“Three lives cut short. Two decades of silence. One evil secret.
By day, the park rings with the sound of children’s excited laughter. But in the early hours of the morning, the isolated playground is cloaked in shadows – the perfect hiding place to conceal a brutal murder.
When London journalist, Mark Roberts, is found battered to death, the police quickly arrest petty thief, Nick Connor. Criminal defence lawyer, Dan Grant, along with investigator Jayne Brett, are called to represent him – but with bloody footprints and a stolen wallet linking him to the scene, this is one case they’re unlikely to win.
Until help comes from an unlikely source…when the murder victim’s mother says that Connor is innocent, begging Dan and Jayne to find the real perpetrator.
Unravelling the complex case means finding the connection between Mark’s death and a series of child murders in Yorkshire over twenty years ago. Father of two, Rodney Walker, has spent years in prison after being convicted of killing of 6-year-old William and 7-year-old Ruby back in 1997.”
I am delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop on The Innocent Ones blog tour. The Innocent Ones was published by Hera Books on 24th April and is the third book in the Dan Grant and Jayne Brett series written by Neil White. This, however, is the first book in this particular series that I have read (not the first book I’ve read by this author, mind you) and it works perfectly well as a standalone. I was given an eARC of The Innocent Ones but this has in no way influenced my review.
When I first agreed to take part in this blog tour there were two things I wasn’t aware of. Number one; it’s the third book in the series but as I mentioned up there ⬆️⬆️, that really wasn’t a problem and I enjoyed it as a standalone. The second thing; I wasn’t aware it was a legal-esque type thriller. Which is daft really as I know author Neil White is a qualified lawyer and it goes to prove that I don’t always read the blurb too carefully (plus I’ve read other books by White and they’ve been more along the lines of a police procedural). Again, not a problem for me as I LOVE a legal thriller.
I guess what I’m saying is apart from having read and enjoyed a few other books by White many moons ago, I started The Innocent Ones with no preconceived ideas (just my usual high expectations, lol!). And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s was surprising, gripping and beautifully dark. According to the author’s notes at the end of the novel this is the third and final book in the series, which is a shame. At least I can console myself by reading the first two books in the trilogy.
Defence lawyer, Dan Grant, is tasked with defending low-life local scum, Nick Connor. But instead of Connor’s usual petty misdemeanours, this time the charge is murder. Journalist Mark Roberts was found bludgeoned to death in the local park and left to die in a congealing pool of blood. Despite some pretty damning evidence to the contrary, Nick claims he’s innocent. It’s a big step though, from theft to murder, and Dan is convinced Connor didn’t do it. Helped by the fact Dan is approached by the mother of the victim who says she believes the wrong man is on trial and she wants Dan and his investigator, Jayne, to find the real killer. It’s not long before Dan and Jayne are digging up a cold case from 20 years ago, upsetting the residents of a small Yorkshire town and discovering that not everything is as it first seems…
I loved Dan and Jayne. What a team! There’s obviously a fair bit of backstory behind Jayne’s past which is one of the reasons I want to read the first two books in this trilogy. Not knowing the ins and outs didn’t hamper my enjoyment though – the author provides new readers with a good overview. I loved the setting too. I love small town American mysteries and sometimes find their British counterparts can’t really compare. That’s not the case with The Innocent Ones. I loved the claustrophobia of the two towns, the secrets hidden within the small communities.
Would I recommend this book? I most certainly would. When I was doing ‘real life’ I was thinking about the plot and characters, wanting to get back to the story and find out what was going to happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Dan and Jayne and I look forward to making a start on the first book in the trilogy soon.
I chose to read and review an eARC of The Innocent Ones. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
The Innocent Ones by Neil White was published in the UK by Hera Books on 24th April 2019 and is available in eBook format (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | GoogleBooks | Goodreads |
Neil White was born and brought up around South Yorkshire. He left school at sixteen but studied for a law degree in his twenties, then started writing in 1994. He is now a lawyer by day, crime fiction writer by night. He lives with his wife and three children in Preston.