Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"The Disappeared"

M. R. Hall, a screenwriter, producer, and former criminal lawyer, is the author of The Coroner and The Disappeared. Educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Worcester College, Oxford, he lives in the U.K.

He applied the Page 69 Test to The Disappeared and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Disappeared sees my heroine, coroner Jenny Cooper, being approached by two officers from the British Security Services. She’s about to embark on an investigation into the disappearance of two young Muslim students and her visitors give the impression they’d prefer her not to:
Jenny sat back in her chair and tried to see through the fog. She had the feeling this was an attempt to gag and control her from the outset, but the messengers seemed so benign she couldn’t be sure…
Throughout the year I took to write this novel, I wrestled with this aspect of the plot: just how far would or could the Security Services go to suppress a legitimate judicial inquiry into the disappearances of two young men suspected of having terrorist connections? I was worried about making these Establishment forces too sinister to be credible, but I’ve since been vindicated. Last month, November 2009, saw the enactment of a new law which enables our UK government to end or prevent a coroner’s inquest and replace it with a secret inquiry with no reporting of the evidence. This ends an 800 year-old right to a public inquest into a violent or unnatural death.

As a former lawyer I try to write thrillers about real and present injustices. I hope the fact that I deal with current politics and trends give my books an edge. I’m not ashamed of the fact that I’m always for the underdog: experience has taught me that the biggest criminals aren’t hoodlums, but educated men and women who wilfully choose to close their eyes to truth.

On the flipside, the good guys don’t always wear white hats; in fact, often it takes one black heart to recognise another. I explore this theme through the character of Alec McAvoy. Exploring him has confirmed something I always suspected was true: sometimes you have to be bad – I mean, really bad - to be good.
Browse inside The Disappeared, and learn more about the book and author at M.R. Hall's website.

Coinciding with the US publication of The Disappeared, BBC America have released an audio version of the first novel in the series, The Coroner. Click here for a taster.

--Marshal Zeringue