Until Proven Innocent

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Pub Date 16 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 16 Mar 2023

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'Spectacular! British crime fiction has a dazzling new voice in Nicola Williams' Tony Parsons

‘An authentic thought-provoking new voice in crime fiction’ Kate Ellis


The gripping new courtroom thriller following barrister Lee Mitchell in her most controversial case yet!

Lee Mitchell is a young barrister from a working-class Caribbean background: in the cut-throat environment of the courtroom, everything is stacked against her.

On her doorstep in South London the 15-year-old son of the pastor at the local Black church is shot, and the local community is shattered. All evidence is pointing to infamously corrupt, racist police officer Sergeant Jack Lambert as the irredeemable suspect. His own boss - rebel-turned-copper Danny Wallace - is certain he is guilty.

Against her will, Lee is strong-armed into defending him. With cries of 'Black Lives Matter!' echoing in the streets, Lee is at the centre of the turmoil as lies, anger, and mistrust spiral out of control.

With the line between her personal and professional life becoming increasingly blurred, Lee keeps asking herself the same question: How can she defend the indefensible?


'Lee Mitchell is such a compelling and convincing character, I kept thinking I would see her on the street or the Tube. A legal thriller with heart and soul’ Erin Kelly

'Nothing short of an astounding, brilliantly engaging book! Nicola has created one of the most daringly complex, intellectually and emotionally evocative crime stories I've read in quite some time' Stephen Mack Jones

'Spectacular! British crime fiction has a dazzling new voice in Nicola Williams' Tony Parsons

‘An authentic thought-provoking new voice in crime fiction’ Kate Ellis


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ISBN 9780241562710
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

An excellent first novel which deals with the issue of police misconduct and racism expertly. The characters are well drawn and credible and the plot original and realistic .

The murder suspect is identified very early on which helps build the tension as he is defended by a black barrister who loathes him nd what he allegedly stand for.

The tension builds and the court scenes are dramatic with unexpected twists.

What more can you ask for?

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Brilliant courtroom story of Lee Mitchell is a young barrister from a working-class Caribbean background: in the cut-throat environment of the courtroom, everything is stacked against her.
She is strong armed in defending corrupt, racist police officer Sergeant Jack Lambert and the court scenes are dramatic and tense and leave you wanting to read more.
I could not put this down and the ending is a real surprise.
Highly recommend this book thanks to Penguin General UK and NetGalley for a ARC for a honest review.

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This is a superb story and also one that raises important issues. Lee Mitchell is a black barrister who finds herself, pretty much against her will, defending a racist white policeman accused of shooting the black son of the local vicar. That is the simple take on the story. It is much more complicated than that as the trial and aftermath unfold. The use of the racist attitudes and difficulties facing the black population of this London suburb are sensitively handled and used to give the story a compelling feel. It is a book that captures the reader from page one and that is before reaching the final, satisfying ending. I recommend this wholeheartedly. It is a terrific achievement.

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This is a well written book that raises issues around police racism and a legal system that is financially led. Lee Mitchell is a caribbean barrister who finds herself, against her will ,defending a racist old school policeman accused of shooting the son of the local black church leader. Nicola Williams draws a complex situation looking at the various relationships between the characters, their families, their work and the community. The trial unfolds. The racist attitudes and the difficulties facing Lee Mitchell as she tries to defend the repugnant policeman are powerful and complex. I was engaged with the book all the way through and found the ending to be the right conclusion. I recommend this book and hope Nicola Williams is working on the next!

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Lee Mitchell is an interesting yet intriguing character, a female barrister of Carribean heritage- working class in London means we witness her fighting to keep her stance in a culture already biased against her.

On a journey home, we find there has been a shooting. This leaves the community in uprage. Williams has created a real gem with this one. It is definitely a powerful read which is one that has been impossible to put down. I can safely say that this is a book that is addictive to the very end.

Until Proven Innocent is an excellent novel, perfectly paced and completely unputdownable. This is so relevant to current times and Lee has represented a client she doesn’t necessarily agree with.

Lee is a brilliant character, I have loved her in this one. This is a book with many different twists which grip you. It is perfectly paced and just a brilliant read.

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Many thanks to Net Galley and Penguin General UK for an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.
This is an excellent crime courtroom drama where the tension builds, caused by a 15 year old boy being shot in the face, and now in a coma.
Lee Mitchell is a young successful barrister, she is black and against the odds is carving a career in the legal world of South London.
Against her judgement Lee is forced to defend the notorious, rather vile Sergeant Jack Lambert who is part of the local police force and has been charged with this crime, There is evidence which point to Jack Lambert, but it is far from conclusive.
Defending Jack wrecks havoc inLee’s personal life, with her partner David, her mother and in the community where she has lived and worked. Her dislike for her client is obvious, she does however still have the desire to win.
This is a fast pace read, filled with drama, lies and deception, many twists and turns.
My first book by Nicola Williams and I look forward to reading more. A 5 star read.

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This isn’t a book about just about racism, but it does have some racial tension from time to time. Yes, the defendant is a racist, but that is to deflect from how and where this story goes.
This book is more about the way the law chambers is run and how the barrister cannot refuse to defend someone she’d normally avoid by a million miles. This sets Lee Mitchell against her local community as they wonder why she would choose to defend such a terrible client. They don’t understand.
The court room scenes feel very realistic, and the writer must have completed their research well because the terms used and the events that occur feel very real. It is only as the court room scenes and chapters unfold, does the reader find out more about the story and how involved it really is. There are secrets that appear to remain hidden, but as a reader of books, you’ll expect to find out the content of the secrets at some stage.
Having not read this author before, I’ll certainly look for more either in the series (if there are some) or as a standalone. I really enjoyed this story.

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