August 1

The Pinocchio Brief – Abi Silver

A schoolboy accused of a brutal murder. A retired lawyer with secrets to hide…

A 15-year-old schoolboy is accused of the murder of one of his teachers. His lawyers, the guarded veteran, Judith, and the energetic young solicitor, Constance, begin a desperate pursuit of the truth, revealing uncomfortable secrets about the teacher and the school. But Judith has her own secrets which she risks exposing when it is announced that a new lie-detecting device, nicknamed Pinocchio, will be used during the trial. And is the accused, a troubled boy who loves challenges, trying to help them or not?

The Pinocchio Brief is a gripping, very human thriller which confronts our assumptions about truth and reliance on technology.

 

Click here to view a one-minute trailer for The Pinocchio Brief http://bit.ly/2uHzCzk

 

A murder mystery in a prestigious school leads to a fascinating courtroom drama and we also have an accused that is something of an enigma.

Ray is a schoolboy, quiet, bullied and a genius. He is also accused of the murder of his maths teacher after being found in his room, hands covered in blood and unable (or unwilling) to provide police or his legal representatives with any information which may help clear him of the crime.

The aforementioned legal representatives are Constance, a young and diligent solicitor and Judith. Judith is a courtroom veteran who retired from practice some years previous to the Ray’s trial.  Constance persuades Judith to come out of retirement to help defend Ray, but can the two combine the best of their skills to persuade a jury that the awkward loner did not kill his teacher.

What may be the biggest hurdle to overcome is the new Pinocchio technology which is being introduced to the courtroom.  Developed as a more reliable “lie detector” the Pinocchio machine is intended to read the movements and mannerisms of witnesses or defendants in court and provide accurate feedback on whether they have lied to the court.  Ray’s trial is the first big public test of the technology and Judith, for reasons of her own, is keen to have Pinocchio removed from the process.

Can a machine replace a jury? Why does Judith want the technology removed from the court? Why is Ray so unwilling to communicate with Constance and Judith? Who really killed the teacher, could it have been Ray – despite Judith’s conviction he is innocent?

All those questions kept me reading. Several hooks which all drew me in.  The Pinocchio Brief is a cracking courtroom drama but the murder story is also really well thought out. Shades of classic Christie with the murder in the school, a small suspect pool who all have very different backgrounds and each of the suspects has a reason for bumping off the teacher. This is the type of book I love to read.

Thoroughly enjoyed The Pinocchio Brief and hope this finds its way into many homes – seek it out…there is a handy link just below. 

 

The Pinocchio Brief is published by Lightning Books and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pinocchio-Brief-Silver-Abi-ebook/dp/B073QCN77F/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

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February 27

Say Nothing – Brad Parks

Say NothingOn a normal Wednesday afternoon, Judge Scott Sampson is preparing to pick up his six-year-old twins for their weekly swim. His wife Alison texts him with a change of plan: she has to take them to the doctor instead. So Scott heads home early. But when Alison arrives back later, she is alone – no Sam, no Emma – and denies any knowledge of the text . . .
The phone then rings: an anonymous voice tells them that the Judge must do exactly what he is told in an upcoming drug case and, most importantly, they must ‘say nothing’.

So begins this powerful, tense breakout thriller about a close-knit young family plunged into unimaginable horror. As a twisting game of cat and mouse ensues, they know that one false move could lose them their children for ever.
Hugely suspenseful – with its fascinating insight into the US judicial system and its politics of influence and nepotism – Say Nothing is, above all, the poignant story of the terror these parents face, and their stop-at-nothing compulsion to get their children back.

 

My Thanks to Lauren at Faber & Faber for my review copy.

 

When I get asked what book I would recommend, Say Nothing is now my first answer. I have just spent the last two days pouring over this thriller, devouring every word and I cannot say too many good things about it. Let me save you a skip to the foot of the page…Say Nothing gets an epic 5 stars from me.

<And breathe>

We meet Scott Sampson. He is a judge with a good reputation. He has a happy home life, a loving family and life is grand. But things are about to change.  Scott receives a text message from his wife telling him she is taking their young twins to an appointment with the doctor and that he need not collect them from school. No cause for concern, just a change to their normal routine – until Scott’s wife returns home without the kids and they realise something has gone wrong. As the couple try to make sense of their conflicting understanding of the afternoon’s events the phone rings and their world is turned upside down.

