Five words from the blurb: murdered, schoolmate, solicitor, defend, dilemna
Simon Lelic’s debut novel, Rupture, is one of my favourite books from the last decade. I wasn’t as impressed with his second, The Facility, but I was still keen to see what his new book would be like. The Child Who falls some where between the two. It is a fast paced, gripping read, but it lacks the depth and originality of Rupture.
The book centres on a solicitor who is called to defend a twelve-year-old boy accused of murdering a girl from his school. His job is made more difficult by the high public profile of the case and the way his family are increasingly affected.
The Child Who has far more commercial appeal than his previous books. It reads like a British version of Jodi Picoult, complete with the moral dilemma and the court room drama.
It was so compelling and easy to read that I read it in a couple of short sittings, but on ending the book I felt a little disappointed. The topic had potential to be thought-provoking, but I came away without feeling my viewpoint had been challenged. Each decision made by the characters seemed easy and the ending felt out of proportion and unrealistic. I wish it had contained a subtler character study instead of just being endless dialogue and action.
I think I’m only disappointed because Simon Lelic has previously set the bar very high. This is an entertaining read and I recommend it to fans of lighter thrillers.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
The Child Who is a powerful and heart-wrenching thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and drag you, emotionally, into the thick of the plot. This is, without doubt, Lelic’s finest work to date. Reader Dad
I found it hard to become involved in the novel: none of the characters engaged my sympathy, and although the author attempts to create psychological understanding for the crime, I felt this was somewhat superficially treated… Petrona
…Almost a 5 star read for me. I did enjoy it, although the subject matter is dark, but in the end its middle ground between literary fiction & crime fiction made it not quite enough of one or the other for me. Novel Heights