Book Review – Private Prosecution by Lisa Ellery

Andrew ‘Drew’ Deacon is a junior prosecutor with a bright future with the Western Australian Department of Public Prosecutions. After a chance meeting at the pub, he spends the night with Lily Consadine. The next morning, Lily still sleeping, Drew leaves behind a note with his phone number. Later in the day, Lily is found dead, Drew the prime suspect for her murder. Fortunately Drew can prove he is not the murderer which leaves the police at a loss to the identity of the murderer.

Drew liked Lily and wants justice for her so begins his own investigation. He comes quickly to suspect Lily’s brother-in-law, Godfrey, an influential and respected barrister. This is not a spoiler as Private Prosecution is not a whodunnit but rather a fast paced and gripping thriller as Drew tries to work out how and why Lily was murdered, and to gather the evidence to bring Godfrey to justice – not an easy or safe thing to do given Godfrey’s connections both within the police and legal world and the underworld.

The prose is unobtrusive and the story well-paced. Perth and the surrounding countryside are brought to life, the heat and light captured perfectly. The characterization is realistic with depth in every character. Drew, while at times impulsive and slightly immature, is a totally believable—likable, with a dry sense of humour which leavens some of the darker moments of the novel. The plot takes many, sometimes surprising, turns; there were points where I doubted that Drew could survive what he was pitted against.

Lisa Ellery’s knowledge of the Western Australian legal system adds depth and credibility to the story. She is a lawyer and former prosecutor. The novel leaves an unsettling sense that where corruption is the little person doesn’t stand a chance. If Drew had not had those connections, what hope would he have had?

Private Prosecution is a nail-biting page turner and, I hope, the start of series.

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