When Audrey Marshall sends her daughter Emily to the religious boarding school where she herself was educated a generation before, memories return – memories of a culture of child sexual abuse presided over by a highly-regarded priest. Audrey turns to barrister Ben Schroeder in search of justice for Emily and herself. But there are powerful men involved, men determined to protect themselves at all costs. Will they succeed? Is there indeed one law for the rich and powerful, and one law for…?
I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for One Law For The Rest Of Us, the latest Ben Schroeder legal thriller by Peter Murphy. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I absolutely love legal thrillers and I am always on the look out for new authors so, when I found out that this was the sixth book in the series following criminal law barrister Ben Schroeder, I was surprised that I had not come across Peter Murphy’s work before. However, although this is the sixth book featuring this character, it works completely as a stand alone and I did not feel that I was missing anything from the plot by not having read the previous five books.
The novel follows the case of Audrey Marshall upon, who finding out her daughter has been abused at the boarding school she herself attended a generation before, she is flooded with memories of her own experiences at the school thirty years before and sets out to seek justice for both of them. However, she is thwarted at every turn as it becomes apparent that powerful people have very good reasons to stop her story ever seeing the light of day.
This is a UK-set legal thriller and deals with the ins and outs of trying to prosecute a case through the UK courts. Fans of John Grisham who are looking for his style of legal thriller where lawyers are forever breaking the law and getting involved in car chases and gun battles won’t find that here. The UK legal system is far more reserved and refined and British barristers a much more genteel and old-fashioned breed who wouldn’t consider doing anything so vulgar that would set their powdered wigs askew. That is not to say, however, that the book lacks thrills and suspense because it does not. The action and tensions is more cerebral in nature, though, as it takes the form of pitfalls and frustrations by trying to pursue justice through the courts.
Frustration is, indeed, the main driver of this book. By the end, I was almost screaming, my nerves twanging with tensions as Audrey and her daughter are thwarted at every turn by people high up in the executive who have vested interests in stopping their case succeeding. The fact that this is all too likely and plausible, makes it even more maddening, and you will be glued to the page, willing her lawyers to find a way through the maze of obstacles erected against them to get justice for the family. If you like a properly argued legal thriller, you will love this book but your nerves will be tested.
The plot, although clearly fiction, does have echoes of recent scandals in this country and may be triggering for some readers. It does give a good insight into the workings of the English justice system, and how it is not a perfect system for delivering justice. The author has a legal background, so it able to make the writing feel very authentic, although there is obviously poetic licence taken for the sake of the plot.
The book is populated by an intriguing mix of characters, it is very well written and easy to read and is not too filled with jargon, so will be appealing to non-lawyers. I think it is an excellent addition to the genre and I will definitely be going back to check out the other titles in the series by this author. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys legal dramas.
One Law For The Rest Of Us will be published on 13 December and you can pre-order a copy here.
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About the Author
Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He has written seven novels: two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve; five historical/ legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, A Higher Duty, A Matter For The Jury, And Is There Honey Still For Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr and Calling Down the Storm. He is also the author of Walden of Bermondsey and Judge Walden: Back in Session and Judge Walden: Call The Next Case, which is due to be published in 2019.
Peter Murphy will be appearing on BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Cambridge, BBC Radio West Midlands, BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC radio Manchester this summer as part of promotion for his Walden of Bermondsey series.
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