Cover Image: The Choice

The Choice

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Member Reviews

The Choice (400 pages) is the debut novel by author, SJ Ford. I was drawn in to selecting this book by the interesting premise described as a gripping and addictive crime thriller with a moral and thought-provoking twist. The book tells the story of a horrific crime and asks the question; is murder ever justified? The book is told across multiple points of view so we get to see the impact of the crime on various individuals who have. The first half of the book deals with the immediate aftermath of the incident, while the second half shows the court case and trial. 

While I liked the idea of this novel, I found that the slow-pace and limited action to be a bit of a let down. While I wasn’t expecting an action-packed novel, it felt like very little happened overall in this book. This story instead is one of human nature, of how trauma impacts relationships, communities and individuals. 

I struggled at times with the pacing and found myself having to push though some areas but I was invested and wanted to know the outcome if only to see if it would be in line with what I wanted to see happen. I found the large cast of characters difficult to keep track of initially and found some characters not very interesting or adding much to the overall story. I think it would have been better to have focused instead on a few well developed and in-depth character arcs.  

Despite this it was easy to read, the concept interesting and did make me question and think about the characters and feel invested in the outcome for the main character. Overall, it was an interesting, unique-style of crime story with some noteworthy characters and it had a satisfying ending. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Wow, this book had me gripped from start to finish. As a mother myself I felt for Jane. Liked how the story was told from several of the characters perspectives and had a few surprises that I wasn’t expecting.  Look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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I am afraid I struggled with this book. I liked the sound of it, but did not enjoy reading it. Hopefully others will enjoy it more.
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I found this to be an enjoyable and gripping read that engaged me all the way through. the writing style was simple but good with well developed characters and a good storyline that kept me compelled all the way through. .It was unpredictable and twisty and I couldnt out it down, I really enjoyed it.
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A book with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.    The main characters are very easy to understand due to the writing style, which allows you to become involved in each ones motives and feelings throughout.  A good read.
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A book with a few twists and turns along the way to keep the reader gripped.  The main characters are very easy to understand due to the writing style, which allows you to become engrossed in each ones personal motives and feelings throughout.  I felt the story dragged on slightly in the middle as started to get predictable and less engaging.  Overall this was an enjoyable read.
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This wasn't what I was expecting and I'm not sure I'd class it as any part of the thriller genre which is my usual jam! However, I really enjoyed it! The book is told from quite a few perspectives going through it all but the characters all have string, unique voices so it never gets confusing even though the narrative jumps around a lot. The characters are well written and more importantly, they're so relatable which makes them all the clearer to visualise. There aren't many twists, but the book keeps up a good pace and I raced through it in an evening. Whether it's just quite a short book or I was just too keen to get to the end is anyones guess. Yes there could have been more action or more suspense but I picked that it didn't have a load of drama and completely out there scenarios added in just for the sake of it. It is exactly what it states, the dilemma faced by the main character and her journey through court with the decision she made! I found it to be quite a humanising and humbling read and it does leave you wondering, what would I do?! What is right vs what is just?! The final page really was just the cherry on top.
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I really enjoyed this book, once I started it I was completely hooked until it was finished. Loved the way it was told from so many view points. Definitely recommend reading
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2.5 stars
The storyline intrigued me. The blurb suggested I’d be a juror and perhaps conflicted by some Kafkaesque moral dilemma. I desperately wanted to like this, but the reality was rather anti-climactic. By the end, I felt hollow.   

The lack of foreshadowing or early backstory of the antagonist meant the book missed some suspense, conflict, and tension; a lot was laid bare very quickly. The balance between narrative, dialogue, and action could have been better. Too many chapter breaks (80 chapters) disrupted the flow. The ‘I’ person narrative was sometimes unclear and flipped too often between characters. This felt like a very ‘British’ novel in terms of character and setting, so why so many Americanisms? 

I read this in less than a day. There were flashes of brilliance, but as a whole, it lacks complexity. I honestly believe this had the potential to be a ‘killer’ story, but the ending was never really in any doubt, and it felt a more ‘mechanical’ act than an ‘I couldn’t put it down’ read. 

