Book Review – The Cuckoo Wood by M. Sean Coleman

I wonder why I have been picking up thrillers to read frequently these past few weeks. The thing about mysteries is that they are gripping at times and the need to figure out things has you hooked. And when it comes to thrillers, the thrill is what makes it a good read. And by reading these one picks up little tidbits that are helpful in getting over one’s fears.

The Cuckoo Wood is a story based on happenings in a small and secluded place. The people of the village are extremely religious, and a very close-knit community. One day they are shocked to find one of their own children, Samantha Jaynes, dead on the lake shore. They rule it as a suicide. Being a religious community also means that Samantha’s family gets singled out and ostracized to keep the sin away from the rest of the community.

The Cuckoo Wood by M Sean Coleman

Four months later another girl, Rosie, is found dead at the exact same spot. The similarity and the fact that both girls were going on about angels before they died has investigator Drysdale calling in her friend of many years, Dr Alex Ripley. Ripley, who has studied theology and has managed to rile up religious folks by disproving faith healing and blind belief, is interested in getting to the bottom of this case.

When Ripley arrives in town, she begins to notice many discrepancies in the town. A weird community who turn their backs on each other fearing contracting sin that’s befallen a family; A man who is a sex offender teaching a girls group at church; and mostly a flash of something white running through the woods – could it be the angel that the girls were going on about before they died?

As Ripley investigates this case, she stumbles upon a record of a similar incident from the past that’s happened in the exact same place – six girls found dead, several decades ago on the same day as Samantha Jaynes. Ripley’s snooping around the case also solves the case from the past.

The Cuckoo Wood is the first in the series of Dr Ripley and was a good start to it. We may not get a clearer picture of the person that Dr Ripley is, but we are given an idea of her methods of investigation and a very basic background of her. I figure the next few books in the series will throw light onto the person and what drives Dr Ripley, the inspirations and the motivations. As for The Cuckoo Wood, it was a good beginning. The difficult circumstances of an investigation in a tight-lipped community, the recurring patterns, the eccentricities of beliefs made a perfect backdrop. It was a fairly good start to a great series. If you are looking for a crime thriller without gore and gruesomeness The Cuckoo Wood is the book for you. Perhaps that’s what makes this book a good read, the lack of guts that got spilt and the manner in which it slowly creeps up on you without getting your heart racing.

You can get a copy of The Cuckoo Wood here – Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, iBooks.


The Cuckoo WoodThe Cuckoo Wood by M.Sean Coleman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews


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