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The Cuckoo Wood

(An Alex Ripley Mystery #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Samantha Jaynes was first to die. Rosie Trimble was next.

A spate of teenage suicides rattles Kirkdale, a rural community in England's Lake District. In the days leading up to their deaths, the girls talked about having seen an angel.

That's when Dr Alex Ripley-the so-called Miracle Detective-is asked to help the police. It's Ripley's job to explain the angel sightings and w
Published April 10th 2018 by be-eBooks
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

She’d been punched in the face and now carried a neat little scar over her right eye after being assaulted by one particularly irate healer, the irony of which had not passed her by.

Ripley heard his awful, animal howl echo across the water. She knew that feeling, she had felt it herself. Love and life, unexpectedly lost. Ripped away. That was the sound of a heart breaking.

My Review:

I am in awe of the agile word skills and ingenious storytelling of this gifted author. He must have
Linda Strong
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it

This new series introduces Dr. Alex Ripley, also known as the Miracle Detective. It's Ripley's job to help police when it comes to heavenly phenomenon or other angel sightings.

Alex gets a call from a friend, the medical examiner in a small England village. Two teenage girls have killed themselves by drowning, only a month apart. In the days before their deaths, they had each talked about having seen an angel.

As Alex investigates, she finds an old village, full of superstitions, fears, and age ol
Kirsty ❤️
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has such a haunting feel about it. I had to travel to London the other day for work; two and a half hours each way by train and I managed to read the whole book by the time I got home again. I could quite happily have skipped the work bits in between to have kept reading. 

There's so much that happens in the story it's quite a surprise to realise it all takes place over the course of just a few days. Ripley arrives in the village of Kirkdale to try and unravel the mystery of 2 teenage s
Elaine Tomasso
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Bastei Entertainment for an advance copy of The Cuckoo Wood, the first novel in a projected series to feature Dr Alex Ripley, miracle detective.

Two schoolgirls have drowned months apart in the small Cumbrian village of Kirkdale. Suicide, murder or accident? The villagers, a small, close knit, extremely religious group are sure that it's suicide and close ranks against the girls' families and outsiders. Crime Scene Investigator Emma Drysdale isn't so sure and a
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Dr. Alex Ripley doesn’t mind that she’s been dubbed “The Miracle Detective.” She has, after all, dedicated her career to debunking alleged miracles or divine interventions with the logical perspective of science and reason. It’s no wonder then that, during a particularly disturbing and bizarre case in a small, isolated, and overly religious community, an old friend calls to ask for Alex’s help. There’s talk of angels and she’s hoping that Alex can get to the bottom of it.

Kirkdale is a rural comm
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two girls have taken their own life within four months of each other in the village of Kirkdale, a tiny and very religious farming community in England’s Lake District. No one will discuss their deaths nor the reasons why they might have drowned themselves in the Cuckoo Wood. The only correlation to both girls is their mention of seeing an angel before they died. Is there some strange religious phenomenon going on or is something more sinister at play?

Dr. Alex Ripley, The Miracle detective, is s
Jayasree B
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-kindle-lib
The Cuckoo Wood is the first in the series of Dr Ripley and was a good start to it. We may not get a clearer picture of the person that Dr Ripley is, but we are given an idea of her methods of investigation and a very basic background of her. I figure the next few books in the series will throw light onto the person and what drives Dr Ripley, the inspirations and the motivations. As for The Cuckoo Wood, it was a good beginning. The difficult circumstances of an investigation in a tight-lipped co ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it wise to bring the past back ...

The first thing that attracted me was the cover. I had something very inviting and mysterious and I was really intrigued. So this already ticked a box for me.

The first few pages were a bit confusing, but very soon it became clear what it was about. Throughout the whole book you have a constant feeling of creepiness and suspense. It is not fast paced, but the story slowly builds up towards the final revelations.

