BLOG BLITZ: The Cuckoo Wood by M. Sean Coleman

Review published on November 9, 2018.

Nudge is pleased to be participating in the blog blitz for The Cuckoo Wood by M. Sean Coleman!

Here’s a little info about the book:

Samantha Jaynes took her life in the cold lake. Now Rosie Trimble has done the same. Both claimed they had seen an angel. And they’re not the only ones.

A spate of teenage suicides rattles the rural community of Kirkdale, in England’s Lake District. Before they died, each of the girls talked about seeing an angel. Is this collective hallucination, or is something more sinister leading these young girls to their deaths?

That’s a question for Dr Alex Ripley, the so-called Miracle Detective. Brought in to help the police, she finds a community rooted in fear and suspicion, bound by their strange faith, unwilling to help, unable to forgive.

Because the people of Kirkdale have buried their dark past once, and they’re not about to let Ripley dig it up again.

The Cuckoo Wood is the first Alex Ripley Mystery.

And a little about author M. Sean Coleman:

Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.

He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.

He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.

And here’s Gill’s review of The Cuckoo Wood:

Unsure what to expect, as this author was unfamiliar to me, I sat down with an open mind and the lovely anticipation of starting a new book. Underneath the main title of The Cuckoo Wood was the subtitle ‘An Alex Ripley Mystery’. I wrongly presumed that Alex was male, but once I discovered she wasn’t, I will admit I couldn’t get the image of Sigourney Weaver from my head!! If that sounds ‘Alien’ to you – ha – it is!

Alex Ripley is a learned lady dubbed the Miracle Detective and known for her scepticism where matters of the psychic, angelic interventions and miracle healing are concerned. Her curiosity piqued by her forensic officer friend, Emma, who believes she has a case that could use Ripley’s expertise, Ripley hot foots it to the village of Kirkdale. Two girls have apparently independently committed suicide after claiming to have seen an angel.

What follows is a tightly plotted, tense and atmospheric thriller that I think it is unlikely you will second guess!! The village and all its inhabitants are creepy and a dark past seems to be at the root of what follows. Its a Royston Vasey kind of village – for local people – but without the humour. The characters are solid, well drawn. They all seem to have a secret of some kind or give that impression. I suspected nearly everyone at one point or another, apart from Ripley and Emma! It’s that uncertainty and the sinister undertones that urge you to read on and on. It’s an evenly paced narrative that doesn’t look to make you jump with the unexpected. It’s more like a spring that slowly uncoils. The tension is palpable at times. The titular Cuckoo Wood is eerie and reading late into the night I had to stop because I was getting spooked!!

The suggestion that there are psychic or angelic forces at play is well sustained throughout and there is a subtle, on the fence kind of sense that maybe, just maybe, this will be the occasion when Ripley has to concede there there is ‘something out there’. And whether that turns out to be the case or not is just one reason why you might want to go and read this book!

I have to admit that the final denouement required some intense concentration to slot everything into place and it was here that I thought I might come up against a plot hole or two. But I didn’t! No, sir. Not one. Very satisfying.

Gill Chedgey

The Cuckoo Wood by M. Sean Coleman
Red Dog 9781916426214 pbk Jul 2018

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