The Sacrificial Man

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: Not set

Member Reviews

Rating: 4/5

Reading this book felt a bit like being strapped to a seat in a rollercoaster, where occasionally you would feel a bit nauseous but the thrill of it would be so enticing, that you would carry on coming back to it to go one more time. 

It is centred around Alice is an English lecturer, an egomaniac who is to be sentenced for assisted suicide. Cate, a probation officer given Alice’s case to recommend a sentence to the judge, tries to understand what compelled Alice to make that decision and whether she poses a risk to the society. Her probing questions trigger Alice to recount the events of the past few months as well as her childhood and what we learn is both disturbing and fascinating. 

The novel alternates the point of view between the two characters, with an occasional chapter thrown in from some minor character’s perspective. My only complaint is that the chapters from Cate’s point of view, where a tad too short and infrequent for my liking. 

It took me a few days to finish ‘The Sacrificial Man’ as occasionally the elements that made the book so great - the depiction and details surrounding the concept of death and all the gore, as already mentioned, could be a bit much. However, after taking a little break, I would have no problem getting right back to the twisted mind of Alice Mariani. If you’re after something different with a lot of twists and turns, this is the book for you.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book to review. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I hoped. I read the first book in the series and found Cate very captivating and I also enjoyed the ending. With this book, I loved the beginning and the storyline had me hooked (who wouldn’t be intrigued by a story that has an assisted suicide right at the beginning)! And I found the defendant intriguing too, as well as Cate’s change in demeanour. But I feel like the story lost essence in the middle, and I wasn’t as gripped as I was at the beginning. However, I would still recommend it as a good thriller read, and it hasn’t put me off reading more from this author in the future.
Was this review helpful?
In general, I love this genre, but I struggled with this book. I couldn't get into it, and I found myself skipping around  to see if things picked up. Unfortunately, they didn't.  I just couldn't engage with the characters, and the story line didn't grab me as much as I'd expected.
Was this review helpful?
I tried so hard to like this book! I got about halfway through and just couldn’t stay interested . I was completely lost.
Was this review helpful?
This novel is multidimensional mind warping good! Everything is shocking, page after page, and it gets better with every minute as it envelopes you in it’s twisted darkness. Unable to put down I finished this in record time and then wanted to read it again. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for my honest review!! Loved it!!
Was this review helpful?
The Sacrificial Man is a dark psychological thriller and the second book in the Cate Austin series by Ruth Dugdall. Originally published in 2011, this reformat and re-release from Legend Press is 288 pages and available in ebook format (other editions available in more formats).

This was a difficult book to read and I've been mulling my review for several days now (so in that sense, it did admittedly make me think about it more than the usual review, and that's interesting). The author is a technically adept writer. She has a sure voice and a deft touch with both descriptive prose and plotting, however... The emphasis in the storyline was way off-kilter to me. The plot revolves around an assisted suicide and nearly all of the scenes feature the woman who helped her lover to die. Cate, the returning character is an afterthought and bland and two-dimensional. I know that she's supposed to maintain her objectivity (her job is to help with sentencing by making recommendations to the court), but I didn't even realize she was supposed to be the main character; the book is told with most of the emphasis around the murderer/euthanist (in 1st person PoV) whilst Cate's interactions are told in third person.

The central themes are dark and make for quite difficult reading. The book contains graphic descriptions and themes of suicide, murder, cannibalism, psychological manipulation, dysfunction, child molestation, abuse, and more. The language is also R-rated.

This would be a good fit for fans of dark psychological thrillers/crime readers. It didn't make for enjoyable reading for me personally, though it's well written.

Three and a half stars.
Was this review helpful?
This is a tough book to read, so I had to have some space between some chapters.  I love psychological thrillers and this one is over the top with the creep factor and the heavy material.  Had no idea that this is a sequel but I know I can’t read the first one until summertime.  Reading on cold winter nights is a no-no as this authors work is as dark and chilling as can be.  Insane and sick just about covers it.
Was this review helpful?
Alice has been accused of assisting 'Smith's suicide. There is another rather disturbing element in his death, Probation officer Cate Austin has to submit a report suggesting how she ought to be judged. Is Alice of sound mind? Is prison the best place for her? A Community order? A psychiatric facility? Cate probes further into trying to discover why this successful lecturer would risk everything to help this man die & what did she gain from it?