I like stories about mysteries happening in a sma
Julie Lacey
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great story.
This book had me intrigued before I read it as I’m interested in the supernatural and I love crime thrillers.
Dr Ripley is asked to go to Kirkdale to try and get to the bottom of the sightings of an angel which seems to be causing teenage girls to commit suicide. Ripley is a skeptic and is very interested to find out what’s behind these deaths as she doesn’t believe in anything supernatural.
This is a really interesting book as it made me think there were supernatural links t
Emma Bailey Randall
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you go down to the woods today…

…you're in for a big surprise. What a delightful book, full of mystery and intrigue, small-town secrecy and a strangely backward community trapped by fear of the past and the overbearing control of religion. The residents of Kirkdale are uncomfortably intriguing as a group. They're ostensibly Christian, but they cling on to such old-fashioned views about the 'sins of their fathers' that continue to haunt them. Their attitudes are so compellingly described that o
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda Evans
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
From the amazing book cover, to the intriguing description, The Cuckoo Wood: An Alex Ripley Mystery by M. Sean Coleman, drew me in. I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy from the publishers on NetGalley, and couldn’t wait to start.

The book centres around Kirkdale, a rural community in England’s Lake District and begins with the suicide of two teenage girls. The mention of an angel really stirs things up. We are introduced to Dr. Alex Ripley who is dubbed the Miracle Detective. She likes to
Craig Turner
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Cuckoo Wood is the first book in the Alex Ripley Mystery Series. Set in a small fictional and religious community in the Lake District which has seen a number of deaths of young girls having supposedly seen an Angel. Dr Alex Ripley is called upon as a specialist in the field of phenomenons and is assisting the Police in their investigation. It's Ripley's job to explain the angel sightings and what links them to the girls deaths.

This was an interesting and puzzling Mystery Thriller from a rel
Caitlyn Lee
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An angel is among us! Or so some believe in this atmospheric thriller, set in a small rural town in England.

Two teenage girls are found dead in the water. Both within the span of just a few months. Both having claimed to see visions of the Kirkdale Angel. Where did this angel come from? Is it a coincidence? Or has something evil been lurking in the shadows of this overly religious community?

Dr. Alex Ripley, labeled by many as “the miracle detective”, shows up at the behest of her best friend
L Waller
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this book

Well-written and very readable, had difficulty in putting it down! Well-drawn, 3-dimensional characters in an interesting setting. Not usually a mystery fan, but will be looking for more from this author.
Ashley Gillan
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was another great atmospheric thriller - filled with the perfect elements to make your spine tingle and keep you begging for more. This is the first in a new series, featuring Alex Ripley and I can’t wait for the next installment.

Ripley is the so-called “Miracle Detective,” who specializes in debunking faith healings and other religious-based phenomenon (think crying statues and healing water wells). She’s called in to the northern Lake District by a good friend to investigate the suic
Dave Hart
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I usually go for fast-paced thrillers, and I had enjoyed this author's previous two books because they were just that. This one was more of a slow burn, but in a really good way. This is not the subject matter for a fast-paced thriller. This is mystery territory, and Coleman does this just as well as he does his thrillers. I found the whole book assured and interesting, at times mesmerising. I wanted more. Which is a good thing, as I see this is set to be a series. I'm already looking forward to ...more
Zoé-lee O'farrell

So why this book? When I saw the cover and read the blurb I just had to pick this book up! A new series – yes! Paranormal – yes! A spine-chilling storyline- yes!

The cover just sends a chill down my spine, what is it with the women in the white? What is the Kirkdale Angel?

Dr Alex Ripley, the main character of this book, called in to help aid her friend in two local girls suspected suicide. Living in a rural town, where outsiders are not accepted in the fray, and well suicide is just sh
Tarn Richardson
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this lean and compulsive murder mystery involving the talents of the God-questioning Alex Ripley, called to investigate the deaths of young women and the sightings of an angel in the Cuckoo Wood. Fast paced, well written dialogue and believable characters, it had the feel of well made TV drama - calling to mind, in particular, the BBC's 'Requiem' - small town, strange traditions, obscure and distant locals. Recommended.
Ivory Castle
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Doctor Alex Ripley aka The Miracle Detective is a renowned skeptic specializing in the investigation of purported miracles or divine interventions from the logical perspective of science and reason. After a series of teenage suicides in a small religious community, police call her in to assist. She finds a village full of superstitions and most of the residents bewitched by religious zealousness.
Visions of angels will be caught up in past sins, revenge and tragedy. Alex is determined to uncover
Amy Doram
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A chilling tale of angels, faith, tradgedy, secrets and a spate of young girls committing suicide but why? The Cuckoo Wood introduces a new series and character of Dr. Alex Ripley, also known as the Miracle Detective. In her bid to uncover the truth, everyone is made to question what is real and what isn’t...

