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The Guilty One Paperback – 30 Aug 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 270 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

Product Description

Review

[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)

Book Description

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 phenomenon

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Top Customer Reviews

By Mrs. C. Swarfield TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was hooked from page one, this is an outstandingly easy to read well written book that as well as being a
cracking story raises some serious issues which really does leave you wondering is anything as it
really seems.

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
home.

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.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thought this was a generally well-written, readable and thoughtful book. It cuts between the stories of Daniel, a solicitor defending an 11-year-old accused of murdering a playmate and of Daniel's own troubled childhood which lends him empathy with the accused boy. There are many good things about it: the prose is readable, the structure which cuts between the present and Daniel's past works extremely well for much of the book and the courtroom scenes are convincing and very gripping.

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.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lisa Ballantyne deserves to have sold her debut novel around the world as this is something special. The Guilty One focuses on a young boy, Sebastian, who is being questioned about the murder of a younger boy, Ben. Daniel Hunter is the solicitor bought in to defend him. The story is just as much about Daniel as Sebastian. We meet Daniel as a young boy being taken to a small village to meet his latest foster mother Minnie. In the present day it is clear that something happened to make Daniel cut her out of his life but what did she do that caused him so much pain.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I recall reading a glowing review of this book in the Guardian many, many months ago. I consequently asked one of my family to buy me it for Christmas, as I was struggling for anything else to come up with. (I'm sure we've all been there!) Anyway.... It had been sitting on one of our bookshelves for over ten months when I decided to give it try. I have to admit that it is rare for me to find any book so engrossing that I will carry it around to try and catch a few pages when the opportunity arises. This did.

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.
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By Kirsty VINE VOICE on 7 July 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A very compelling book that details a child's murder trial, and the past of the solicitor representing the accused child.

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.
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