Summary Justice (Benson & de Vere #1) by John Fairfax
published: 2nd March 2017
Publishers: Little Brown
Available on Kindle and in Hardback
BlurbThe last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He'd said he was innocent. She'd believed him.
Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger's in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson's life. The price of his rehabilitation - and access to the Bar - is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He's an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he's subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It's a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson's first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she's innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.
Summery Justice is the first in a new legal series by John Fairfax which features the team of William Benson and Tess de Vere as the crime fighting duo. Although I have a couple of John Grisham courtroom dramas on my reading pile I am yet to pick them up, I think the size of them is slightly intimidating. Summery Justice is a fairly short book at just 294 pages, so is the ideal book to break into this genre. Initially I did find the amount of legal jargon used at the beginning a little overwhelming, but stick with it because after three chapters I was completely hooked on the book.
William Benson is a barrister with a difference, sixteen years ago he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Through his trial William a philosophy student found his true calling to practise the law and despite being locked up for eleven years he worked tirelessly to gain his law degree and admittance into a law chamber so he can work as a barrister. This ambition was fuelled by a conversation he had with Tess de Vere a young law student moments before he was given the guilty verdict, fast forward sixteen years and their paths are about to cross again.
Sarah Collingstone has been accused of murdering her wealthy lover and the evidence against her is crushing but Sarah swears she is innocent and after sacking her latest barrister she needs a miracle. Tess hearing the woman’s plight instructs Benson to represent Sarah in court and together with Benson’s clerk Archie they set about providing a case for the defence.
As the trial begins there are numerous twists and turns as the evidence is examined I found this book truly fascinating, just when you think you’ve got it all figured out bam another twist is added. Some of the story was a little far-fetched and perhaps not completely believable but I enjoyed it anyway.
Summary Justice was one of those books I really didn’t want to end as it was very gripping and I’ve loved getting to know Benson and de Vere as characters. If there was a second book in the series published I would already be reading it as I’m so excited for where this duo go next, luckily there is one on the way so hopefully the wait won’t be too long.
I’d like to thank the publishers Little Brown for sending me this to review and also to John Fairfax, thank you for introducing me to a genre I could very easily become hooked on.