Title – Cut-Throat Defence
Author – Olly Jarvis
Genre – Crime/Thriller/Mystery
Length – 292 Pages
Publication – 3rd October 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars
There is no man richer than a man without a price
Jack Kowalski is a young and newly qualified barrister, who finds himself working on the biggest drugs importation trial ever played out on English soil. With the assistance of his equally inexperienced instructing solicitor, Lara Panassai, Jack argues a savage ‘cut-throat’ defence – a risky tactic where the defendants blame each other – and quickly embroils some of the most eminent QCs in the land.
As the son of Polish immigrants, the sensitive Kowalski has always found it hard to fit in, with a sense of inferiority and constant nervousness in Court. Now he must face his demons and fight not only for his clients, but for his very future at the Bar.
But when the defendant then unexpectedly absconds, Jack and Lara must fight on regardless, following a tip that leads them out of the courtroom and into Manchester’s seedy underworld – crime bosses, strip clubs, corrupt lawyers and all manner of hidden sins.
As the case grows darker with each new discovery, who in this viper pit of deception can Jack and Lara trust?
Ingeniously plotted and embellished with real-life insider expertise, Cut-Throat Defence is a story of rivalry, ruthlessness and – above all – survival.
It doesn’t happen often that I pick up a book to read without even knowing the subject matter..that’s exactly what I did with this one. After reading Olly’s debut Death By Dangerous I already knew I’d love this one… what I didn’t expect was how much I’d love it
Jack is a newly qualified barrister and a nervous one at that..after some poor performances in the court room he knows his days are numbered. Luckily for him he stumbles into a case that will change his life forever.
Two things stood out for me. Firstly the authors own expertise shines through. The book flows so easily. I’m no expert in law but Olly Jarvis explains the finer details so any layperson can understand what is happening in court. It’s a fascinating insight into this world many of us will never have knowledge of.
Secondly I loved how easily the author managed to juggle multiple storylines without any confusion for myself as a reader..everything was clear and wonderfully written
If you’ve read any of my reviews before you’ll know I’m a big fan of easy flowing books and this is top notch. Short sharp informative chapters that keep you engaged
Character development is a big thing a like to see also and Olly has once again delivered. I couldn’t fault it. Every character played their part and those who mattered felt complete..like I could really imagine the type of person they are and what they were going through, their feelings and motivations
Olly Jarvis manages to change the mood of the book effortlessly. Moving from the court room to some quite emotional scenes adding shock factor to the tale
Overall I highly anticipated read that delivered the goods and more. Excellent plot and superbly written. Olly Jarvis clearly has a talent for writing and his background as a barrister just adds to how well his tales are written
If you’ve never read a court procedural type of book I highly recommend this one. It’s got a great mix of inside and outside court action to keep you entertained
I loved Olly’s first book but you can see clearly how much more confident as a writer he has become. This tale felt more complex.. the plot had more going on.. and it was gloriously brilliant.
My thanks go EDPR and Olly for the chance to read/review the book
I’m very grateful the Olly has also agreed to answer some questions for me. If you enjoyed this book you’ll like the answer to question 10 especially!!
Q1 – When did you decide to become a writer and what influenced you to put pen to paper?
I’ve always wanted to write crime fiction, but never had the time. Every working day I see a new story – defendants, witnesses, victims – extraordinary circumstances playing out. You see the very best and worst of people. After defending a particularly difficult case a few years ago, involving multiple deaths, I took some time off to think about where I was headed. I decided that if I was ever going to write a book, it was now or never. Fortunately, I decided on the former.
Q2 – With your background you’re able to bring an interesting and fresh touch to your stories. Death by Dangerous your debut was a fascinating read. For those who’ve not read it yet could you let them know a little about what they can expect if they buy a copy?
Following a fatal car accident, a successful barrister wakes up in hospital with no memory of the crash. He is held responsible and is put on trial. His career and personal life quickly unravel. It’s about prejudice, survival, finding out who your friends are, what really matters in life, and second chances.
Q3 – Your 2nd book is called Cut-Throat Defence, can you tell us a little about the book?
Newly qualified barrister, Jack Kowalski is full of insecurities and has a crippling fear of the courtroom. Way out of his depth, he gets caught up in a high profile trial, defending an alleged drug trafficker. With his equally inexperienced solicitor colleague, Lara Pannassai, he is pulled along on a life changing and demanding journey. It’s about coming of age as a lawyer in Manchester and doing what is right.
Q4 – Did you find the process of writing your second book easier than the first?
Yes and no. I wrote a very loose draft of Cut-throat Defence some time ago, then went back to it using what I’d learned from Death By Dangerous. I hope I made the story tighter and more compelling. Technically, I think I’ve improved and I definitely use my writing time more efficiently but both books were an agonising labour of love!
Q5 – With your background as a barrister is it hard to separate your stories from real life events or are your tales fully fiction?
The law and the way things happen out in court are authentic in my novels – that was a promise I made to myself when I began writing. The characters and plots are fictitious, but of course my experiences defending in hundreds of trials over the years inevitably find their way into the storylines in different guises.
Q6 – Who has been your biggest influences/support within the writing community?
Influences – John Grisham. I wanted to bring that American style of fast-paced, plot driven writing to the British legal thriller.
Support – Book bloggers, yourself included. Death By Dangerous was published from a standing start. I had no real understanding of social media and only about ten followers on twitter. Book reviewers online have an open mind. They will give unknown writers a chance – if the story is good enough. I’m convinced that it was the great write-ups from bloggers that made the book fly.
Q7 – Are there any books/authors you’re looking forward to reading yourself?
Yes, I keep hearing good things about Matt Brolly’s DCI Lambert series.
Q8 – How important is feedback from your readers?
It’s everything and of course the social media revolution has found a new way to connect reader and writer. There’s no better way to start the day than seeing a tweet from a stranger who loved the book.
Q9 – A good cover can make me buy any book, yours a particularly eye catching. Did you have much say in the design for Cut-Throat Defence?
The cover was down to the fantastic team at Canelo. They’ve managed to capture not only the essence of the novel, but of Manchester. The first time I met with my publishers they said to me ‘the thing we argue about more than anything els, is covers”!
Q10 – Plans for 2017? Another book planned I hope J
Yes. The sequel to Cut-throat Defence, The Unconvicted, also published by Canelo, will be out next year.
Cut-Throat Defence is published by Canelo, price £3.99 as an ebook.