feel as though I should warn potential readers of something. The dust jacket of the book trumpets "in the best-selling tradition of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta." Don't you believe it. Jenny Cooper is nothing like Kay Scarpetta, primarily because a coroner in Great Britain does not conduct autopsies. British coroners are concerned with the legal aspects... inquests and the like.

I liked Jenny, but did I like the book enough to read others in the series? The jury's still out on that one. ( )
  cathyskye | Feb 28, 2010 |
Jenny is a flawed character who is trying to work out her place in the coroner system in the UK as well as in her own family. A grieving mother seeks her out about a son who has been missing for 10 years. The son, of arabic decent, seems to have been swept under the "public" carpet. Jenny seeks out the reason for the sparse and misleading information ( )
  pharrm | Feb 22, 2010 |
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During her six months as coroner for the Severn Vale District, Jenny Cooper had known only a handful of corpses remain unidentified for more than a day or two.
Quotations
'You're a temptation, that's what you are', McAvoy said. 'A sweet and beautiful temptation as dark and damned as I am. I can't even touch your hand for fear-'

'Of what?' Jenny said.

He shook his head again. 'Let's talk about something else.'
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Jenny Copper, a coroner with a detective's eye, investigates the disappearance of two young Muslim students, who vanished without a trace seven years ago. The police had concluded that the boys, under surveillance for some time for suspicion of terrorism, had fled to Pakistan. Now, sufficient time has passed for the law to declare the boys legally dead, and a final declaration is left up to Jenny who isn't satisfied with this easy solution.… (more)

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