The Sacrificial Man ~ Ruth Dugdall

  • Title: The Sacrificial Man    
  • Author: Ruth Dugdall
  • Genre: Dark Fiction/Thriller
  • Format: Kindle
  • Source: Netgalley
  • Reviewed by: Mark Matthews
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  What I want to say is that suicide is my choice. No-one else is to blame. Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a lifetime: Will you help me to die?’

When Probation Officer Cate Austin is given her new assignment, she faces the highest-profile case of her career. Alice Mariani is charged with assisted suicide and Cate must recommend a sentence. Alice insists her story is one of misinterpreted love, forcing those around her to analyse their own lives. Who is to decide what is normal and when does loyalty turn to obsession? Investigating the loophole that lies between murder and euthanasia, Cate must now meet the woman who agreed to comply with her lover’s final request. Shocking revelations expose bitter truths that can no longer be ignored.

Review:  The story of a woman charged with murder for her role in an assisted suicide. Is this murder, or compassion?

Such is an ethical dilemma for our time, but here the implications are deeper for the woman consumed some of the dead man’s flesh.  Was this just offering a merciful helping hand or something more sinister? The question is not only if a crime was committed, but if so, is the culprit sane? and how much of a punishment does she deserve? It is up to her probation officer to recommend a sentence. The plot largely traces and reveals the motives of the characters involved.

The novel has so many secrets that get revealed. Some are subtle and made me grin at the author’s craft. At least one made my jaw completely drop to the floor

The point of view switches often from first person to third, to prose to chat messages to journal. Normally when I would see something written in this manner I would think it was too complicated and took too much work to read. Not so here. It blended together seamlessly and  I looked forward to each change of pace. It was like a multi-media experience.

The narcissism of the first person narrator is done with a cold, self aware style that you won’t soon forget, and offers flashbacks to her time as a child that is full of emotion. There was a sharp realism here that is touching, but none of it bubbled up from the suds of soap-opery moments.

I requested and was accepted this novel on Netgalley, partly because I was looking for a Gillian FLynn-like experience. (If Gillian Flynn ever goes missing, the first place one should look is my own basement.)

As I read I “The Sacrificial Man,” I first thought, ‘No, this isn’t Gillian,’ then I thought, ‘Heck yeah, this is Gillian’s twin,’ and then I found the author had a voice all of her own. Overall, this is a fantastic story, with writing that is lyrical, flowing, and eloquent, yet with an unmistakeable edge.

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