I really enjoyed the book, a slight step away from something I’d normally read and I was dubious about the title of Miracle Detective for the character of Alex Ripley initially, but as the b
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Cuckoo Wood. The story of a small town in modern day England with a history of young girls committing suicide in scenes which according to witnesses, involve an angel. The main character, Dr. Alex Ripley, is known for her skepticism in situations involving the supernatural and is an unwelcome visitor in the town when another girl commits suicide. But she has been invited to assist in the investigation by her friend the medical examiner and she does her best to fi ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Supernatural happenings, religious mania, suspected suicide; all ingredients of a superb first Alex Ripley novel. Tense and decidedly disturbing, this is a great introduction to an investigator who does not hesitate to take any action to solve a complex mystery. The author shows great skill in using every word to create an atmosphere, and fills the senses with the physical feelings, smell and sound of a wooded area as well as a small village where drawn curtains convey so much. This book truly k ...more
Steph Warren
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author, Red Dog Press and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

The Cuckoo Wood is instantly gripping and plunges the reader straight into the oppressive menace of a closed society with some dark secrets.

This is a classic psychological mystery thriller, with just a touch of the paranormal to add an occult flavour to events. The atmosphere is dark and brooding; not scary lik
Kon Frankowski
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lyrically written, pensive thriller.

A spate of suicides. A mystery spanning over 40 years. A woman, who is only interested in the truth.

'The Cuckoo Wood' by M. Sean Coleman is an incredible example of a beautifully written mystery thriller. The story follows Dr Alex Ripley, a theologist specialising in debunking paranormal phenomena using science and her penchant for detective work.

This incredibly written, creepy thriller is both, extremely entertaining and suspenseful. The tension is captured
Cheryl M-M
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr Alex Ripley explains away the unexplainable with scientific rationale, which includes miracles, miraculous healing and religious stigmata. She wants to save vulnerable, innocent and naive people from frauds. The kind of con-people who are able to convince masses of people of the existence of faith healing, miracles and angels.

Alex is determined to reveal the reality to people willing to hand over their last penny and the shirts off their back to someone with a fast-track to the world behind t
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be prepared to not do much else until you have finished the very last page of this book! It will keep you up well into the night! I was hooked from the very first page.

There have been several girls in the tiny community of Kirkdale that have drowned, but the authorities have ruled it suicide. Each one had talked about seeing an angel not long before dying. So, the authorities bring in Dr. Alex Ripley, also known as the Miracle Detective. She has somewhat made it her mission to debunk and expose
ally’s reading corner
WOW!! What a book, this story was incredible, a breath of fresh air kind of thriller. This is not like anything I have read before!! Filled with anticipation, religion and crime… I mean come on, what is not to love?

The girls stood there on the pebbled shore, watching her drown. The first line, that was all it took to hook me into the story, i was enthralled straight away and instantly could not put the book down, so much so, I read it in two sittings, only putting it down to sleep.

The descriptio
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reviews
This is the first book I'm reading of M. Sean Coleman, and what a great introduction to a series and to a 'new-to-me' author.

Since this is the first book in the 'An Alex Ripley Mystery' series, we get to met for the first time Dr Alex Ripley. An amazingly well written character, with depth and complexity, and quite engaging and relatable character. Of course that wasn't the only character in this book that made me curious and that made this story so much more intriguing.

The storyline was quite i
Pam Robertson
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a superb opener to a new series and establishes the central figure of Alex Ripley as an intuitive and intelligent protagonist. She arrives at the village of Kirkdale as an outsider and through her eyes, you feel the closed community where fear and suspicion is rife. Bound together through a fervent religious dogma, the villagers seem to close ranks to stop any questioning. Turning on anyone who is tainted by what they regard as 'sin', they present a cold and cruel view of life.

You have
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