Wednesday 12 May 2021

Review | The Verdict by Olivia Isaac-Henry

Published by One More Chapter on August 12, 2019

After one read of the blurb for this book, I was already sold, and Olivia Isaac-Henry’s second novel did not disappoint. The Verdict had such a great premise, and it delivered a compelling story with plenty of twists and turns. I was hooked straight away with a killer prologue that was short, snappy and had me dying to get to the truth. Immediately I was intrigued by the events in this book and my need to know what had happened never let up all the way through.

The Verdict centres around Julia Winter, who is not having a good time of things after her son caught her cheating on her husband with his rugby coach. Things go from bad to worse for Julia pretty quickly, as she soon receives word that a body has been found buried opposite the house she used to live in. Whilst hearing this is somewhat of a shock for Julia, the fact that there was a body to be discovered there is clearly not news to her, so already this raised my suspicions and had me struggling to trust any of the characters.

The book is set over a few different timelines, from 1994 to 2019. In 1994, we are in Guildford, where Julia moves into a house share with some incredibly strange dynamics between all the residents and the landlady. In 2017, we are in London where the past is catching up with Julia, leading to her arrest and the ensuing court case which begins the following year. Each location and date is well noted at the beginning of each chapter but still it wasn’t the easiest book to follow as it went back and forth a lot. However, this was redeemed because every chapter offered something fascinating and something that made me eager to carry on reading and discover the truth.

There was a lot to like about The Verdict, from the slow-building suspense to the dysfunctional set of characters. Because nobody appeared particularly likeable or trustworthy, I spent my entire read trying to piece everything together and work out who was responsible for the murder and whether there was more to the case than anybody was letting on. This book kept me guessing throughout and whilst not fast-paced, instead the story is built with a true sense of unease and a lingering animosity.

My favourite part of this book was definitely the court case which I thought was incredibly well written, taut with tension and thrilling twists throughout. I could not get enough of the courtroom drama and as much as I wanted to know the truth, I also did not want this part to end! There was plenty to unfold during the course of this court case and despite all my suspicions, just when I thought I knew everything that was going to happen, the author surprised me with a clever twist that made me stop and have to reread just to get my head around it.

The Verdict really was an incredibly gripping book and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review. 

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