What’s it about?
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?
I requested this book from Netgalley based on a promotional email I’d received and it was the blurb which attracted me to it…being all legal and that. There is no real format to this review as I have to just get all my feelings and thoughts out in what will probably be one long ramble.
All in all it’s a very interesting and unique way to tell a story; from the point of view of a defendant on trial for murder and through his closing statement. Although in reality I don’t know if he really would be able to give a closing statement this long or what the implications and consequences be!
However, through this statement, which does go on for a few days, we discover how he came to be where he is and why. Gang and estate culture, drug dealing and prostitution – it really is another world and another language. It takes a bit of getting used to, every other word is ‘like’, bro, innit all this gangster chat and half the time I found I was trying to decipher what his point was.
PLOT SPOILER AHEAD >>
I do prefer books that have clear cut endings and unfortunately for me this isn’t one of them. To all intents and purposes, without trying to give too much away, I, and other readers, are the jury and will need to come to our own conclusions at the end as there isn’t a proper end. For that reason, this book would make an interesting book for a book club read as you could have a really good debate.
Overall, an interesting premise and a pretty decent debut.
Small print for info
Source: ARC – many thanks!
No of pages: 400
Publisher: Michael Joseph