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Monday 17 February 2014

The Trial of Poppy Moon by John Corder


I’m really not sure where this book lies genre-wise. 

After a sailing accident, Poppy Moon is pronounced dead. Her kidneys are then removed and transported to their new recipients. One, however, goes mysteriously missing. In the meantime, the kidneyless Poppy Moon regains consciousness…a near-death experience (NDE) makes Poppy a witness to the events in the theatre.

Marcus Coaker, a leading and distinguished barrister is called upon by Poppy’s lawyer (and Marcus’ old friend) to help find justice for Poppy Moon, to find the missing kidney and return it to its owner. Not an easy task, when he meets opposition from greed, corruption, lies and politics.

The ‘Trial’ never actually takes place, so the title is a little misleading. I found this a gripping tale until about two-thirds of the way through, when it loses its way a bit from being a legal drama and turns into almost a scientific account of NDEs. Or would that be a science-fictional account of NDEs? A controversial topic, I think. I’m afraid I didn’t find Poppy’s character that credible: her dialogue sounds ‘rehearsed’ and unlikely, but Marcus is fascinating. Although portrayed as rather mechanical, he comes over as rather deep and caring, and someone about whom you want to know more.

Regrettably, professional editing has been forsaken. The difference between past/passed (this really is elementary) and you’re/your (amongst many errors) seems to have eluded whomever edited this (there are very clear signs of software-aided editing, though), and there are no end of typos and grammatical errors. Nor do I think an American would call her mother, Mum… This is a shame, because it’s at the expense of my rating.

Personally, I did have to suspend disbelief, but I like this author’s writing: it’s intelligent, thoughtful and articulate, and the story had me gripped for the most part. It didn’t end as I expected it to, and I liked that element of surprise. I would certainly read more from this author, but only if his manuscript has undergone rigorous editing.

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