Author: J L Butler
Date of Publication: 28th June 2018
Date of Review: 8th July 2018
Francine Day is a high flying lawyer about to apply for silk, ambitious and brilliant. She just needs one headline-grabbing client to seal her place as queen’s counsel … Martin Joy. The attraction is instant. Obsessive. They embark on a secret affair and Francine thinks she can hold it together. But then Martin’s wife goes missing. And Martin is the prime suspect. Francine is now his lawyer, lover and the last person to see Donna Joy alive. As the case unravels so does Francine. My client. My lover. My husband. My obsession. Set in the Inns of Court in London, where justice and corruption have played out for centuries, J L Butler’s taut, gripping legal drama brims with suspense and obsession, and only you can solve the case…
Full of suspense, this fast-paced, narrative drew me in from the outset. The exposition is well balanced; allowing the reader to get to know the characters without slowing down the pacing. This is made even more authentic by the writer’s in-depth knowledge of the novel’s setting. At times it felt like I was there with Francine: I could almost hear her heels echoing around the high-ceilinged hall with marble floors, and feel the rush of adrenaline as she whisks of her barrister’s wig to hail a taxi.
There’s plenty of conflict: not only between couples, friends, and business partners; but also inner conflict with the protagonist herself. The epitome of a successful career woman, Francine struggles with bi-polar and is unable to remember what happened the last time she saw Donna alive. An advocate of right and wrong, the protagonist is caught in a trap of lies and deceit where telling the truth could cost her the thing she’s worked towards and desired more than anything.
There are twists and turns galore in this edge of the seat psychological thriller. Nobody is who they first seem, and no character is above suspicion. Is Francine involved in Donna’s disappearance? Is somebody out to set her up? Or is it nothing to do with her at all? Just who can she trust? Can she trust anybody? Can she even trust herself?
The story also delves into the issue of mental health and the impact of a stressful job where work doesn’t stop when the office closes. In particular, the need for a woman to impress and excel in a man’s world. There’s a well-written scene where Francine is taken to one side by a senior female colleague, who gives her a pep talk on taking a break before she breaks down completely.
Under Literature Love’s rating scheme, this book has been awarded 5 out of 5 stars. This means: I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now!
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an Advance Review Copy of this book.