Published in July 2014 by IM Books
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How I got this book:
Received an ebook copy from the author in exchange for my honest review
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"Renowned British barrister, Lawrence Juste, is a man with a past so cleverly stitched together he thought it could never come unravelled - until now. Two things are about to pick it apart, piece by sordid piece: a child, and a blackmail note from a woman hiding as many secrets as him. As the past unravels, his carefully ordered world falls apart in a twisting spiral of taboo, passion, lies and revelations, with potentially tragic consequences. For Lawrence Juste, the future suddenly looks as dangerous as it is uncontrollable. This is the hidden history of not just one man, but a whole family battling deceit, intrigue and conspiracy on the road to a unique form of atonement..
Patchwork Man is the first novel in a trilogy focusing on the life of barrister Lawrence Juste, a former children's home resident who seized chances when they came, managing to rise above his early life and create an exceptional legal career. That career is now threatened by the uncovering of his past misdemeanours. This is a compelling story with an intricately convoluted plot that requires concentration on the part of the reader. I did often find myself baffled as the plot rushed past without my having grasped an important point earlier on! I think I had got it sussed by the end though - or by the end cover anyway. Lots of threads are left open, presumably to be picked up in the other two books.
I liked Martin's imagining of the young poverty-stricken family in Croydon and, as someone who lived near Eastbourne for a number of years, I can certainly attest to that bitter coastal wind she describes. Once we got to the present-day legal proceedings however, I was often distracted by unrealistic scenarios and wearied by the number of times we were told how 'personal' every action was. So intensely personal it turned out that I am amazed our Lawrence was legally allowed to pursue the case (and the case worker!) at all. Conflict of interest anyone? This was a shame because I was therefore too frequently left doubting what I read even though I enjoyed Martin's writing style and the challenge of unravelling the multiple mysteries. On that basis I would certainly try another of her books in the future, albeit not from this trilogy.
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Books by Debrah Martin / Crime fiction / Books from England