‘Seventeen years ago he was sent to prison.
Now he’s out.
And he is looking for you….’
The Evidence Against You is the latest novel from The Sunday Times Bestselling author Gillian McAllister. Just published with Penguin Books it is described as ‘a gripping psychological thriller’.
Izzy English lives on the Isle of White, happily married to Nick and the owner of her own restaurant. But Izzy’s life has been a very difficult one, with her father convicted of murdering her mother seventeen years ago. Izzy’s life was turned upside down that day, losing both parents over a very short period of time. Her father Gabriel was an artist, a man who lived quite a bohemian lifestyle and her mother Alexandra was proprietor of her own restaurant. Izzy, on the cusp of adulthood, was aware her parents had issues, were struggling, but she never expected the devastation that was to follow the day her mother disappeared.
Following the imprisonment of her father, for a crime that he always proclaimed his innocence for, Izzy was taken in by her grandparents, with all her hopes and dreams dashed immediately. Izzy took over the running of the restaurant and eventually it just became her permanent job, as her ambition to be a ballerina was parked indefinitely. Izzy only ever visited her father once in prison and she never really questioned his innocence, accepting the evidence presented her and doing her best to get on with her life. Izzy, although on the surface appearing to have it all, has a permanent emptiness in her heart, moving through the days with a constant numbness in her heart. Izzy looks at Instagram photos imagining the perfect life, the perfect family, the one she no longer has. She longs for a happy-ever-after wrapped up in the cocoon of a loving family.
Now in her thirties, Izzy receives the news she has feared. Gabriel has gotten parole and is out of prison. Izzy is waiting for him to turn up on her doorstep but is frightened for her own safety. As she looks back, she is aware of her evidence during the trial and how her father might have interpreted her words. Izzy is afraid.
But Gabriel comes out of prison a changed man, a shadow of his former self, looking to his daughter for reconciliation and forgiveness for a crime he claims he did not commit. He looks to Izzy to help him prove his innocence but as Izzy peels back each layer she begins to have misgivings, doubting the truth of what she originally thought and also what her father now insists on.
Gillian McAllister has written a multi-layered thriller that will have you all in a muddle right to the final few chapters. Just when you think you have the case solved, she slips in another bump, throwing you completely off balance. It did take me a few chapters to get into it as it is told in the present tense, a style I usually struggle with, but once I was sucked into Izzy and Gabriel’s story I became oblivious to this.
The Evidence Against You is a novel that does raise very interesting questions about our society and how our prison services work. How accurate is our justice system and how easy is it to prove your innocence if the court says otherwise? The reader is torn between wanting Gabriel to be innocent to thinking he most certainly isn’t. Gillian McAllister keeps that secret very close to her chest until the finale.
The Evidence Against You is an intense read, with quite a powerful message underlying the tale. It’s thought-provoking, packed with suspense….a captivating and exciting read to the finish.
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.