EXCERPT: ‘Julia Winter?’ the woman says.
I stand up. The whole office stops and looks at me.
“You are Julia Winter?’
‘Yes,’ I say.
The female officer steps forward. ‘I am arresting you on suspicion of the murder of Brandon Wells. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence of you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?’
No one moves. The office stands silent.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: A cheating wife. An estranged mother. But is she guilty of murder?
Please raise your right hand.
An affair at work has cost Julia Winter her job and her marriage. There’s no denying she has let her family down.
Please remain standing.
When a body is discovered on the North Downs, it hits local headlines. But for Julia, the news is doubly shocking because the body was buried just opposite the house she lived in over twenty years ago. And it is one of her former housemates.
Please resume your seat.
Up on the stand, Julia’s not the only person to have secrets that are unearthed during the trial. But the evidence against her is overwhelming.
And yet one question remains: is she the murderer, or the victim?
Jurors, you may be excused.
Readers, what is your verdict?
MY THOUGHTS: Interesting premise, and I enjoyed the read with one or two reservations.
Firstly, the timelines, multiple…. too many. It got quite confusing even though each chapter was headed with the date and location. 1994&5, 2001, 2017&18. This is one book that may have been better served by the story being told in a simpler timeline rather than one which jumped about all over the place.
There was a noticeable lack of suspense…and that is a biggie for me.
None of the characters were particularly likeable, but they were mostly interesting. My favourite was definitely Genevieve D’Auncey, who claimed to be a classically trained actress, but who is rumoured to have been a ‘hostess’. She is still mourning the loss of her son, although she refuses to acknowledge his death. She is mysterious about everything, believing that it makes her more interesting, and invents dramas to fill her time and attract attention. She dresses flamboyantly, and affects mannerisms to match. Her sister Ruth, while lacking the mannerisms, hairpiece and flamboyant clothes, is very much a watered down version of Genevieve (real name Jennifer Pike), but has hidden depths.
Brandon is a thoroughly unlikable wastrel, who uses other people for his own gain. Alan is a nasty little, backstabbing wimp. And Gideon is a chameleon, one of those people who fit in anywhere, blending in, making friends.
And Julia? Is she the bad mother who screwed around behind her husband’s back, a hard-nosed career woman more concerned with climbing the corporate ladder than caring for her husband? Or is she someone being swept along by events that she doesn’t have the skills or confidence to control?
My favourite quote: A second marriage is a triumph of stupidity, not hope.
THE AUTHOR: In addition to writing novels, Olivia Isaac-Henry is a crime drama lover, occasional keyboard player, and backing vocalist in the band The Protaganist. She grew up in Worcestershire but now lives in London, where she loves the theatres, food markets and festivals.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Verdict by Olivia Isaac-Henry for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads profile page or the about page on my webpage, sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2923282912?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1