Title: Degrees of Guilt
Author: HS Chandler
Publication Date: 16 May 2019 (ebook), 5 September 2019 (paperback)
When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.
Maria is on trial for attempted murder.
She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.
Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.
She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.
You may think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.
You will be wrong.
I love a good courtroom drama and one of the most fascinating parts of this story for me was the actions and group dynamics of the jury. The author has a background in law herself and she has cleverly not fallen into the trap of sensationalising the setting or the trial, bringing a real sense of authenticity to the book. Whilst we never really know what goes on in a jury room, it strikes me as somewhat illogical to allow such an important decision as someone’s guilt or innocence to rest with a group of people who more often that not will have some preconceptions/bias and whom may be easily pressured to align their views with other members of the jury in order to bring their jury duty to an end. The criminal justice system really is shockingly vulnerable to human fallibilities and to those barristers who are happy to twist evidence in order to get the win. In Maria’s case, the tension quickly ramps up as we wonder whether justice will prevail?
HS Chandler is the pen name of Helen Fields. As HS Chandler she writes psychological thrillers and legal thrillers. With a background as a criminal and family law barrister, she now runs a media company and writes the Callanach crime series.