All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: You Had It Coming by B.M. Carroll

on September 29, 2021

You Had It Coming
B.M. Carroll
Viper
2021, 320p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: WOULD YOU SAVE THE MAN WHO DESTROYED YOUR LIFE?

When paramedic Megan Lowe is called to the scene of an attempted murder, all she can do is try to save the victim. But as the man is lifted onto a stretcher, she realises she knows him. She despises him. Why should she save his life when he destroyed hers?

Jess Foster is on her way home when she receives a text from Megan. Once best friends, the two women haven’t been close for years, not since the night when they were just the teenage girls whom no-one believed; whose reputations were ruined. All Jess can think is, you had it coming.

Now Megan and Jess are at the centre of a murder investigation. But what secrets are they hiding? Can they trust one another? And who really is the victim?

Perfect for fans of C.L. Taylor, Lucy Foley and Lisa Hall, You Had It Coming is a thrilling tale of suspense and dark secrets.

This was another book I added on a whim in my department store book haul. I’ve read Ber (aka B.M) Carroll before, many years ago and I’ve heard amazing things about the book she wrote before this one.

It starts off about the shooting of a defense lawyer William Newson and who might’ve wanted to kill a successful man. Was it connected to a previous case? His divorce? For the investigating officers, it means going back through what he had done, who he had represented and the outcomes and what they dig up provides more questions than it does answers.

But primarily, the book dives into a look at how sexual assault is defended in court, the outcomes, the difficulties in the investigations, and the fallout of such court cases. William Newson was a man who believed passionately in the law and that everyone was entitled to a fair and just trial – which is why he represented people who were accused of crimes. This book also showcases the way in which he chose to defend some of those people, particularly those accused of rape and sexual assault. Twisting the narrative, turning the accused into the victim and turning the accusers into liars.

William Newson saved reputations and ruined lives. In his quest for a fair trial, he didn’t seem to care what he said about the person who had experienced the crime. It’s something that comes up time and time again in a look at sexual assault – trial by media does it too. What was she wearing? Had she been drinking? Did she actually say no? Was she just embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to find out what she’d done? Did she regularly lie to her parents? Is she a known troublemaker? Is the boy/man accused from a good family and wealthy background? Are they a promising student? We’ve all seen it, read it, heard it before.

This book isn’t about that sort of trial, although flashbacks of it are included cleverly within the book. Instead, it’s more about the ‘after’ – what happens after the not-guilty verdict is returned? How do these women, who have stepped forward to make the accusations, cope? How does it affect their lives, their relationships, their friendships even? What is the fallout for their family as well (as we discover in this book, when the accused is from a rich and powerful family, the answer to that can be ‘significant’).

I really enjoyed the way this was told: from the viewpoints of Megan and Jess, two of the women who, as girls, had faced William Newson in a court room and came out on the losing side. It’s been ten years since then and life has taken them in very different directions and the shooting of Newson brings them back together. It also puts them and members of their family, or those closest to them, firmly in the frame as potential suspects. As well as the viewpoints of Megan and Jess, we also get the viewpoint of the investigating officer, Detective Sargeant Bridget Kennedy who balances her busy job with being a wife and mother of two teenagers. Bridget often feels pulled in different directions and experiences guilt when her job keeps her away from home for long hours, leaving husband Shane to pick up the slack. Sometimes, before chapters focusing on either Megan or Jess, we get quotes from the statements William Newson made during the trial, focusing on picking apart their claims or on discrediting them. It’s very effective, rather than including the whole trial.

I thought the characters were excellently portrayed here – there was a lot of complexity to them, not just the main characters but also the secondary characters as well. The families had interesting dynamics and in many ways you could see how many of them had been impacted by the result of the court case that Megan and Jess had been involved in. I also really appreciated the direction the story took towards the end. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I liked how much it made me think and reassess who could be a victim.

Clever and enjoyable and definitely one that would provoke a lot of conversation.

8/10

Book #163 of 2021

You Had It Coming is book #70 of The Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2021


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