A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining thriller which also raises some important issues...
Michael Portillo, Times Radio
Sunday Times Crime Club pick for June 2020.
The Sunday Times
This book is by turns fascinating and creepy, horrifying and heart-breaking and frustrating, and always readable.
Meredith Rankin, meredithrankin.com
By Alex Churchill
"Gripping thriller and an impressive debut"
I devoured this nail-biting thriller set in the world of the criminal bar. It has a satisfyingly tense plot involving the stalking of a female barrister, marital betrayal, and the complicated issues around the prosecution and reporting of rape cases. For me, it was also a fascinating insight into how a criminal barrister actually operates. Such a good read, and just waiting for a TV adaptation. - Jane Thynne – author
A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining thriller which also raises some important issues…
Michael Portillo, The Times Radio
As a criminal barrister, Sophie Angel is struggling for justice in a system that’s close to collapse.
And one night a week she works as a newspaper lawyer, telling the editors what they can – and can’t – print.
As Sophie fights the biggest case of her career, these two worlds collide.
Someone is stalking her from the shadows. But is the threat from her earlier life in Russia?
Or does it come from closer to home?
Sophie’s about to find out that sometimes it is too late to lock your doors.
Sometimes the danger is already inside.
This is a twisted tale of betrayal, trust, guilt and innocence, played out from the courtrooms of London to the darkest corners of Soviet era Moscow.
Alex Churchill is a criminal barrister and writer.
A great new heroine has made her appearance.
Caroline Davidson - Amazon
An explosive courtroom legal thriller that packs a punch.
Surjit Parekh - Netgalley
The Night Lawyer is the excellent debut novel by the writer and criminal barrister Alex Churchill. I was immediately captivated by this book and loved the main character ….A brilliant debut novel. Highly recommended.
Michelle B . Netgalley
A cracking good read
Once started, this book was hard to put down and left me looking forward to the next book. I am a massive fan of legal and police thrillers from Donna Leon to Michael Connelly and Anne Cleeves. So I hope a new author will keep me gripped and end with a satisfying and realistic punch.
Night Lawyer does not disappoint; at a third of the way through I wondered how the various strands would come together and they did.
There were enough differentiated characters to engage without having to check back on who was who. The depiction of a working chambers and court procedures felt realistic and the Russian storyline sits authentically and movingly within the whole, and, I cared about what happened to the characters.
The descriptions of all locations had me right there, from the English Bar to the Russian dacha.
In addition to a gripping read it also has serious points to make about our legal system which gives it weight and gave me pause for thought.
I highly recommend Night Lawyer.
Mrs E Daniell - Amazon
Gripping thriller and an impressive debut
I devoured this nail-biting thriller set in the world of the criminal bar. It has a satisfyingly tense plot involving the stalking of a female barrister, marital betrayal, and the complicated issues around the prosecution and reporting of rape cases. For me, it was also a fascinating insight into how a criminal barrister actually operates.
Such a good read, and just waiting for a TV adaptation.
Jane Thynne - Amazon
I literally found this book unputdownable and ended up reading it into the early hours. I really enjoyed all the elements of the book- the well-drawn characters, the insights into the workings, shortcomings and challenges of the English legal system, the Russian elements, which added a real extra dimension to the plot and ambiance.
This writer really knows her stuff. Thoroughly recommended.
L. Stewart Alsop - Amazon
Fascinating and gripping legal thriller
I love thrillers but for some unknown reason I rarely read legal thrillers. I can count on one hand the amount and I honestly have no idea why as I find the legal system fascinating. After reading this I’m definitely going to try and change that so any recommendations are welcome.
Gripping from the start and with a complex and extremely interesting protagonist you can’t help but be caught up in all the goings on (and there’s a lot). With two jobs, a marriage that’s falling apart and a mysterious past in Russia all adding extra strain and stress to go with her ever growing stack of cases.
But the real clincher for me with this book and what gave it the well deserved five star rating was her new case. Centred around a young man accused of spiking a woman’s drink and raping her. He protests that he is innocent but before he is even tried he’s already been tarred as a rapist. This is when trial by news and social media outlets comes into play and we learn how the accused can become a victim and the damage it can cause. I will admit I’m guilty of doing exactly that myself, social media doesn’t give evidence or facts it just paints the picture it wants you to see. But we all have opinions regardless.