Sorry that I couldn’t offer a more positive review. My thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The concept of this book is interesting - could a crime be forgiven if the positive in committing it outweighed the negative? However there are a number of flaws - firstly the writing. It is commented in the "about the author" section that she loves words. However she uses words to the detriment of the story - many long, pretentious, convoluted sentences and paragraphs when a far more straightforward sentence or paragraph would move the story forward. As a result, after the first few chapters, I skim-read, missing out all the superfluous waffle, of which there was so much.  The second problem - and I am sorry for the spoilers here - is the story.  Everyone (except, inexplicably, for the sake of the story, the CPS) agreed that the end justified the means and she was not guilty of murder.  There was no surprise, no "big reveal", not even a little twist to make you question your support for her (if you cared enough to support her).  I kept hoping for something to make me think, to question, to make it worth having read it but it never came. I love a courtroom drama, which is why I persevered until the end (and having done so, gave it two stars instead of one) but I am sorry to say this I didn't enjoy this book and wouldn't read others by the same author.
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What an absolute page turner of a book.
This is an utterly fantastic read.
Is murder ever right????....Even to save a school full of children??

Follow the stories of the husband, the lawyer, the journalist and the perpetrator as they navigate the court case of the century.

Is Jane the hero or the villain??

A fabulous book that I would highly kept me going until the last page. 
Definitely a 5 star read.
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This was a really interesting concept for a novel. The protagonist Jane runs down her neighbour in her car, a completely intentional act intended to cause maximum damage. However it transpires that the neighbour was intending to carry out a terrorist attack at her children's local school and Jane had exhausted all avenues trying to alert the authorities to him. When that didn't work Jane took matters into her own hands with deadly consequences.

The novel is told from multiple perspectives, Jane, her husband, the police officer investigating the crime, a journalist and Jane's lawyer. This works really well and allows the reader a chance to see the crime from different perspectives.

My only real criticism of the book is that it lacked a little bit of depth. I felt like I raced through the book which isn't a criticism per se, however it was mainly narrative without really delving too deep into what had the potential to be a really promising thriller.

I would recommend this book as a decent thriller with a unique storyline which I have never come across before. If you are looking for a quick read to pass an afternoon then this is the book for you. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zues-Aries for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Rating:  1.4/5

I was very taken with the premise for this novel.  Jane Bell is responsible for killing a man who was planning to blow up a primary school, which could have caused the deaths of hundreds of children.  Now the legal system must decide whether she was right to take this course of action.  Should she be lauded or convicted?  It is just the kind of classic moral dilemma that should set the scene for a gripping and enthralling read!  Well, it should - but sadly, it doesn't.

The potential for "The Choice" to be something very good was wasted.  Instead it was far more often reminiscent of the screenplay for a cheesy American drama.  (Not helped by the fact that a good number of Americanisms drop into the narrative along the way too.)  There are too many sections that are over the top and feature contrived and unconvincing emotional self-analysis.  The narrative is presented from the viewpoints of several key characters.  The author employs seven different points of view during the course of the novel, which I felt was overdoing it.  I never felt particularly emotionally invested in any of them.  I often found myself questioning the authenticity of the text being attributed to the various protagonists.  Too often it felt like they were simply the mouthpiece for the writer's own beliefs and it tended to come across as preachy and sanctimonious.

Nor was I particularly enamoured with the style of writing.  While there are, admittedly, some creditworthy sections, I became both bored and irritated by descriptive language and metaphors that were repeatedly overplayed.  I got the sense that the author felt obliged to incorporate every single learning from a recently attended creative writing course at each available opportunity.  There are times when less is more.  It felt like the writer was trying too hard. The resulting prose appeared forced and unnatural and, instead of helping to paint a mental picture, it grated and made me want to roll my eyes and scream, "Please, no, not again!".

By the time I reached the end I had long since lost any feeling of being gripped.  I felt no sense of jeopardy - I was past caring.  The basis of this story has the potential to be something captivating and thought-provoking, but it would need some rigorous editing and rewriting.

As ever, I would still like to convey my thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for supplying an ARC in return for an honest review. It is a pity I was not in a position to pass more favourable comment on this occasion.
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Told from multiple perspectives, including the clever means of a letter from the perpetrator, this is a fascinating exploration of what is legal versus what is morally right.  To the very last page, this is a question the reader must contemplate - what is right and what would you be prepared to do in the name of that rightness?  Well written, moving without being effusive, this is a thought provoking and entertaining book.
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