The story is partly told by Alice, who hadn't had the greatest of childhoods, but I found it almost hard to sympathise with her- let alone like her!

This was a fast paced read. Although it is the second in the series it is a perfect stand alone- the fact that Cate Austin features so little in the book is why I couldn't give it five stars. Thanks to Netgalley & the publishers for letting me read & review this book.
Was this review helpful?
A great thriller. Disturbing at times but a great level of suspense - had me hooked! Would recommend.
Was this review helpful?
3 for neutral, will update at a later date if able to read the first book and get into this one.  I could not get into this book, I tried on multiple occasions, but never grabbed me.  Found out it was a sequel, which may be the issue or it could be my mood, but will update if able to read and finish at a later date!
Was this review helpful?
DNF @ 40%.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, so I was a bit disappointed to see that it wasn't actually a new release but! I started it anyway and honestly, it just wasn't grabbing me. The story was intriguing - not only did this woman assist in a suicide, but she then ate the guy - and I was interested to hear more of the reasoning behind her choices but it got weird quickly. Also, Cate was boring and didn't feel like she had any dimension.

Will be scrolling for spoilers, but I don't plan to come back to this one!
Was this review helpful?
Loved this. Not for the weak hearted and best read during the day. This is a sequel but I found it stood on its own. 
Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great psychological thriller. Some of it was disturbing as well which made it more enjoyable. It's definitely a book that is not for the faint of heart. Pretty amazing.

Thank you Netgalley, the author and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Sadly this book just wasn’t for me which is unusual as it sounds both dark and rather warped which is right up my street. 

I wasn’t able to engage with the characters. Also given the subject I didn’t even feel disgusted by the gruesome scenes. 

I appreciate the opportunity to read this. 

2.5 stars
Was this review helpful?
This has got to be one of the most fast paced books I have ever read.

Being a huge fan of 'The Woman Before Me' i was so excited to be give  the chance to read this book.

Going 0-60 within minutes, this is a proper suck you in and spit you out novel.

The characters are flawlessly written with such detail it is so easy to picture them. The setting is so well thought about as is the whole storyline. 

Dark, gripping, unputdownable, unpredictable, twisted, original, disturbing... absolutely everything you could want from a psychological thriller. 

I honestly can't credit this book enough! Easiest 5* I've given in a long time.

The biggest thanks to netgalley and Legend Press for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This is one of those gory thrillers which I love. Creepy and disturbing a d wonderful lol. A definite must read and I think it'll be one of the big books everyone is talking about
Was this review helpful?
This book will sink its teeth into you within the first chapter and does not relent until the last page.  We're often treated to the detectives' point of view in novels, so having the insight of another part of the justice system is a unique lens on criminality and psychology.  The plot and twists will intrigue any fan of suspense novels, and will leave us all anxiously awaiting her next offering.
Was this review helpful?
This is well written and original book by Ruth Dugdall. The story is quite disturbing, especially the ending but this makes it even more intriguing. 
It’s a great psychological thriller that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.
Was this review helpful?
Working for the Probation Service I am always intrigued to read Ruth Dugdall's books. This was certainly one with an interesting premise. I probably enjoyed Alice's back story more than the present day and would have been interested to hear more about this but overall a good read.
Was this review helpful?
What I want to say is that suicide is my choice. No-one else is to blame.  Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a lifetime: Will you help me to die?
Overall I did enjoy this book, but it definitely wasn’t an easy read, it felt heavy and a little bit laboured at times. That said, it was a good storyline and certainly unique to anything else I have read. 
At first I thought that Cate Austin was too full and disengaged as a character, but on second thoughts, realised that as a probation officer she would have seen some strange things in her career. I do still think she should have been more affected by what she discovered though.
The sting in the tail of this story was interesting and testament to the human condition fostered by some of not wanting to suffer alone. I definitely didn’t see that one coming.
My thanks to Ruth Dugdall, Legend Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?