It’s been a while since I’ve read a legal thriller and what a good book to jump back in with.
Elliot Rook QC is one of the greatest barristers of his generation.
He is also a complete fraud.
Elliot Rook is the epitome of a highly successful, old Etonian QC. Or so everyone believes. In fact, he is an ex-petty criminal with a past that he has spent decades keeping secret. Until now.
An unidentified young woman of Middle Eastern origin has been found murdered on the outskirts of Rook’s home town. Billy Barber – a violent football hooligan and white-supremacist – is accused of her murder. Barber insists that Rook must defend him. If Rook refuses, Barber will expose him, bringing crashing to the ground the life and career that Rook has spent his life building.
The truth is there for the finding. But at what cost?
The start of a thrilling new legal series, perfect for fans of Robert Galbraith and The Secret Barrister, written by an acclaimed QC.
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I can’t quite believe how absorbing this book was, I picked it up and then a couple of hours later I had it finished, I haven’t done that in a while so I was pleasantly surprised.
I think what really got me hooked was finding out more about Elliot Rook. I suppose there is a kind of assumption that you make with most people in his position that he will have followed a certain path to be in the position that he is in, I found it really interesting discovering his background and how that has affected his methods in work.
It also made him a lot more relatable, I definitely wouldn’t have had much interest in an Etonian who has had everything handed to him. I liked that he was more of an act first and think later kind of guy and occasionally got himself into situations that I was sure he was going to get out of.
The fact that his background is also unknown to most of the people who work with him also adds a fair amount of tension in the story. There is a fair amount of suspense already as he is kind of backed into a corner in trying to defend Billy and trying to figure out anything that can help his case, but it does add that extra edge knowing that there is such a personal stake in it for him.
Zara was a great character as well, at the same time contrasting and complimentary, Zara and Rook both have the same drive and work pretty well together. I liked that she had her own style, which was mostly at odds with most of the other lawyers that we came across and was recognised for more than just what labels she could be put into.
I won’t say too much about the overall storyline but I will say that I did not expect that ending, I did kind of wonder if everything would be tied up by the end because I could see the number of pages I had left and worried that maybe it wouldn’t quite hit the right mark. I needn’t have worried though because it did just not in the way that I was expecting, it was clever and makes me definitely want to read more about Elliot Rook.
Born into a coal mining family, Gary Bell QC left school without any qualifications and was an apprentice mechanic, fork lift truck driver, production line worker, builder, fireman and door-to-door salesman, as well as a notorious football hooligan, before being arrested for fraud aged 18.
After a brief stint in prison he set off to seek fame and fortune abroad and, after two years drifting around Europe ended up penniless and homeless. He next enrolled in a FE College to study his O and A levels, and then went on to study law as a mature student at Bristol University where he ‘became’ an Old Etonian. After graduating he spent a year as a litigation lawyer in Beverly Hills before coming back to England to become a barrister.
He has spent over thirty years at the Bar, specialising in defending in major fraud and murder trials, becoming a QC in 2012. Always on the look out for challenges and opportunities he has also been an award winning stand-up comedian; an after-dinner speaker (when at University he won several national debating competitions and was runner up in the World’s Humorous Debating Competition at Princeton); he has learned to fly a plane, hosted his own TV show (the Legalizer) on BBC1; writes regularly for national newspapers; has a column in The Spectator and wrote his best-selling autobiography, Animal QC.