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The first book I bought on my Kindle was Gillian McAllister’s debut novel, Everything But The Truth. It was an excellent five-star read which automatically made her one of my favourite authors.
I have now finished her third book, and my view has not changed. This is a gripping, absorbing, and memorable story – not to mention thought-provoking. It was actually so thought-provoking that this book was often on my mind even when I wasn’t reading!
The biggest strength of No Further Questions is in the narrative, and the various perspectives we see throughout the progress of the trial. The writing is terrific – you are made to feel not just Martha’s pain – but also the scale of the dilemma she feels and how torn she is, feeling pressure to select sides between the prosecution and the defence.
As a narrator, I found Martha very engaging, almost as though she is actively communicating the reader. She is a complex character, and the writing really gives a sense of just how many thoughts are running through her mind. This made it really easy for me to connect and empathise with her.
I did not feel quite the same way towards Becky, but at the same time she is a very well-drawn and relatable character. She feels very real, and that is largely down to her flaws, but all the time, the reader is being asked one question that underpins everything: Is she capable of murder?
I love the way that all the events described in the trial are relived from the point of view of the witnesses. It helps give them an identity and a roundness, and also made sure that there were not too many passages confined to the courtroom, which would have made it less interesting. I also liked the little bits that were told from the perspective of the judge.
The writing style is extremely good. The pace might be a little slow and perhaps even repetitive for some (and I must admit I felt some sections went on for longer than necessary), but for me this book feels like a really detailed case study, and as a reader I felt like I lived every moment of it. The attention to detail is impeccable.
As ever with Gillian McAllister, she captures the subject matter perfectly and with compassion, giving her characters an honest and genuine voice. There are a lot of great lines about the nature of a trial; the theatrical delivery of the barristers; how seemingly normal everyday things are presented as evidence either for or against Rebecca. The similes and metaphors are amazing, too.
So I mostly have very good things to say about this book. However, I found the final twist at the end to be a little underwhelming and a tad predictable. I also feel that although Martha’s conflicted state of mind is the driving force behind this book, some bits that were not directly related to the trial could have been written in a more concise way.
But overall, this is a fantastic blend of domestic thriller and courtroom drama. The multiple perspectives, the detail, the writing style that leaves the reader hanging on almost every word. The ending could have been more of a surprise, but as Martha notes at one point during the book, it is a compelling case.
Great plot. I figured out what happened very early on, but evidence used in the court scenes made it seem impossible that my theory was right. But with a little twist near the end my guess proved right.
I enjoyed the court scenes. Good book and worth a read.
I did enjoy this book, did find it a bit repetitive and everything regurgitated too many times. Perhaps more information would have helped. It shows that whatever happened the heartache is never going to stop.
Six of us met on Zoom to discuss No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister. We all quite enjoyed it despite the emotional and upsetting subject matter. We didn't like either of the sisters (or their husbands) and all guessed "whodunnit". We would read other courtroom dramas based on our experience of this one and it scored 7½/10.
This is my first book by Gillian McAllister and it certainly won’t be my last. It’s a massive roller coaster of emotions kind of book, with lots of deep seated jealously but, most of all, lots of love in a family completely split apart by a tragedy where there appears there is no way of coming back from.
The book is written from the point of view of different characters, including the Judge, which I found refreshing and I loved the name of his dog, Rumpole!
I just loved this and couldn’t put it down; my heart was in my mouth for the last quarter of the book and even though I had figured out, from very early on, what had actually happened, it was still a shock when all the pieces finally fit.
I recently came across this author and am so glad that I did. No Further Questions was my first book by her but will not be my last. I have already purchased "Anything You Do Say".
This book was emotionally compelling and involved courtroom drama that I LOVE in a book! What would you do if your child died while in the care of your very own sister?! How intriguing is that? The fall out of the family and the aftermath of the baby's death kept me turning the pages. Well written and fast paced. I cannot wait to read the next and see what this author comes up with in future books.
This is a book which follows the trial of a sister, looking after a niece of 8 months old who died while in her care. It traces the courtroom scenes and all witnesses. Was it cot death , was it murder, or an accident. The baby is a very screamy baby, who simply cannot be pacified most of the time. The mother is in Kos working for a charity, the father does not turn up, as planned, to look after the baby on the night of her death. You do not know the outcome until the very end. Gripping!
Quite an additive storyline. I wouldn’t say enjoyable as the details during the court case are quite upsetting. The book was well written, it did bring a tear to my eyes a few times. Worth reading but not for the faint hearted. It has a bittersweet ending with the act of forgiveness.
This was an excellent read but I would say, it's not a book to read if you are an emotional person, are feeling a little down or have young children, or older children for that matter. I was in tears at the end. The subject matter was always going to be hard, a baby dies, who did it? Little Layla lived on throughout the book, even though it opened with her death she was present in the storyline right until the end of the book. It upset me greatly.
Recommended for those who like suspense. Although tragedy is at the heart of this book, light and shade delicately balances you through the courtroom and their lives. Looking forward to reading another novel by Gillian!