Review: The Sacrificial Man by Ruth Dugdall

Title: The Sacrificial Man {Cate Austin #2}

Author: Ruth Dugdall

Read an Excerpt

Published: Legend Press Jan 2011

Status: Read from January 06 to 08, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy Legends Press/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the Sacrificial Man, nor how to respond to it. Recommended by Carol at Reading, Writing and Riesling, the blurb certainly sounded intriguing.

The Sacrificial Man tells the story of Alice Mariani, a woman convicted by the courts for helping her lover to die. As Alice insists she has done nothing wrong and deserves no punishment, probation officer Cate Austin begins her investigation to determine an appropriate sentence for the crime.

The reader might expect that the ethics of euthanasia would be at the core of this novel but it is subverted by the study of the twisted psychology and motivations of Alice, and her lover. While I thought the twists to the plot were clever, somehow they failed to catch me unawares, though shocking revelations involving incest, rape, drug addiction and cannibalism did surprise me.

I developed some sympathy for Alice as Dugdall revealed her personal history, but she is not a likeable character, and is quickly exposed as cold, calculating and manipulative. Neither did I engage with Cate, though perhaps if I had read Dugdall’s first book featuring the probation officer, The Woman Before Me, it would have helped.

The Sacrificial Man is an unsettling read, I really can’t articulate why it didn’t affect me more strongly, especially as I do admire the plot and was reluctant to put the book down while reading. This is a dark and disturbing and if asked, I’d recommend it to readers who enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Available to Purchase From

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