The Book That I Can't Put Down - The Appeal by Janice Hallet

One murder. Fifteen suspects. Can you uncover the truth?

I don't know about you, but I love books. HOWEVER, the older I get (and the more busy) the harder it is to find books that really grip me. This is especially true when it comes to my favourite genre crime/thriller where it often feels like plot lines are reused, or authors try a little too hard to get that shock factor with a twist ending. But when I stumbled upon The Appeal in the book aisle at Sainsburys I was immediately intrigued. The reader the detective? Sign me up.

Now the way this book is presented is a format I've never actually seen before. Essentially you are given a chain of emails and various other media that is addressed to two legal assistants Olufemi Hassan and Charlotte Holroyd with the premise that a fresh pair of eyes is needed on a case that's already had a conviction. The sender believes there's been a miscarriage of justice and they need you to help them reveal the truth.

There are also other things going on between the lines in the small town of Lockwood, which means the plot doesn't totally rely on its whodunnit credentials. There's a fundraiser for the sick girl Poppy that never seems to reach its target no matter how much money comes in. And there are mysterious newcomers in town with a suspicious past.

Whilst there are a lot of characters you need to quickly clue up on, there's something incredibly addictive about playing detective and having to read between the lines. You start to realise that even some of the most banal details could turn out to be significant and that's what made this book for me such a satisfying read.

Really it's hard to believe this is a debut, because it is just that good. I can't wait for her next book in 2022.