Tuesday 27 June 2017

Review: You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood

You Don't Know MeAn unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.

He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he's going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.

There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader - member of the jury - must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions... but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:

Did he do it?

Shona's review 4 of 5 stars

I had requested a copy of this book on NetGalley ages ago because the blurb had me intrigued, and I'll be honest it wasn't quite what I expected.
There were a few times in the very beginning that I was unsure if it was the kind of book I would be able to enjoy but before I knew it I needed to know his whole story. Forgive me for not mentioning the defendant by name, but it doesn't appear once in this book, something I have only ever seen in one other book (and I really enjoyed that one too).

Mahmood may have omitted this young mans name, but he has really given him a voice, everything is there from his mannerisms, to his street talk and dialect. You can really imagine this young man in front of you talking... which makes his story feel all the more real. The problem with this book, and it's a clever one... is we honestly do not know if we have a trustworthy narrator. Do we take his version of events as the truth? Or do we believe the stereotypes? At the end of this book we the individual reader will walk away asking ourselves did he do it? And only having our own opinion to answer the question for us.

As debut novels go this one is so far out of the box that it leaves the reader wondering if the box ever existed.. But leaves me keen to read more from Mahmood in the future.

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