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Saturday, 29 March 2014

‘The Verdict’ by Nick Stone

Published by Sphere,
23 January 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-84744-326-7

Vernon James, self-made millionaire, is in trouble - when he left his hotel suite, the amenities included a dead blonde.  Legal clerk Terry Flyte is one of the team who have to try and defend him, ignoring the fact that VJ ruined Terry's Cambridge career twenty years ago ...

This legal thriller was a real page-turner from the word go.  The opening tells us what happened in the hotel suite - neatly ended by the reminder that this is VJ's version.  Then Terry takes over the narration.  He's a likeable guy with a drink problem in his past, a lively, believable family and his own memories of VJ - including, we discover, having helped give him an alibi for the murder of the father VJ hated.  The details of how a legal case is put together, and the interplay between client, barrister, junior and clerk was interesting, and, as Stone has worked as a legal clerk, convincing - it's gone on my 'background research' shelf. There were vivid descriptions of the London police stations and courthouses.  Underpinning all this is a fast-moving, twisty plot where Terry is constantly being drawn into trouble, and can never tell who to trust.  The final quarter of the book is a tense courtroom scene, and here again it's fascinating looking at judge, witnesses and jury from the lawyer's point of view.

A twists-and-turns legal thriller, with interesting characters and authentic background.  Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Nick Stone was born in Cambridge  October 31, 1966, the son of a Scottish father and a Haitian mother. Education University of Cambridge. His first novel, Mr Clarinet, won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel and the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and was nominated for The Barry Award for Best British Novel.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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