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The Trial by Rob Rinder - Review

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

I was intrigued when I was in the Lake District back in July and I saw this book in every book shop I went in (which was a lot. I like books). Because you know Rob Rinder, right? Also known as Judge Rinder. I never saw his TV show but I've seen him on Celebrity Gogglebox and I also liked his documentary about his family and the Holocaust. I'm also quite interested in the phenomenon of celebrities turning to writing books, which I've talked about before. So I was intrigued enough to give this a go. 

First off I have to say that Rob is actually a decent writer. The writing flows perfectly well for me. There's a sprinkling of humour throughout. The plot flows really well; one of my only criticisms is that I feel like the end all came together a bit quickly. I also think that this reads a lot like the first in a trilogy or a series, and I wouldn't be sad about that because the writing is good. Better than some writers for sure! 

Secondly, I know that Rob was a barrister and judge so it's no surprise that the main character, Adam, is also a barrister. There are bits in the book that I think "Oh that definitely must have happened" whether it's something in court or something in chambers, and whether it's something good or something bad. 

So, Adam is a trainee barrister. He's twenty five. He's on a tenancy year (I think that's the name) alongside another trainee, Georgina, and at the end of the year he or she will be taken on permanently. So it's a big deal. And Adam feels like he's been failing the whole time. Georgina is much more outgoing, much more social, and she has the backing of her pupil master. Adam doesn't fully get how to play the game, and his master is Jonathan. Jonathan is a serial adulterer, and he's quite lazy as a lawyer and gets Adam to do a bunch of donkey work. They have one case with a guy called Kavanagh, who has been accused of fraud, and who Jonathan is trying to keep on the good side of because he has a lot of money. Then Adam's mum is always on the phone to him trying to set him up with young (Jewish) girls his age and he's trying to fob her off. So that's where we find Adam at the beginning of the book. 

Right at the beginning of the book a police officer is giving evidence in a trial. He is Grant Cliveden and he's somewhat of a celebrity - he used to be a bodyguard for the Queen and once saved her from an assassination attempt, and then he's brought down a bunch of big time drug rings, and he's been on TV a lot. He's known. He is in the Old Bailey giving evidence when he has a funny turn and ultimately ends up dying. At first they think he's had a stroke, but then it turns out he's been poisoned. 

There's one suspect: Jimmy Knight. Jimmy had a few convictions for petty crimes in his youth, and was then banged up ten years ago for armed robbery of the post office he was working in. He swears he didn't do it and that Cliveden framed him. He's been out for two weeks and met up with Cliveden in a nearby pub on the day of his death. Plus his laptop shows that he was googling Cliveden when released, and there's a phone found in his flat which had sent messages to Cliveden. Jimmy maintains that the phone isn't his, and says he didn't do it. He can't really explain himself but is adamant he didn't do it. 

The case is on a legal aid basis so Jonathan wants to spend as little time on it as possible. But Adam kind of believes that Jimmy didn't do it. He starts investigating - but that threatens his own life because he has secrets in his past that he doesn't want to come to light in his current profession.

I liked Adam a lot and I liked the story. I did guess some of the twists, but didn't mind it. I'm giving this four out of five. 

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