This reader is happy to report that M. R. Hall’s sequel to his stunning debut, The Coroner, is just as intriguing.
In The Disappeared, seven years have elapsed since the disappearance and presumed death of two young Muslim students. The case comes before Jennie’s court when the boys can be declared legally dead. A final declaration is up to the inquest that coroner Jenny Cooper must conduct.
As her investigation ensues, Jenny picks up the unmistakable stench of corruption, with the British Secret Services playing a role. Her case takes turn after turn, building toward a shocking collection of power and influence. Her investigation meets with a determined and sometimes menacing resistance. At the same time, a Jane Doe corpse and a missing nuclear scientist cross her path.
Adding to Jenny’s anxiety are her problems with her teen son, Ross, who disapproves of her every move; her relationship with her neighbor Steve; and the emotions stirred up by the appearance of a lawyer with a spotty past who just may hold the key to her entire investigation.
Hall does a good job of intertwining Jenny’s personal problems, including her recurring anxiety confronting a gap in her childhood memory. Bringing his skills as a lawyer and screenwriter to his novels, this series promises to be continuing revelation.