Title: You Don’t Know Me
Author: Imran Mahmood
Publisher: Penguin UK – Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 27th, June 2017
Page Count: 400 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Crime
Synopsis: An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.
He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.
There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:
Did he do it?
Warning: This book contains descriptions of violence, drug abuse, prostitution and nudity.
There were only two characters I kind of liked in this novel and that was the defendant’s friend Curt and the defendant’s sister, Blessing. They were nice characters that if spoken about more I could have really liked but the main characters I didn’t like, not for any particular reason I just couldn’t connect.
You Don’t Know Me is set in England, the story is told by the defendant who is sat in court explaining the events leading up to the crime, the murder of a man named Jamil.
I feel so frustrated with this book, I got 40% through and I was so bored. I skim read the last 60% and from what I can tell nothing got any better. All of the story was just about gang trouble really. I seriously believed the defendant’s story until the end when he explained what had happened after Jamil’s death and I just couldn’t believe it, not in an ‘I was shocked’ way, no, I literally couldn’t believe it, the story did not make sense and this would never happen. I also can’t believe the judge let the defendant tell his story for 10 days especially over the fact that most of it were unnecessary. Throughout the book, I had to laugh because there were things the defendant was saying that was how I was feeling, here are a couple of examples.
“I get the feeling ou lot are waiting for the ending and one of the last things my brief said to me was ‘Don’t let them lose interest’ and I don’t know if you lot are maybe losing interest.”
Yes, I was really losing interest…
“Look I know that this speech is long. It is bare long.”
Yes, it was sooooooo long, please, stop.
There were a couple of quotes I liked and I think these were the only good lines in the whole book.
“One of the first things I did was go round to her flat to pick up some things for her. Some clothes, yes, but mainly something to read. She needed her books round her. To her they were like her friends. Or family even. It’s weird I know, but book people are weird trust me.”
Too right we are.
“Maybe right now it is. But in a few days, or a few weeks, she will get better. It’s being in a tunnel. You don’t know how long it will stay dark but if you walk long enough, the light will come. Eventually.”
So there we have it, the only bits I enjoyed from the full story. I wouldn’t recommend this to anybody, I would have quit at 40% if it wasn’t for it being a Netgalley copy. But then again, people have enjoyed it so maybe it was just me?
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Book Depository: click here
About the author:
Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. He has
been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country dealing in serious and complex criminal cases.
He now lives in South East London with his wife and is currently plotting a second novel. – Goodreads