The Trials of Lila Dalton
by L. J. Shepherd
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Pub Date 1 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 6 Feb 2024
Pushkin Press, Pushkin Vertigo
An inventive and ambitious speculative courtroom thriller - Shutter Island meets The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
'I look up to find twelve strangers staring back at me... I realise I'm the one they're waiting for.'
Lila Dalton has no memory of how she got to this courtroom. The man in the docks is accused of mass murder, and she's his barrister - but she can't remember anything about the case. She can't remember anything at all.
Lila is stranded on an island hundreds of miles from the UK, where the most serious crimes go to trial. The next plane out doesn't leave for days.
And she's being watched. Someone keeps breaking into her hotel room to leave cryptic notes, threatening her with deadly consequences if she doesn't get her client off...
Can Lila Dalton win her case and solve the mystery of her own identity?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 26 members
It was an extremely weird novel, and not necessarily in a bad way. The plot is quite interesting, though quite political and I was not expecting that. It tackles some topics that I think can be rather triggering to a certain audience. It didn’t trigger me, but it was definitely an unique trajectory for a story. The main character is confusing (and confused) from the beginning, and it doesn’t really change throughout the story. The similarities with Shutter Island are for sure present; the ending especially reminded me of the movie. Reality and dreams are blurrier than ever in this novel. And, as a reader, you float in this alternative reality, this dreamlike substantiality. It may not be for everyone, but I would still recommend this novel to those who are not afraid to lose their grip on reality for a little while.
Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for a honest review.
***advance review copy received from NetGalley in return for an honest review***
It’s quite unusual to read a truly original story, but that’s what The Trials of Lila Dalton feels like. It’s got an opening that really grabs the reader and pulls them in, then the mystery and on-going thriller builds until the final reveal. I really enjoyed reading this, and highly recommend it to others.
A brilliant debut novel where Black Mirror meets Shutter Island, part courtroom psychological suspense thriller and part dystopian drama, I was completely immersed and engaged with this thought provoking and entertaining story.
The story starts with a woman opening her eyes and finding herself in a courtroom. She can’t remember a thing. Slowly, slowly she starts to piece together the fact that she is a barrister defending a young man - with right wing views - accused of bombing the Home Office and her name is Lila Dalton. She realises she is on an island where crimes committed by foreigners and terrorists are trialed. Lila finds herself stalked and threatened to get the accused or else her daughter will die…
There is so much to unpack here. I found Lila’s character to be believable. She’s vulnerable and frightened but tries to do her best to save her child. I felt like her actions were relatable in the circumstances and she was acted the way most normal people would. She’s not muscular or extraordinarily smart, but just a woman. I loved the setting of the story - the creepy, isolated island, and the conspiracy element of it was so unsettling and the way Nazism is merged with Occultism. I wish those elements were explored more and their answers to the Occult aspect of the story. Regardless I found this is a compelling read and was curious to how the story would tie up. There is a nice twist there and I liked the points and themes the author was trying to make. Shepherd does a brilliant job of merging a character-driven and thought provoking themes with a well-structured plot. It’s so pacy, such a pageturner. I loved this one.
Five stars from me!
An intriguing courtroom mystery! I picked this one up because of the interesting plot premise of a lawyer with amnesia and was eager to learn more. While a well worn trope, I just love books about characters with amnesia and feeling like you are learning alongside the main character and never know whether you can trust their recollections. This one was fun to read and offered up something a bit different. If you enjoy court room thrillers you will no doubt enjoy this one. There were some fun elements and reveals that I'd guessed early on but this didn't make it any less enjoyable. I found the writers style to be easy to read and fast-paced. I'll certainly be looking out for more by this author in the future.