We follow Sophie as she pieces together the evidence trying to determine his guilt/innocence and we see both sides as the case is built. What was really great was also following her personal life and seeing inside her marriage and family background. I don’t want to say much more as I do spoiler free reviews and I would hope I’ve built a good enough case for you to read the book. I can testify that it’s worth it.
Melanie’s Reads - Amazon
Top Suspense, fascinating insights into misfiring of judicial system in sex crimes
A surefire bestseller, first and foremost a page turner: a cracking good read.
Along the way it reveals itself as a scathing critique of who gets accused of what in the post-MEtoo minefield of sexual relationships between the sexes. Leaving no stone unturned, its powerful narrative drives us to some alarming and fascinating conclusions about being a lawyer, a female and a male in 2020.
Truth - Amazon
This is an impressive debut novel. A good read, and for once all the legal procedural technicalities are correct. An intriguing sub-plot keeps you guessing to the end, and written by a woman from a woman’s viewpoint, subtly catches the complexities of rape trials and highlights the risks of miscarriages of justice whilst keeping you hooked and the pages turning.
Billy Collins - Foyles Bookshop
This is truly a great courtroom drama. It is written with great clarity as we go through the evidence from defence and prosecution. And, we get to see how Sophie works through her case. It also highlights the effects of understaffing and underfunding within the justice system. And, what occurs in this story was a very jaw-dropping moment, I had to stop and regain myself while reading.
The Night Lawyer is a fantastic courtroom drama. Sophie Angel is a strong female lead character and I hope to see a lot more of her.
Honestmam Reader - Goodreads
What a great book!
The main character, Sophie Angel, is a barrister that comes face to face with criminals and the accused, as well as people fighting to prove their innocence. During some evenings she works as a night lawyer for a newspaper, ensuring that they don’t print their stories in ways that could cause them lawsuits and headaches.
Her marriage to a fellow barrister becomes rocky when a new woman enters the picture, but what is the truth? We find out when it all comes to a head towards the end and we learn just what is in store for the future of her marriage. This rocky time puts added pressure on Sophie who also has a stack of cases to deal with as well as a new owners taking over the paper. One of the new owners is Russian and is intrigued by Sophie once she learns her name and background. Sophie herself is also Russian as her family fled Russia when she was a little girl after the death of her uncle. We learn what the connection is between this owner and Sophie and it is a wild ride! There are ups and downs and surprises around every corner and I loved it all!
The new owner brings to her a case where a young man, Henry, has been accused of drugging a woman’s drink and raping her. He maintains his protest of innocence and the evidence is built up to support that. Despite Henry not yet being found guilty or not guilty word gets out that he is a ‘rapist’. We see the devastating effects that trial by social media can have on people’s lives and we get a look at what happens when this support for a victim creates a new victim in the accused. We see the pressure and power it takes to get a case built and all the ways it can go. Will Henry’s protest of innocence ring true, or is something bigger at play here?
While all of this is going on Sophie wants to explore her Russian heritage more as she feels that questions have come up that she cannot make sense of. She speaks with her parents as well as taking a trip back to her past home in Russia to piece together the mystery that haunts her family. Will she find what she is looking for? Will Sophie get any closure in her life at this point?
This is an extremely well written book and the character of Sophie, as well as the other characters are presented excellently and we get a little bit of all of their stories without feeling like there is too much going on. Everything links together and the story told is great and moving. The writing style flows nicely and although there are many things happening for Sophie you never feel like it is too much to process, you are taken on her journey with her and it is gripping, exciting, happy, sad, tense and intriguing. It is a must read.
B - Goodreads
This is the story of Sophie, criminal barrister and night lawyer newspaper.
I really enjoyed following Sophie along with her work and social life, it was written well and I wanted to turn the page to find out more.
It was a fascinating read for anyone who loves an in-depth look at the British legal system. It was detailed and informative and taught me a lot about the failings of a justice system that we rely on and is something I will look deeper into. I studied law and I think that added to my enjoyed of this book as it looked more heavily at the system than some of the more mainstream books that tend to romanticise the field.
I also enjoyed the added element that Sophie was originally from Russia as it added to the narrative and taught me more about cultural differences I was unaware of.
I would love to see another book in this series.
Kerry-Louise Jones - Goodreads
Sophie Angel is a criminal barrister and one night a week she is a newspaper lawyer who tells them what they can and can’t print. When Sophie has to right the biggest case of her career those two worlds collide. She has a stalker who is closer than she can imagine which is very scary.
