My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Publisher - Penguin Books
Pages - 303
Blurb from Goodreads
An unimaginable crime and the man who must defend it-a probing psychological thriller from the author of A Thousand Cuts.A chance phone call throws the biggest muder case in southern England into the hands of provincial attorney Leo Curtice. Twelve-year- old Daniel Blake stands accused of murdering an eleven-year-old girl. But who is truly responsible when one child kills another? As Curtice sets out to defend the indefensible, he soon finds himself pitted against an enraged community calling for blood. When the buildup of pressure takes a sinister turn, he fears for his wife and young daughter's safety. Must he choose between his family and the life of a damaged child? With piercing psychological insight, Lelic examines a community's response to a hideous crime.
A child murdering another child is always going to be a dark book, however, the focuses of this tale is more on the lawyer Leo I felt than the actual case or killer. Leo is a small time lawyer and this case will be very good for the firm and his career. Everything comes at a price and for Leo and his family the price is high.
The book starts off with a female, Leo's wife, it is a tad confusing and takes a bit to understand what she is talking about. The story itself I felt was a wee bit jumpy and took a bit to work out what was going on. It soon becomes clear, twelve year old Daniel has murdered another female child and Leo will be his defender. His daughter is a teenager and faces the wrath of her schoolmates when it becomes public knowledge. His wife is also targeted by the community and Leo begins to get threats. Leo seems completely focused on Daniel and getting through to him, Daniels step father and mother are cold and distant, Daniel seems to have no one which may be why Leo feels compelled to help.
Frustrating at times as you aren't too sure the timeline, always recent but sometimes it is after one incident, back to the run up to the trial and then after without clear timeline markings. With so much focus on Leo I think a lot of Daniel and his crime was missed, whilst you aren't left completely without answers I think there is a huge gap for Daniels psychological state and an examination of that.
Instead we see a reaction to a horrendous crime within a community and the impact that has, one to the actual community in how it responds and more centrally to Leo and his family. The repercussions of his decisions and the ripples caused in the relationships with those he loves. Cause and effect is key to the story however I feel the author missed a golden opportunity by not including more of Daniel, 3/5 for me this time. This is my first time reading this author, I would read his works again.