Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

You Don’t Know Me – Imran Mahmood

Crime Fiction
4*s

A defendant takes the stand to give his closing speech, his lawyer unable or unwilling to proceed under his client’s instruction. What happens next is one of the most unusual, and thought provoking crime fiction reads that I have come across in a long time.

The defendant starts by stating that his lawyer had asked him to leave some parts of the story out, as the truth can be too difficult to explain or perhaps just too far away from the jurors who will have to decide whether the eight pieces of evidence that the prosecution have presented have raised the bar too far for reasonable doubt to win the day.

The narrative structure of this book is without break one young man’s description of his counter claims against the crucial pieces of evidence presented and as such it is incredibly powerful but also at times a difficult one to pull off; this is not a short book and I am unused to one voice without interruption, but on balance this difference is one of the things that will make me remember this book long after I have read and forgotten many others.

From my point of view, and as the book is presented, I was one of the jurors listening to a young man who lives a life unlike the one he does, and has all of his life, and that was obviously part of the point. I was there to judge with complete with ignorance about gangs and the way that those who live in areas controlled by them are powerless to stay completely clear of their influence, even if they don’t join the gang itself, which I’m very glad to say our defendant hadn’t. The book starts off with quite a lot of street vernacular, which sets the scene but the usage of this decreases as the speech continues, just used enough to remind the reader that you are listening to a young man who is fighting for his freedom, against what he sees as an injustice.

I have to admit this book got to me. Not only did I learn something about stuff I only see on the news, which was both skilfully presented without at all glorifying gangs, but perhaps explaining a little about a world that thankfully hasn’t touched my life. You Don’t Know Me also gave an insight into how the way a story is presented, how much you buy into that story depends on how believable each of its elements is. That said I very much doubt that any judge would have allowed this speech on length and the mass introduction of new evidence, but that didn’t in anyway detract from the gripping nature of the narrative. The world as many of us know, is made up of shades of grey and I was interested to see how much towards the black shades I was willing to go before I said ‘enough,’ and the answer was further than I would have expected before I started reading this one.

A superb debut with much to think about and as such this would make an unusual book club read, but one that I’m sure would provide a lively debate, not only about the content itself but the way the story is presented.

I’m very grateful to Penguin UK for allowing me to read an ARC of this unique crime fiction novel. This unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 4 May 2017
Publisher: Penguin UK
No of Pages: 376
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 26)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I am reading a much lighter read than normal; The Other Us by Fiona Harper which will be published by HQ on 4 May 2017.

Blurb

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?
Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.
When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.
Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?
Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness? Amazon

This is sandwiched between two crime fiction novels, the former being one with a genealogical slant, Dying Games by Steve Robinson, the sixth in the Jefferson Tayte series.

Blurb

Washington, DC: Twin brothers are found drowned in a Perspex box, one gagged and strapped to a chair. It’s the latest in a series of cruel and elaborate murders with two things in common: the killer has left a family history chart at each crime scene, and the victims all have a connection to genealogical sleuth Jefferson Tayte.

Hoping his insight and expertise will help solve the case, the FBI summon Tayte back to the capital. But as he struggles to crack the clues, the killer strikes again—and again. Tayte is known as the best in the business, but this time he’s up against a genealogical mastermind who always seems to be one step ahead.

With the clock ticking and the body count rising, Tayte finds himself racked with guilt, his reputation and career in tatters. The killer is running rings around him; is it only a matter of time before he comes for the ultimate target? NetGalley

Next on my list is You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood which I’m keen to read as it promises something a little bit different!

Blurb

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.

He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth. There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands.

We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters: Did he do it? NetGalley

Do you fancy any of these? Perhaps you’ve already read them?

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (February 26)

Weekly Wrap Up

Another week and another the lovely Emma from damppebbles spotted my name in the paperback release of Little Bones by Sam Blake. There is something exceptionally thrilling to seeing your words quoted, so thank you Bonnier for picking my review!

little-bones-png

This Week on the Blog

A busy one with four reviews posted starting with my thoughts on My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon, the book that accompanied me on my travels a couple of weeks back.