Ok so I went into this aware it was a thriller but didn’t expect to get so gripped so early on. You have different layers for the different parts of Sophie’s life. We have; her different jobs, her marriage and very importantly her past. Combining these into these into the core storyline is so important and yet to me it was done very well. I got annoyed with Sophie at times as I felt she could have stood up to her husband earlier on but she does develop and get stronger. I didn’t predict any of the twists which I thought was great but boy did I hate her husband straight away. Oh and I loved the pace in the book.
Novelle Novels - Goodreads
‘Night Lawyer’ is a riveting, complex legal drama which feature an intriguing central character and a believable plot. This was a fast-paced, memorable read with a satisfying ending.
In addition, Churchill has used this book to deftly describe the inadequacies of the British legal system in a way that is fair and sympathetic. The topic of rape, trial by media and the effect of trying the wrong person for a crime have been sensitively addressed.
In my view, this is a book that is well worth reading.
Jennifer Gottschalk - Goodreads
If you’re like me and you love a courtroom drama then The Night Lawyer is most definitely for you. There’s nothing better than being immersed in a good story and feeling like you’re viewing the trial from all angles and Alex Churchill does this absolutely brilliantly in her outstanding debut novel. The Night Lawyer ticks all the boxes for a thrilling courtroom drama and then ticks a few more boxes for luck.
Alex Churchill is on to a winner here as Sophie Angel is a superb character with more strands to her story than a plate of spaghetti. The daughter of a Russian father and English mother, Sophie spent her early childhood in Moscow before her family defected to the west. Sophie has nightmares about her childhood and there’s something about her Uncle Kiril that her parents aren’t telling her. A big tick goes in the family secrets box.
Sophie is a barrister in the prestigious Inner Temple and married to popular QC Theo Frazer so her life should be the envy of all of her peers, however, the couple are struggling to make ends meet and there are rumours that Theo is having an affair. Barrister by day and newspaper libel lawyer by night, Sophie has a lot on her plate without her personal problems. Let’s tick that box for a potentially cheating spouse and put an extra tick in the gossip box as Sophie hears whispers around court.
As the great comedian Frank Carson would say, ‘There’s more!’. A case from the past comes back to haunt her when a prisoner escapes from custody and is rumoured to be obsessed with Sophie. Sophie has to keep looking over her shoulder whilst also taking on a rape case at the request of the new newspaper owner’s wife. The court case that follows is absolutely sublime; I felt like I was judge, jury, defendant, victim, prosecutor and defence as well as viewing it all from the public gallery. This is one of those books that you can’t put down because you’re ‘in court’. A huge tick for realistic courtroom scenes that keep the reader entertained.
Aside from the magnificent story, it was great to get an insight into the workings and history of the British justice system. Although I already knew about the history behind the black robes, I did look up the gateway at the top of Inner Temple Lane and Fleet Street. I was amazed to read that the gateway is one of only a few surviving medieval buildings in London and that the rooms above it date back to the 17th Century when they were reputed to be used as council chambers of Charles I when he was Prince of Wales. I love books where I get a little something extra from them; little nuggets of interesting facts that send me off searching the internet for hours. That’s the exceptional box populated with a big fat tick.
The Night Lawyer is a stunning debut that transports the reader from the present day courtroom in London one minute to Sophie’s early childhood in Soviet Moscow the next. It says on the back cover that this is a Sophie Angel novel so I am crossing my fingers and toes that there are many more Sophie Angel novels to come. The Night Lawyer is absolutely outstanding and is a very highly recommended read.
Michelle Ryles - Goodreads
Meet Sophie Angel – Criminal Barrister by day and Night Lawyer for a newspaper by night.
I absolutely loved this book. A Courtroom thriller with much focus on the UK criminal justice system. I loved how the book delved into the budget cuts that effect the justice system today and the knock-on effects and the way much of the story is played out in the courtrooms of London.
We follow Sophie Angel as she takes on a high profile rape case, the strains her personal life and marriage to a popular top QC are under, especially admist the rumours of her husband’s affair, along with a dark secret from her childhood in Russia.
Brilliantly written. The insights into the courtroom scenes of the rape trial are interesting. I’ve always had a fascination for courtroom dramas and would love to undertake Jury Service!
There are many twists and turns throughout, with a gripping sub-plot towards the end.
Crime, drama, suspense, fascinating, informative. It’s all there. A great page turner. Definitely one to add to your must reads for 2020.
Claire - Goodreads