I am delighted to kick off the #blogtour for Gillian McAllister’s latest novel which I raced through in only a couple of days because I just HAD to know how it all ended.
It’s the day Izzy’s father will be released from jail. She has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.
Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?
This is McAllister’s fourth novel, and to my mind, her best yet. She returns with another gripping legal thriller but this time introduces us to something of a hybrid genre; a thriller with heart and sensitivity; a focus on the human repercussions of a tragedy that tears a family apart, leaving behind a lonely, lost girl, left to enter adulthood without a mother or father.
McAllister examines several relationships in this novel; between father and daughter, mother and daughter, husband and wife, but also of a girl grappling to gain a sense of her true identity whilst dealing with the catastrophic consequences of her family being ripped apart by her father’s shocking crime.
Izzy’s loss has left her craving the attention, love and security a family provides: spying on her neighbour, stalking her and imagining her to be a surrogate mother. In desperation she even resorts to following the “perfect” family on Instagram, daydreaming that she too is part of such a unit.
Nick, a police analyst and Izzy’s husband, has been on edge since Izzy’s father was released on life licence. Understandably, Nick is protective of Izzy but then Nick has had her all to himself for so long, she relies on him entirely for love and emotional support, but with her father released Nick may have to share Izzy. Does the ugly creep of jealousy mask Nick’s view of what is best for her?
Gabe, Izzy’s father, has McAllister examining the complicated consequences of being institutionalised. He comes across as defensive and deceitful yet is adamant of his innocence. Gabe implores Izzy to rekindle their lost connection and help him find who really killed her mother. Izzy being so vulnerable, willingly agrees to help.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Isle of Wight, this novel, with its complex and flawed characters, is fresh and pacy. I raced though in only two days – a real rollercoaster at times. Just as soon as you think Izzy is heading in the direction of the truth, her quest is dealt a crushing blow and she is jolted back to square one, questioning her beliefs and her father’s motives, wondering who she can really trust.
McAllister deftly introduces legal jargon and judicial mechanisms without alienating the reader, showing she has certainly done her research. An intricate and intense narrative where I audibly gasped at the last page. I was utterly enthralled by this book and McAllister kept me guessing until the very end.
This novel is a 5* triumph; not only because it is excels in its genre, but because it is a thriller reaching outside of its box; it has a warm blooded heart beating right the way through it. McAllister has managed to school us once again with a twisty, intelligent, yet emotionally charged tale.
My thanks go to Michael Joseph for sending me a proof copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.
The Evidence Against You is published in paperback on 18th April 2019 and you can pre-order it here.
If you enjoyed reading my review please do check out my other posts and also visit the other stops on the #blogtour which will continue for the next month…