Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday 23 November 2011

The Child Who - Simon Lelic

This novel deals with the highly emotive subject of the murder of a child by another child. Twelve-year-old Daniel Blake kills eleven-year-old Felicity Forbes. The local solicitor in Exeter assigned to the case, Leo Curtice, has never before handled a case anywhere near so big, nor so inflammatory. The novel does focus on the crime itself, but predominantly it concerns the impact that defending Daniel has on Leo and his family, wife Megan and fifteen-year-old daughter Ellie. Leo is absolute in his conviction that taking this case is the right thing to do, despite his family’s fears of the backlash that may result. He is still plagued by thoughts of wanting to be successful in the way that his father envisaged. 

This is a gripping, compelling read, with the author bravely tackling head-on a subject which arouses incredibly strong feelings, and then taking a very interesting angle on it by looking at the repercussions on the defending solicitor. The public outcry and horror at this boy and his crime is realistically and effectively portrayed. Leo makes mistakes and has flaws, but he is a sympathetic character. He tries to get to know Daniel, and attempts to get to the bottom of why he has acted as he has, what has happened to him in the past, what of his relationships with his mother, father and stepfather? But is this approach futile? And what will happen to Leo's family, can they survive the mounting strain of this case and the media frenzy it attracts? A fascinating and dramatic novel, this is definitely one to make you think, and the author leaves you wanting more. 

The novel will be published by Mantle in the UK on January 5th 2012. 

Visit the author's website to find out more about the writer and his work.

I read and reviewed an advance review copy from the publisher. The above review is my own honest opinion.



  1. That's definitely an interesting topic - at what age do children become fully aware of the full implications of their actions and thus responsible?

    Sounds like a good take on a controversial issue.

  2. It is interesting, and the solicitor character tries not to see it as black and white, despite that being the tendency of the general public and the media.
    Thanks for visiting :)


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