Review: ‘The Cuckoo Wood’, by M. Sean Coleman

The Cuckoo Wood


Published by: Red Dog

Publication Date: 25th July 2018

I.S.B.N.: 9781916426214

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.99









Purchase Links

Amazon UK –

Amazon US –

Direct from Red Dog Press –



Samantha Jaynes took her life in the cold lake. Now Rosie Trimble has done the same. Both claimed they had seen an angel. And they’re not the only ones.

A spate of teenage suicides rattles the rural community of Kirkdale, in England’s Lake District. Before they died, each of the girls talked about seeing an angel. Is this collective hallucination, or is something more sinister leading these young girls to their deaths?

That’s a question for Dr Alex Ripley, the so-called Miracle Detective. Brought in to help the police, she finds a community rooted in fear and suspicion, bound by their strange faith, unwilling to help, unable to forgive.

Because the people of Kirkdale have buried their dark past once, and they’re not about to let Ripley dig it up again.

The Cuckoo Wood is the first Alex Ripley Mystery

My Review

I was sent this and the second ‘Alex Ripley Mystery’ by the publisher as part of the blog tours for the books. And very nicely packaged they were, it was like getting an unexpected gift.

I like Dr Alex Ripley and her friend Emma Drysdale, forensic scientist. Emma gets Alex involved when she has to return to the isolated Cumbrian village of Kirkdale, after another girl is found dead in a local pond and angels are mentioned. It’s a closed community, reeling still from the deaths of six local girls in the late seventies. Alex starts her investigation in the pub: the landlord’s sister was one of the six dead girls. When two more girls disappear and Alex is threatened by the police sergeant, desperate to halt any investigation, the pair become more intrigued and rope in PC Dan Cotter and his friend, Luke, who’s sister Phoebe was the third girl to die. The forth girl, Caitlin, is found alive but out of it, thanks to Alex, and when she visits the recovered teenager, Alex finds an important clue. What’s going on with the church youth leader, and who is Daisy, the strange goth girl?

Gripping stuff. I read half the book one night before bed then finished the second half a couple of days later. I like the characterisation of Alex, the claustrophobic atmosphere of the setting and the intertwining of the two stories, forty years apart. One for the fans of thrillers, but with a supernatural element, that would make good Halloween or Christmas reading.

I will be reviewing the second Alex Ripley Mystery on 25th November. I have started reading the book already.

Author Bio –

The Cuckoo - MSeanColeman_AuthorPhoto_HiResBorn in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.
He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.
He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.

Social Media Links –

Giveaway to win paperback copy of The Cuckoo Wood, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates (Open INT)

Giveaway Prize

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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