- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Piatkus (30 Aug. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074995728X
- ISBN-13: 978-0749957285
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 3 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Guilty One Paperback – 30 Aug 2012
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[a] moving, insightful debut . . . It's easy to see why this caused such a stir at Frankfurt last year. If it isn't this year's Before I Go To Sleep, I'll eat my laptop (The Guardian)
An absorbing psychological debut (Company (Top Pick))
It's one of the best debuts I've ever encountered (Shari Low The Daily Record)
Lisa Ballantyne has written a first novel that is both moving and suspenseful; richly detailed, yet with the eerie simplicity of a parable (Joyce Carol Oates)
This is an outstanding work of fiction, and the real crime would have been if the talent of Lisa Ballantyne had never been discovered (Daily Record)
Thought provoking, brave and challenging, this book is an unsettling and compulsive read (Rosamund Lupton, bestselling author of Sister and Afterwards)
Gripping stuff (More!)
It's a work of genuine substance about real human beings with real human flaws, in which nothing can be tied up neatly because life doesn't work like that. The Guilty One puts her firmly on the list of writers to watch (Irish Independant)
This is as assured debut novel that has 'bestseller' slapped all over it (Crimesquad.co.uk)
Fast-paced and emotionally charged, we were tearing through it well into the night. Keep a tissue handy - you'll be a wreck by the end (Emerald Street)
Gets better as you read it . . . a novel that grips . . . engrossing the reader who will want to find out what happens (Dulwich Book Reviews)
One of the most readable, emotionally intense novels of the year, and a debut one at that. Lisa Ballantyne pulls off the key writer's trick of getting us to care about the characters; by the end of the first chapter, you will be comprehensively on the hook (Richard from Richard and Judy's Book Club, Autumn 2012 Pick)
Wow! I finished this late yesterday afternoon at the beach...This is a really good legal thriller. I like the way the chapters alternated in time. This doesn't always work, sometimes confusing, but the author Lisa made it happen and did it very well (Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books)
I couldn't get this book out of my head. It kept me up all night and guessing the whole way through, I loved it (Jenny Colgan)
Ballantyne paints such vivid portraits of her characters that it is impossible not to sympathise with the tolerant and loving Minnie, and this psychological drama will keep you wondering right to the final chapter (Townsville Eye)
A mature, gripping book you'll be desperate to tell your friends about (Big Issue (Scotland))
On one level, Lisa Ballantyne's The Guilty One delivers riveting courtroom drama that is unflinchingly true to its characters. At another level, its personal story resonates with love, forgiveness and the possibility of redemption. The Guilty One will touch your heart even as it leaves you unsettled (Hallie Ephron, author of There Was an Old Woman)
The Guilty One beautifully blends both past and present in a novel that will keep readers interested (RT Book Reviews)
Deeply psychological and suspenseful, The Guilty One is both a legal thriller and a human story of love and redemption - and is already an international phenomenonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
cracking story raises some serious issues which really does leave you wondering is anything as it
The story revolves around Sebastian who is eleven years old who is accused of murdering little
Ben Stokes who is eight years old and their solicitor who is hired to defend Sebastian.
It is not hard to see why Sebastian behaves as he does his mother is seriously neurotic and his
father is largely absent from his young life spending more time in Hong Kong than in his family
Daniel is the solicitor who is hired to defend Sebastian - why does he empathise so much with
Sebastian - I do not want to give the plot away suffice to say I cannot recommend this highly enough -
it's one of the best debut novels I have read in ages well done.
I did think that the book had its flaws. At 450 pages it is too long. Lisa Ballantyne does a good job of creating the atmosphere of Daniel's childhood and of constructing his inner world but there is an awful lot of it and, as with the present-day story I found it dragged rather after a while, and toward the end as the trial becomes really gripping the flashbacks to Daniel's childhood which worked so well earlier become a serious intrusion. Ballantyne makes some good points about the law and the influence of the press on trials, but often through some terribly clunky dialogue and they could have been made more tellingly with a little more finesse. I also found that after I'd finished the book, I wasn't entirely convinced by the characters or the explanations of their actions, which somewhat undermined the publisher's claim that this is a "deeply psychological book" and the idea that it is a profound study of the nature of guilt.
Despite these reservations I thought this a pretty good book. I don't think it is as profound as it thinks it is, but overall is still recommendable as an often gripping and interesting read.
I recently read and enjoyed Alex Warwood's The Wicked Girls earlier this year which details the lives of two women who were convicted of child murder as young girls and Simon Lelic's The Child Who which also featured a solicitor and the effect the trial of a child murderer had on his life. However the story of Daniel's childhood in this book really does add a very special dimension to the story. Unusually for a book told in alternate times both stories were powerful and relevant.
This story is one which captures you from the first page with the theme of guilt running through each chapter. The characters are so wonderful, I wanted to meet Minnie, Daniel and Sebastian as they all became so real to me. This is a stunning book, I will be recommending it to all my book-loving friends.
Chapters alternate between Daniels distressing childhood and the case he is now involved with, defending an 11 year old boy named Sebastian, on trial for murdering 8 year old Ben. This is an absorbing book that is well worth your time. In my opinion, I wouldn't say that it is the most satisfactory of endings, but that is completely down to my own preference and shouldn't detract from an excellent debut from Lisa Ballantyne. Give it a try.
This was a very emotionally wrought book, and had me hooked right from the start. The book has a good pace, and changes back and forth from the current murder trial, to Daniel's childhood, and shows why he became a solicitor specialising in defending adolescents.
Although the murder case was well written, I actually found Daniels past chapters to be the more interesting. The traumas that he suffered were written very emotively, and really made an impression on me. His quest to find a happy home and to be loved, just outshone the cold stares and awkwardness of Sebastian and his trial.
The characters were extremely well written, and their actions completely believable, but the one person that really stood out for me was Minnie. She was a testament to the human spirit showing that no matter how many tragedies we have to endure, we are still capable of great love and selflessness.
This really was a gripping book that I would recommend. Some scenes were difficult to read and very emotional, but you will be glad you have read it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an occasional reader, who was dipping in and out of the book whenever I had time, I found the characters strong and believable enough to stay with me between sessions and the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nutmeg12
A new author for me & a quite brilliant one. For once, the changes in time were not at all confusing. If you like psychological mysteries, this is wonderful stuff.Published 7 months ago by chrisofthecoven
The novel traces the development of Daniel from an unloved tearaway to a loved teenager and adult. This is, however, only a small part of what turns into a compelling court drama,... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Deeds
A beautifully written book which narrates the past difficult life of Daniel and his present life as a lawyer defending an 11 year old. Would definitely recommend.Published 8 months ago by Hazel
I thought this was just an ok read. I felt the author was a bit naive in terms of the social worker and the foster carer. Read morePublished 10 months ago by kikijay
Well written. Very good read. Thoroughly enjoyed the story and the surprises . Would recommendPublished 11 months ago by margo b
I found initially it was a slow start, but after the first chapter, I had difficulty putting the book down, as I wanted to find out who did it, and why the disagreement. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tanya L