It has been a huge honour to be involved in the blogger blast for Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler, thank you so much to Alainna and Orion for asking me to take part, as well as allowing me to receive one of the very rare proofs of the book. Without further ado, here is my review:
When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.
Maria is on trial for attempted murder.
She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.
Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.
She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.
You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.
You will be wrong.
What does TWG think?
Er HELLO MIND FUNK!!! Gee whizz and all that jazz – the last two lines of the blurb are absolutely bang on. I read through ‘Degrees of Guilt’ feeling all smug with myself that I knew who did what, who would end up in trouble and so forth, but I could not have been more wrong if I tried.
Apologies for the incredibly vague review, but it is needed as I would hate to give anything about this book away to any of you!
Maria is on trial for the attempted murder of her husband. A man who has a large following. A man who is incredibly respected due to the work he does. So, why did Maria want him dead? Unfortunately, whilst there is two sides to every story, the fact that only one of those sides can be vocalised personally adds insult to injury. Pardon the pun.
Whilst Maria’s fate looks as though it has been sealed, Lottie (a person who is on the jury) is about to see her own future flash before her eyes. Why? Well, that would be telling but again, there are two sides to every story.
I throughly enjoyed every aspect of this book. It made such a nice change to have a storyline predominantly set in a courtroom instead of just dabbling in that setting for several chapters. At the start of this review I stated that this book was a mind funk, and I completely stand by that as it completely blew my mind from all different angles. Not only does the story focus on the accused, Maria, it also focuses on the actions of the jury both inside of the courtroom, and outside of it. People take things at face value in life. If they can see something, then they believe it. If they cannot see something with their own two eyes yet someone is adamant a situation or a feeling is happening, nobody believes it. Well, some might, but disbelief is what comes first. Physical abuse is just that; physical. You can see it. You can touch the outcome. Emotional abuse, again, is just that; emotional. You can’t physically see the scars. You can’t physically see someone’s life being torn about from the inside. However, why is it that, even though abuse is abuse in every sense of the word, people only believe it when it’s staring them in the face?
‘Degrees of Guilt’ has ‘abuse’ at its core and I’ll be totally honest, the theme of the book definitely gave me food for thought and made me look at things differently. Hell, and that’s even coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of both physical AND emotional abuse. No two situations are the same.
HS Chandler delivers suspense and intensity throughout this book like rockets. Every inch of the book was laced with psychological brilliance and jaw dropping situations – honestly, I’ve said it once and I’ll happily say it again – it blew my mind.
‘Degrees of Guilt’ is a brilliant, brilliant, novel which puts simple ideologies to the test and will have readers questioning every inch of their judgement. You may find that you read this book on the side of one of the characters, yet end the book being on the oppositions side.
I honestly cannot recommend this author, and this book, enough. A psychologically brilliant, highly atmospheric, and addictive read which left my jaw unhinged until the very last page.