A huge, involved fraud case suggests that Elliot Rook, QC, a barrister with Miller & Stubbs, needs some help as he gets further and further mired down in the paperwork, Sheer audacity gets young, hungry, mixed-race Zara Barnes the job. And she is from the same challenging social environment and ex-mining town that he is from, although he is at pains to hide the fact that he did not, in fact, join the bar via Eton, as most of his esteemed colleagues have done. His childhood’s best friend’s unsavoury brother, who knows his background, demands that he defend him from a charge of murder, but Billy Barber has been no help, saying no comment throughout his interrogations. A middle-eastern sixteen-year-old – naked and broken – has been found on the old tracks, and Billy was seen following her…
Enough of the story. If this is no. 1 in a series, bring it on!
Rook is real; he’s rough and brilliant, but overweight, drinks and smokes too much. He’s lost his wife to another man through not being home enough, and his work consumes him. Now, it’s all he has left. Zara is real; she’s bright and quirky and determined. The supporting cast is real; from arrogant establishment to brutal racist and everything in between, the characters are expertly and warmly drawn.
The legal picture is coloured by someone who has the tee-shirt.
The tension mounts even in the simple concealment of Rook’s humble background from the snobbery of the Establishment, all the way through the Old Bailey dramas to the violently unexpected twists that bring the curtain down.
I can’t recommend this new series highly enough.
Thankyou to Jonathan Ball, Publishers, SA, for this Raven Books Imprint from Bloomsbury Publishers Plc, London for this ARC.