The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson | #20BooksOfSummer

Author : Cara Robertson
Title : The Trial of Lizzie Borden
Pages : 375
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : March 12, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August of 1892, the arrest of the couple’s daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence.

The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central, enigmatic character has endured for more than a hundred years, but the legend often outstrips the story. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper articles, previously withheld lawyer’s journals, unpublished local reports, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden is a definitive account of the Borden murder case and offers a window into America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

Lizzie Borden. A name that went down in history but for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t know anything about her, apart from why her name is so well known and I feel that served me really well when reading this account of her trial as I had no idea of the outcome.

August, 1892. Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, are found brutally murdered at their home. With only two people at the house around the time of the murders, suspicion quickly falls onto Andrew’s youngest daughter, Lizzie. With a well to-do family and two gruesome murders in a small town, it’s easy to see why this case was such a big deal in its day and also why it still appeals to people around the world today.

It’s obvious from the start that author Cara Robertson has done her research. Using transcripts and reporter’s notes throughout, I almost felt like I was right there, especially during the trial itself. It was like being a member of the jury, getting all the information and being allowed the opportunity to decide for myself which side of the fence I would land on. There are photos of the victims for instance, plans of the layout of the house and the street it was located in and I scrutinised them all like an amateur detective, ruling theories out left, right and centre and coming to my own conclusion.

Admittedly, it wasn’t all exciting. There is a part in the middle, dealing with the trial mostly from the prosecutor’s side, that dragged a little too much for me. However, I assumed the actual jury members probably felt the same way so that seemed rather apt to me. On top of that, there was a huge amount of rolling the eyes and facepalming, particularly about the way women and their actions were described. That “hysterical” label for instance, but also how all women apparently turn into some kind of demon when on their “monthlies”.

I’ve not had the best results with non-fiction in the past but The Trial of Lizzie Borden really held my attention, apart from that dip in the middle. Based on the information at hand, the jury members reached the right conclusion but the question remains. Was Lizzie guilty or not? I’ve made up my mind.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo

Book 18 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

The Innocent Ones by Neil White | @neilwhite1965 @HeraBooks @Lizzy11268 | #blogtour #bookreview

It’s such a pleasure to host the penultimate stop on the blog tour for The Innocent Ones by Neil White today! My thanks to Liz for the invitation to join and to the publisher for the review copy!

Author : Neil White
Title : The Innocent Ones
Series : Dan Grant #3
Pages : 383
Publisher : Hera Books
Publication date : April 24, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When London journalist, Mark Roberts, is found battered to death, the police quickly arrest petty thief, Nick Connor. Criminal defence lawyer, Dan Grant, along with investigator Jayne Brett, are called to represent him – but with bloody footprints and a stolen wallet linking him to the scene, this is one case they’re unlikely to win. 

Until help comes from an unlikely source…when the murder victim’s mother says that Connor is innocent, begging Dan and Jayne to find the real perpetrator. 

Unravelling the complex case means finding the connection between Mark’s death and a series of child murders in Yorkshire over twenty years ago. Father of two, Rodney Walker, has spent years in prison after being convicted of killing of 6-year-old William and 7-year-old Ruby back in 1997.

| MY THOUGHTS |

A legal thriller combined with some courtroom action and an investigation into an old case? Holy cow, where do I sign up? Right here, that’s where! The Dan Grant trilogy has all that awesomeness and then some. This is one of those series that got me incredibly excited right from the start. (See how excited by catching up on my reviews from the previous two books here and here)

I think you could probably get away with treating The Innocent Ones as a stand-alone but quite frankly, I don’t know why you’d want to. Dan and Jayne are such brilliant characters and I really enjoyed going on this journey with them, watching their characters and relationship develop along the way.

In The Innocent Ones, Dan finds himself defending a client of the murder of journalist/writer Nick Roberts. But when Nick’s mother shows up and claims Dan’s client is innocent, the whole case is thrown into turmoil. Dan calls in the help of his former investigator, Jayne, and they soon discover a trail leading to the murders of two young children way back in 1997. But what is the connection? And why is someone trying to stop them from finding out the truth?

Once again, Neil White comes up with the most intricate and intense plot. Danger lurks around every corner and while every step Dan and Jayne take brings them closer to the truth, someone is trying to stop them at every turn. With quite a few twists and turns, I found it impossible to figure out what was what and Neil White kept me guessing until the end. If for one second I thought I would be able to pick up on clues in the chapters set in 1997, I was quickly proven wrong. But they do turn into quite the dark and disturbing storyline.

There’s so much to love about The Innocent Ones and this series in general : the brilliant pace, the fantastic writing, the intriguing characters, the wonderful setting and the delightful combination between lawyer and detective work, which quite frankly is just the best of two worlds for me.

This third and final instalment in the Dan Grant series is as tense, compelling and gripping as its predecessors. Of course I am sad to see this series come to an end, yet the ending also feels extremely fitting. This entire trilogy has been the most fantastic and thrilling ride and I very much look forward to what’s in store next from Neil White.

The Innocent Ones is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Neil White (b. 1965) is a British freelance criminal lawyer and a full-time crime writer.

The Darkness Around Her by Neil White @neilwhite1965 @BonnierZaffre #TheDarknessAroundHer #NetGalley

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Author : Neil White
Title : The Darkness Around Her
Series : Dan Grant #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Bonnier Zaffre
Publication date : August 9, 2018 (ebook) | August 23, 2018 (paperback)

aboutthebook

See no evil . . .