My excerpt post this week was for  Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary, the fourth in the London Detective Inspector Marnie Rome series.

On Wednesday I outlined my fabulous line-up of books for the week which included Agatha Christie, Denise Mina and Jane Casey – if nothing else it has been a fantastic book week!

A tiger mum was the subject matter of my second review of the week in The Trophy Child by Paula Daly, although whichever subject she choses to spin a story around, this author is always a hit with me.

Then came a five star review for The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, If you haven’t read this book, you really should which is definitely my best choice for the Mount TBR Challenge yet, although once again I am fighting the urge the second book she wrote to the TBR!

Last up review wise was my thoughts on The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie, a collection of linked short stories posed as a problem with Miss Marple. This was another book read as part of the TBR Challenge which is currently on track with 6 books read and reviewed by the end of February!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading a Non-Fiction book about the last woman hanged in New South Wales which sparked my interest in poisoning as a murder weapon. Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington wasn’t just about the crime and punishment though the links were made to the woman’s movement which was behind a valiant attempt to have Louisa Collin’s sentence commuted.

If you’d like to you can read my full review here or click on the book cover.

Last Woman Hanged

Blurb

Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Both of Louisa’s husbands had died suddenly and the Crown, convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic, put her on trial an extraordinary four times in order to get a conviction, to the horror of many in the legal community. Louisa protested her innocence until the end.

Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial. Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10-years-old when asked to take the stand. Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in no sense equal under the law – except when it came to the gallows. They could not vote or stand for parliament – or sit on juries. Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa’s life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men – male judges, all-male jury, male prosecutor, governor and Premier – could not with any integrity hang a woman. The tenacity of these women would not save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

This week I have gained a copy of The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty which is already available in eBook but will be published in paperback on 9 March 2017.

the-housekeeper

Blurb

“I am the housekeeper, the hired help with a messy past who cleans up other people’s messy lives, the one who protects their messy little secrets.”

When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend, (who also happens to be her boss), leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley, is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true.

Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life. Her husband, Rob, is a high profile academic and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything.

For fans of Notes on a Scandal and The Woman Upstairs, The Housekeeper is a nuanced and nail-biting psychological thriller about the dark recesses of the human mind and the dangerous consequences of long-buried secrets. Amazon

I was also approved on NetGalley to read The Escape by C.L. Taylor which will be published on 23 March 2017. I have read all of this author’s previous books and I’m really looking forward to this one.

the-escape

Blurb

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger.
But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN. NetGalley

I also already had, but hadn’t featured a copy of The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett which is out in April 2017.

the-people-at-number-9

Blurb

‘Have you met them yet, the new couple?’

When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.
When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.

And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them… NetGalley

… and The Special Girls by Isabelle Grey, the third in the DI Grace Fisher series, also out in April 2017. I’m eager to read the follow up to  Good Girls Don’t Die and Shot Through The Heart

the-special-girls

Blurb

A case of historical child sex abuse by a famous doctor is linked to the murder of his young and popular colleague at a summer camp deep in the Essex woods.

A young psychiatric registrar is found beaten to death in the woods close to a summer camp for young patients suffering from eating disorders. It is run by the charismatic, world-renowned Professor Ned Chesham. DI Grace Fisher investigates, but it is not long before she is pulled from the case – to head up a Metropolitan Police review into a cold case involving Chesham himself.

Nearly twenty years ago, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her. The investigation at the time found no conclusive proof, but Grace soon discovers another victim, and a witness whose account never reached the police. Does this mean the original investigation was bungled? Scotland Yard would certainly like her to conclude otherwise.

As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the young doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to Chesham’s ‘special girls’ – and the danger they are still in. NetGalley

and finally You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood a book that captured my attention and my new found enjoyment in court room dramas. You Don’t Know Me is being published by Penguin on 4 May 2017.

you-dont-know-me

Blurb

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder.

Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech. He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth. There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands.

We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters: Did he do it? NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained just 2 – although I found a missing book from the TBR list while another 2 were discarded.. so the grand total is 189
Physical Books – 111
Kindle Books – 65
NetGalley Books – 13