This is first in a new series, and features Jenny Cooper, who has just gone through a traumatic divorce, and a mental breakdown. This has left her battling her past.. dealing with her ex husband, trying to rebuild her relationship with her son, and also rebuild a career – all whilst dealing with the panic attacks that she is left with, and her reliance on antidepressants.
Whilst trying to rebuild her life, Jenny has a new home of her own, and her new job, as a coroner. Her new job is not an easy one, as she is taking over from a man who committed suicide, after his own puzzling change in behaviour. This leads her to start investigating two of the last cases her predecessor was involved in.
With a need to prove herself, she pushes herself into these cases, despite coming up against some sinister resistance. Obviously this push has an effect on her mental health, and it’s unclear whether it will help her recovery, or force her over the edge.
My one criticism is that just over 400 pages, the book is rather long, but then the author does fit a lot in. Jenny is on an edge, and it’s probably this that makes her a believable, likeable person.. there is definitely scope to explore more, continue her story, and hence the series.
The author is a screenwriter, producer, and a former barrister, and these all show. There is an attention to detail, which make for scenes that feel like they would translate well to the small screen.
The Coroner will published by panmacmillan in January 2009 (£10 Hardback)