When Lizzie Barnsley is murdered along a canal after escaping the clutches of her abusive boyfriend, Dan Grant is called in to represent her alleged killer. Peter Box has confessed to Lizzie’s murder, but did he actually do it, or is there some other, darker, force at play?

Hear no evil . . .

When Dan and his investigator, Jayne Brett, begin to look into the case, they discover a number of canalside murders and disappearances, including the brutal killing of fourteen-year-old Rosie Smith ten years earlier. Rosie’s stepfather Sean had been accused, but they discover that somebody else tried to confess – Peter Box.

Speak no evil . . .

With a client who has a habit of confessing to murder, Dan and Jayne have their work cut out for them, but when it becomes clear that Peter Box can’t have been involved with every murder and disappearance along the canal, the two realise that they may have stumbled on to something far more sinister.

But the clock is ticking and time is running out for the next victim . . .

mythoughts

Move over, John Grisham! I’ve found myself a new favourite legal crime thriller author and his name is Neil White. After thoroughly enjoying the first book in the Dan Grant series, From the Shadows, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into its follow-up.

In The Darkness Around Her, Dan Grant is facing the difficult task of defending an alleged killer, Peter Box, in a murder trial. Peter has been accused of the murder of Lizzie Barnsley, who was found along a canal path. But Peter is making things increasingly tough by refusing to talk to the police and to his lawyer. Did he really kill Lizzie or is someone else responsible? After all, Lizzie wasn’t the first victim along this stretch of the canal.

Jayne and Dan have to dig deep to get to the truth, uncovering a whole trail of missing and murdered women along the way. Is Peter Box responsible for all of them? Meanwhile, Dan is also forced to face a future without his boss, Pat, who is considering retirement. As if being solely in charge of a murder defence wasn’t enough to deal with.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series is that it combines the best of two worlds for me. I love legal thrillers and the drama that is played out in a court setting, which is obviously where Dan comes in. But I also get the investigation into a crime with Detective Murdoch but even more so, with private investigator Jayne. I really enjoy the dynamics between Dan and Jayne, even though that will-they/won’t-they thing continues. But just like the characters, I’m struggling to decide if it would be a good thing or not for them to become involved.

The Darkness Around Her is intensely gripping, with intriguing and complex characters. The pace and the action builds up to almost unbearable levels. Neil White kept me guessing for ages as to what was really going on and I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough to see what the outcome would be. This is a cleverly plotted, brilliantly executed, enthralling and insanely addictive thriller. An incredibly tense ride with a few surprises along the way that I found hard to put down and absolutely fantastic addition to the series! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookdepositoryKobo | Goodreads

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh @SSCav @orion_crime @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour #ThatBookThatHook

Thrilled to bits to have the opportunity to repost my review for Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh today on the blog tour to celebrate the paperback launch! Huge thanks to the publisher and Tracy Fention for the invitation to join!

If you missed it, I bought and enjoyed the ebook back in January which is when this review was originally written. I still stand by every word and Thirteen is still waaaay at the top of my list of books of the year!

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Author : Steve Cavanagh
Title : Thirteen
Series : Eddie Flynn #4
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : January 25, 2018 (ebook) | June 14, 2018 (UK paperback)

aboutthebook

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

mythoughts

The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.

Okay, seriously? Best tagline ever!!! Ever since I saw it, I had my eye on this book and just like that it shot up my list of most anticipated books of the year. How could it not? How can anyone resist? It’s safe to say my anticipations were incredibly high.

Now, I didn’t know this is actually the fourth book in a series since I’d never heard of Steve Cavanagh before, so I accidentally broke my own rule of never ever starting a series anywhere else but at the beginning. Luckily for me, this reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. There’s enough information to get to grips with the character of Eddie Flynn and where he comes from. Yet it’s also intriguing enough to make you want to pick up the previous books. Which I’ve already bought, in case you wondered.

Actor Robert Solomon is charged with the murder of his wife and his security guard. All the evidence points to Robert being guilty as sin but then things start to happen that don’t seem all too coincidental anymore and Eddie Flynn feels there may be something far more sinister going on.

I am a huge fan of legal thrillers and court drama. For the longest time, I got my fix by way of John Grisham. But well, let’s just say, I’ve felt like he’s been losing his touch for quite a while now. Enter Steve Cavanagh and all is well again in my legal thriller world. Especially as Thirteen combines all the things I love in a story. A great hook, crime fiction, fabulous characters, a serial killer and a bunch of murders, lawyers and their shenanigans, involving the FBI … I could go on.

This original premise makes for one insanely gripping and addictive tale. Not only is the court case fabulously compelling but the serial killer is one of the most fascinating and intriguing characters I’ve ever met. He’s meticulous, organised, adapts easily to various circumstances. Quite frankly, a bit of a genius, but in the psycho kind of way. And as for our main character, Eddie Flynn, I warmed to him from the start.

What more can I say? I absolutely loved this one and I can’t recommend it enough. Another one to add to my list of top books of the year and I can’t wait to get stuck into the other books in this series.

Thirteen is available to buy! Run! Don’t walk!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Steve Cavanagh was born and raised in Belfast before leaving for Dublin at the age of eighteen to study Law. He currently practices civil rights law and has been involved in several high profile cases. Selected for the Amazon Rising Stars programme 2015. ACES award winner 2015 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The Defence is his debut novel.

Author link : Twitter

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