WHERE THE SECRETS OF THE MORTUARY ARE UNCOVERED WITH SCALPEL-LIKE PRECISION – Body of Truth
I was absolutely delighted to be in Waterstones Cork last week to see Marie Cassidy in conversation with Catherine Kirwan, chatting about her work. life and debut novel, Body of Truth. Having seen and heard Marie Cassidy over the years on various media platforms, it was a real treat to see and hear her in real life. Marie Cassidy, as you all may or may not know, was Ireland’s State Pathologist and was known for her expertise at her job but also for her glamour and sense of humour.
She really is a funny lady albeit it was death and foul crime scenes she was surrounded by for so many years. With numerous hilarious anecdotes, a packed house in Waterstones was well entertained. Marie Cassidy was asked fabulous questions by Catherine Kirwan and also by members of the audience. In answer to a question about her life now, post-retirement from her work as a pathologist, she responded by saying that ‘this is life after death for me’!! An absolute character, with a very warm and witty personality, it was a real treat to be at this event. As ever thanks so much to John Breen and the staff in Waterstones Cork for hosting this wonderful evening.
So what is Body Of Truth about and what did I think?
[ About Body of Truth ]
IN THE HUNT FOR A KILLER THE SCARS OF DEATH DON’T LIE
Dr Terry O’Brien has recently arrived in Ireland from Scotland to take up a position as State Pathologist when a high-profile murder occurs. The victim is Rachel Reece, host of a popular true crime podcast on unsolved murders of Irish women and niece of a prominent politician.
As Terry gathers evidence to help with the police investigation, she becomes convinced that they are following the wrong line of inquiry and begins her own research. She soon finds herself in the thick of cold cases of murdered Irish women, with questions mounting.
What did Rachel Reece find out about the unsolved murder of Eileen McCarthy before she died? Who is sending ominous messages to Terry and what do they mean? And why is she increasingly at odds with her superiors?
Terry knows that the pathology never lies. But when her forensic skills reveal something that might hold the key to the case, little does she know the deadly risk of revealing the truth . . .
[ My Review ]
Body of Truth by Marie Cassidy was published with Hachette Ireland November 9th and is described as ‘a page-turning thriller’. I read Marie Cassidy’s memoir, Beyond the Tape, in 2020 and was both fascinated and disturbed by its contents. In Body of Truth the level of detail, while not as graphic, does create a very authentic reading experience, but, be warned, there are scenes best not read after eating.
When Dr Terry O’ Brien leaves Scotland to take up a new role as State Pathologist in Ireland, she relishes the prospect of a fresh start. Terry’s past clings to her and, following confrontation in her previous job, this position in Ireland might be just what she needs to help her move forward. On receiving a call that a body has been discovered in The Phoenix Park in Dublin, she immediately attends the scene. Following initial examination it’s obvious to all that the body has been there for some while making identification slower. After a few days of post-mortem tests, the victim is eventually named as Rachel Reece, an Irish true crime podcaster with a growing following.
Rachel Reece’s podcast delved into the unresolved murders of numerous Irish women, which had led her down some very dark paths. Her family and friends expected her to disappear off the radar for a few days/weeks when she was in investigative mode so her lack of communication had not been of concern to anyone.
Following the post-mortem, Terry has questions about the direction the investigation is taking. Something just feels very off-kilter and Terry is convinced that the police are looking in the wrong direction. As a new pathologist, Terry is aware that her voice is not as strong and her reputation has not yet been entrenched. Her superiors are telling her to stop and let the police do their job but Terry is adamant that Rachel’s murder is in some way linked to unresolved murders of the past.
Terry O’ Brien is relentless in her search for the truth, at times misjudging her own safety in any given situation. She is gutsy and thorough at her job and is frustrated with how her actions and remarks are being misconstrued. In her search for evidence and for the truth, Terry unwittingly becomes entangled deeper and deeper leading her down a very sinister path. There are numerous scenes where you imagine the smells and the darkness surround you as a reader. With scarily believable descriptions, Marie Cassidy has clearly used her own knowledge and experiences throughout this debut. Although you know you are reading a fictional novel, you can’t help but ponder on how much of this is based on fact?
Body of Truth is a quality debut novel. I would imagine that there aren’t many writers in the crime fiction genre who have access to such first-hand scientific and medical detail. Yes there are scenes that do require a tough stomach but not so many that would stop you reading at a fairly fast pace. This is a book that gives off an air of authenticity from the get-go and, as a reader, you do feel that you are in very capable hands. I have no doubt that there will be another book (or two) in this series. Dr Terry O’ Brien is a first-rate main protagonist. Her personality, her characterisation, her back-story all knit well together and she has the authority of voice and a presence that make her a very believable package.
If you are looking for a credible crime fiction novel Body of Truth will not disappoint!
[ Bio ]
During her 15-year career as Ireland’s State Pathologist, Marie Cassidy became known to the Irish public as a trusted figure whose expertise helped to solve murders and clarify unexplained deaths. In over thirty years of practice, she performed thousands of postmortems and dealt with hundreds of murders. She has witnessed the burgeoning role of forensic science and the impact that has had on death investigation and the expectations of the general public, while embracing new technology and welcoming the input of experts in the other sciences.
She retired at the end of 2018 to spend more time on the other passions in her life, her family and writing. Marie’s number one bestselling memoir Beyond the Tape was published in 2020. Body of Truth is her first novel.