Posts Tagged ‘William Brodrick’


Published: 2 March 2017



The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He’d said he was innocent. She’d believed him.

Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger’s in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson’s life. The price of his rehabilitation – and access to the Bar – is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He’s an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he’s subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It’s a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson’s first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she’s innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.

True to life, fast-paced and absolutely compelling, Summary Justice introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost.

My Thoughts & Review:

“Summary Justice” is a legal thriller with a difference, the criminal defence barrister has a criminal conviction and is out on licence.  Perhaps it’s through ignorance, but I always assumed that if a person possessed a criminal conviction they would not be permitted to practice law , especially when that conviction was for murder.  However in this novel it is explained that this is not necessarily the case and more so it is vital to the plot.

When I started reading this book I initially thought I would read a chapter or two to see what I thought, perhaps finish the ironing and do some knitting….I underestimated the pull of this book.  From the opening chapters I was utterly hooked by the the intricately woven plot, clever storytelling and fantastic characters.

William Benson is an interesting character, having served a custodial sentence before being released on license, he had all the time he needed to study the complexities of law to enable him to step towards a career in this field, the major issue for him being access to the Bar.  His passion for law and determination to succeed is great reading, as is his performance in court – if they ever decide to turn this into a tv series I would absolutely love to see that played out!  His inner struggles make him more endearing towards the reader, feeling some sympathy towards his plight but at the same time, without concrete proof of his innocence the reader cannot be entirely sympathetic as there is still a chance he may be a murderer.
Tess de Vere is also very interesting, she wants to do the right thing, fight the good fight and believe the best in some people but this is not always the case and her wariness towards Benson causes her to reinvestigate his case to find out whether he really is as innocent as he told her 16 years ago.

I found the pace of this book relentless, in a good way of course.  I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened with the case, what happened with Benson (both professionally and personally) and how the tale would unravel.  There were plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing along the way and I absolutely loved it!

Now I just have to hope that there will be another book out soon, billed as a “new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost” means we should have more fantastic books to come, and I cannot wait!

My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review.

You can buy a copy of “Summary Justice” via Amazon here or Wordery here


About the Author:

John Fairfax is the pen name of William Brodrick who practised as a barrister before becoming a full-time novelist.

Under his own name he is a previous winner of the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award and his first novel was a Richard and Judy Selection.




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