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Saturday, 30 November 2013

‘The Sixth Soul’ by Mark Roberts

Published by Atlantic Books,
5 February 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-85789-786-2

Typically I start my reviews with a synopsis of the narrative, trying not to reveal too much of the denouement and risk spoiling the reader's enjoyment. This time, I’d like you to indulge me while I explain that I tend to make notes as I read so that when I come to write my review at the end, I don't need to double-check the finer details such as exact chronology, characters names etc.

On this occasion, however, I suddenly realised I had got halfway through the book and not paused to make a single note as I was utterly immersed in the story.

A depraved serial killer stalks Londoners, abducting and murdering pregnant women before removing their foetuses and dumping the mothers' corpses at different locations around the capital.

Seemingly the work of a fetishist, deeper purpose has been eliminated by psychological profilers. Until Father Sebastian, an occult specialist with a murky background of his own, contacts DCI David Rosen to suggest the murderers are the work of a Satanist who is copying a serial killer from hundreds of years earlier.

Suspicious of the priest's motives, without the support of his boss and hamstrung by a lack of forensic evidence, Rosen also has personal concerns: his wife Sarah has just fallen pregnant. But what should be a joyous time is overshadowed by the memory of the child they lost.

As the murder investigation progresses, leading Rosen and his colleagues in unanticipated directions, he has to work out what's real...

This reader was thoroughly beguiled by the wily author, who revelled in the jungle of confusion.
Reviewer: Joanna Leigh

Mark Roberts was born and raised in Liverpool and was educated at St. Francis Xavier's College. He was a mainstream teacher for twenty years and for the last ten years has worked as a special school teacher. He received a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for best new play of the year. The Sixth Soul is his first novel for adults.

Joanna Leigh studied French and German at university. She works in the aerospace industry and is a chartered marketer in the UK. She describes herself as a voracious reader, enjoying genres as varied as crime thrillers, historical fiction and autobiographies. Joanna lives in London. She is the daughter of crime thriller writer Leigh Russell.

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