Their twins have been kidnapped. Further instruction will follow in due course but in the meantime neither Scott or Alison can let anyone know what has happened – SAY NOTHING.

Scott has to continue going to work and hearing cases so in addition to a tense kidnap story we are treated to an engaging courtroom drama too. I have not read very many legal thrillers of late and I realise that I miss them – Say Nothing handles the switches between courthouse and domestic drama brilliantly and both elements to the story play out fabulously well.

The story zips along at a fast pace and, with the constant worry over what may happen to two helpless kids at the hands of their abductors, you find that you just have to keep reading.

The book asks how far you would go to protect your children and Scott and Alison will be pushed to the limit. Doubts and suspicion of family, friends and colleagues will threaten to overwhelm them and events outwith their control will seem to conspire against them and try to thwart the safe return of the twins.

Gradually it becomes clear exactly why the kidnap was arranged and Scott will become increasingly pressured into following orders to keep his children safe. But if a high profile judge starts behaving erratically then people will start to notice. How long can Scott maintain the façade of normality when someone else is calling the shots and seems to know his every move?

Brilliant, brilliant storytelling which I cannot recommend enough. I mention it was a 5 star read?

 

Say Nothing is published on 2 March 2017 by Faber & Faber and you can order a copy here.

Follow the Say Nothing tour

SAY NOTHING_blog tour graphic

 

 

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October 10

Cut-Throat Defence – Olly Jarvis

cut-throat-defence-2There is no man richer than a man without a price

Jack Kowalski is a young and newly qualified barrister, who finds himself working on the biggest drugs importation trial ever played out on English soil. With the assistance of his equally inexperienced instructing solicitor, Lara Panassai, Jack argues a savage ‘cut-throat’ defence – a risky tactic where the defendants blame each other – and quickly embroils some of the most eminent QCs in the land.

As the son of Polish immigrants, the sensitive Kowalski has always found it hard to fit in, with a sense of inferiority and constant nervousness in Court. Now he must face his demons and fight not only for his clients, but for his very future at the Bar.

But when the defendant then unexpectedly absconds, Jack and Lara must fight on regardless, following a tip that leads them out of the courtroom and into Manchester’s seedy underworld – crime bosses, strip clubs, corrupt lawyers and all manner of hidden sins.

As the case grows darker with each new discovery, who in this viper pit of deception can Jack and Lara trust?

 

My thanks to Heloise at EDPR for my review copy

 

There was a time (back when I was a student) when I only wanted to read legal thrillers and courtroom dramas, I could not get enough of them. But then I exhausted the titles published by the “big name” authors and my local village library didn’t have a vast selection to choose from.  It is only now that I have started Grab This Book that I realise I have not read very many courtroom dramas over the last couple of decades – shockingly few considering how much I used to enjoy them.

Cut-Throat Defence has made me want to read more courtroom thrillers, re-sparking my fascination with the clever interplay between the lawyers and the judges. I was particularly delighted to learn that Cut-Throat Defence is not just a sinister sounding name but an actual legal situation and one which Olly Jarvis has positioned brilliantly.

Central to my enjoyment of any book is the need to like the principle character and I more than liked Jack Kowalski. His Polish roots are mocked by his peers, he finds himself put down by the pompous establishment figures Couple this with his crippling lack of self confidence and it made him an immediately endearing character that I was willing to succeed (I do love rooting for the underdog).

Without giving away too much detail of the story, Jack finds himself at last chance saloon – a promising career is under threat as he cannot contain his nerves when he gets into court.  As it looks like his last chance to save his career is slipping by he accidentally lands a new client, one who is caught up in one of the biggest drugs busts in the NW. However, Jack’s client has a story so remarkable and unlikely that it is going to be virtually impossible to prove in a court of law.

Fighting against the clock, and impossible odds, Jack’s story in Cut-Throat Defence was a really fun read – I found I read longer and later than I should have done in the evenings as I didn’t want to stop reading. If you are a fan of legal thrillers then I strongly recommend adding Cut-Throat Defence to your library.

 

Cut-Throat Defence is published by Canelo and is available in digital download here.

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