Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Trial by John Mayer

The Trial (The Parliament House Books #1) by John Mayer
Self published in January 2015.

Where to buy this book:

Add The Trial to your Goodreads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Glaswegian Brogan McLane completes many years of university education and legal training he crosses that great divide from Glasgow to Edinburgh. 'Called' to the Bar of the Scottish Supreme Court, he becomes a member of the most prestigious club in Scotland; The Faculty of Advocates in Parliament House.

When High Court Judge, Lord Aldounhill, is found dead after a transvestite party in his sumptuous home, those who know the killer close ranks and need a scapegoat – who better than 'outsider' Brogan McLane?

Out on bail with his career on hold, McLane and his band of blood brothers in the Calton Bar in Glasgow need to get ahead of their enemies or McLane will go down for life after Trial. But every time they discover a piece of evidence, it seems there is a mirror image to contradict it.

Through the murky world of Russian controlled transvestite hotels and with some unexpected police and judicial help, McLane battles against 'Low Life in High Places in the Old Town' until the killer is found.

But well protected and knowing all the tricks, will the killer ever stand trial in Parliament House?

I loved the way John Mayer contrasts the two great Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in The Trial. Having briefly visited both during a rail tour of the country some years ago I could recognise their characteristics and, in this novel, we really get to see behind the scenes of the entitled aristocratic Edinburgh set and the rough working-class Glasgow community. It is interesting that some of their cultural lynchpins of loyalty and honour are the same! Mayer's descriptions of the physical places allowed me to imagine every detail. I particularly appreciated the implied menace within the Calton Bar and the claustrophobia of McLane's prison cell.

The Trial is a pretty fast paced thriller so, other than Brogan McLane himself, I didn't feel we got bogged down in really getting to know the other characters. Rather I had impressions of a type with enough hints of individuality to mostly identify everyone as we met them again. I did find it easier to remember the Glaswegians than the Edinburgh Advocates and Judges. Perhaps that's just me! At times I would have liked more explanation of just how certain things occurred - who found a particular piece of evidence and how? McLane's clever legal arguments are fun to unravel and, overall, this is a tense and very enjoyable thriller. I am glad to already have a copy of its sequel awaiting me!

Meet The Author

John Mayer was born in Glasgow, Scotland, a war-zone where violence and poverty reigned. In 1963 when he heard The Beatles on Radio Caroline, he decided to change his life. Aged 14 he left school because, in his opinion, he wasn't being taught. For the next year, in all weathers, he cycled 9 miles to and 9 miles from the Mitchell Library in central Glasgow where he devoured books of all kinds and began to understand what more the world had to offer. He became an Apprentice engineer, and soon was teaching men twice his age. In the early 1970s his love of music led him to set up as a Record Producer. He built his own record company trading in 14 countries. After a disheartening court battle with global giants, he left the business world and went back into further education at the University of Edinburgh, becoming an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland. There he acted for the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialism was in fighting international child abduction.

John has written non-fiction, legal texts and articles; broadcast to tens of millions of people on US and UK radio, appeared on TV and in print media. Since retiring from the Law, John has enjoyed using his years of very colourful experience to create The Parliament House Books series.

The Trial is the first full length novel in this series. Set in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is more than a nod to Franz Kafka's book of the same title. The Trial sees crusading Scottish Advocate, Brogan McLane, fight injustices so casually delivered by Low Life in High Places in the Old Town.

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Books by John Mayer / Crime fiction / Books from Scotland


  1. Hi Stephanie!

    Thanks for this :)

    I can't wait to read it!

  2. John Mayer is giving away 100 ebook copies of The Trial via Goodreads! Giveaway closes on the 28th February. Looks like it is US only?