'The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He'd said he was innocent. She'd believed him.
Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger's in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson's life. The price of his rehabilitation - and access to the Bar - is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He's an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he's subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It's a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson's first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she's innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.'
Summary Justice is a fast paced courtroom drama that is hard to put down. I raced through this book that kept throwing up new twists and turns- there was no filler.
I was instantly intrigued when I was sent the blurb for this book- although I love a good TV courtroom drama I had never read a book centred around barristers. One of my favourite shows springs to mind after reading this book: Silk, a brilliant show if you haven't seen it that centres on a house of chambers in London and the people that work there. This book goes hand in hand (and is also being adapted to TV, which I am excited for.)
As well as gradually learning about our protagonists Benson who is still living in the shadows of his past and Tess who is unsure whether to trust him and at a crossroads in her own life we also follow the court case they have taken on of a woman accused of murder. She maintains her innocence and Benson fights fiercely in her corner as the murder mystery unfolds.
This book is really well written and highly readable. I particularly enjoyed the scenes within the courtroom as witnesses were interrogated. Author Fairfax (a pen name for William Brodrick) previously practised as a barrister so there is an added authenticity to the book as we get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the law.
There were so many twists and turns to the murder case that I didn't even come close to guessing and was in suspense for most of the book. The dynamic between Benson and Tess was also something I really enjoyed. The exploration of redemption and guilt and the question of whether someone can escape their past was a recurring theme in this book that gave food for thought . I'm happy to say that this is the first book in a series and the next story was teased at the end of Summary Justice- I can't wait to continue with this series and highly recommend this book if you enjoy fast paced, high quality exciting thrillers.
Summary Justice is available now in Hardback.
I gave this book 4/5 on Goodreads.
Thanks to Grace at Little, Brown Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.