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Still raw from an acrimonious divorce, former lawyer Jenny Cooper pops pills to control anxiety as she slowly adjusts to her new career as the coroner for the Severn Vale District, near Bristol, England, in Hall's solid U.S. debut. When a distraught mother asks Cooper to hold an inquest to declare her son legally dead, Cooper is hesitant to take the case. Nazim Jamal and a friend disappeared seven years earlier while at university and, according to the police, probably fled to Afghanistan to join al-Qaeda at the urging of a radical mosque. Nazim's mother is adamant her son was not an extremist. As Cooper's investigation broadens, she's met with resistance not only from the police but also MI5, who claim Nazim's disappearance may have national security implications. Hall (The Coroner) creates an appealingly flawed heroine, but struggles with pacing and the difficult task of precisely defining the coroner's role in solving crimes.(Dec.)
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ISBN-10:  1439156980
ISBN-13:  978-1439156988
Author:  M. R. Hall
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
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review by . October 06, 2010
I very much enjoyed this crime novel by M.R. Hall, which is far more than a great story about terrorism and its consequences on a free society, in this case that of the UK. While it is indeed a gripping tale that features an original plot with an unexpected surprise at the end, The Disappeared operates on multiple levels, offering some incisive observations on how the increasing diversity of people and cultures within a population complicate our professional lives, as well as our social interactions.   …
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