Two young British students, Nazim Jamal and Rafi Hassan, vanish without a trace. The police tell their parents that the boys had been under surveillance, that it was likely they left the country to pursue their dangerous new ideals. Seven years later, Nazim’s grief-stricken mother is still unconvinced. Jenny Cooper is her last hope.
Jenny is finally beginning to settle into her role as coroner for the Severn Valley; the ghosts of her past that threatened to topple her, banished to the sidelines once more. But as the inquest into Nazim’s disappearance gets underway, the stink of corruption and conspiracy becomes clear.
©2010 M.R. Hall; ©2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
The story was serviceable enough but never fully engaged the ‘must know what will happen next’ part of my brain because it seemed fairly obvious from the outset what the overall outcome would be. The set pieces that took place along the way, including those in the courtroom, were competently written but, for me, failed to surprise and felt too much like they’d been assembled from a few newspaper headlines rather than looking at any particular theme or idea in any depth. Issues like the treatment of Muslims after September 11 2001 and the reaction of western governments to the growth of extreme terrorism were given lip service which brought out nothing new or insightful and left me unfulfilled.
The Disappeared isn’t terrible but I just didn’t find it very original or thought-provoking.
Sian Thomas is a terrific narrator though. I’m normally wary of narrators who choose to do foreign accents (they can border on the offensive) but it was well done here and at times the best thing about the fairly dull courtroom scenes.
"Nearly four stars"
I enjoyed the fact that the plot kept moving forward and it was nice to see a female as the lead character in a crime/thriller book for a change. It's a pity that she was such an irritating flake! The alcohol problems, drug problems, psychological problems, poor parenting, divorce, neediness, two-timing, constant self-analysis and navel-gazing made it hard to find anything with which I could empathise. Narration was brilliant though. Overall, a great listen let down by the fact that I hated the main character.
"First class and fascinating"
This is even better than 'The Coroner' and it might be a good idea to read that first. The plot is both exciting and interesting ? and you really want to read the next book. More importantly this is something of a campaigning book and author has some very pertinent points to make about the role of the coroner in modern British society. I will say no more for fear of spoiling the huge enjoyment of listening to this book.
The reading is faultless.
The first book in this series was a respectable attempt at writing something reasonably fresh; not great but a promise of some interesting character development. It was that promise that caused me to delve into the second book in the series and oh, what a disappointment! It was everything I try to avoid in a book, formulaic rubbish that I'm sure I've read a million times before. Worse still was that rather than develop the chief protagonist the author actually manages to reel back in any strands of interest from the previous book and morphs the character into a rather pathetic individual lacking in interest or credibility; the character flaws are supposed to be made interesting by the allusion to some previously unexplained trauma but the lack of explanation just becomes annoying. I couldn't possibly read anything else by this author after suffering this book.
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