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Publisher's Summary

She was found hanging in a dingy London bedsit with a blood orange in her mouth. Diane Heybridge, a young woman without a past or much of a future, has captured in death the compassion denied her in life.

For the prosecution, this seeming suicide is nothing more than a bungled killing and a disgusted public looks to Court 2 of the Old Bailey for justice. Her callous, jilted partner Brent Stainsby stands accused of her murder and he's turned to the maverick legal team William Benson and Tess de Vere to defend him.

However, as the trial unfolds it soon becomes clear that there is far more to Diane Heybridge than meets the eye. She wasn't the weak and downtrodden victim now being presented to the jury. She was capable of a sophisticated form of vengeance. By the same token, Brent Stainsby isn't who he seems to be either. He's hiding a motive for murder unknown to the police and may well be playing a deadly game of poker with the judicial process. What began as a simple trial rapidly turns into a complex search for the truth beyond the confines of the courtroom....

©2018 John Fairfax (P)2018 Little, Brown Book Group

Critic Reviews

"An all-action court drama." ( The Sunday Times on Summary Justice)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 04-05-18

I'm One of Benson's Advocates!

I got very excited last year when I read the first novel because Fairfax created a quite unique lead for his series in William Benson. He made it work that a convicted murderer could reach the pinnacle of legal advocacy in a credible way. He created a back story that held together while holding significant mystery of its own and surrounded him with workable characters. Finally he presented Benson with an excellent mystery that developed into cogent courtroom scenes. All the time the story asked new questions as it developed.

The only question was if the author could keep it going in a second book . . . the answer is yes, yes and thrice yes!

The author's background means that this courtroom drama simply radiates authenticity. That said, it's never over-burdened with jargon and never gets bogged down in process. The sparring between Benson as the defender and the prosecution is extremely well done with the scales tipping first one way and then the other with some very deft and subtle moves being played on both sides.

We also get more on Benson's quite intriguing back story. Was he really guilty of murder or not? What further hidden depths does this carefully drawn character have left to reveal? Both his and the case mystery are engrossing and of course, being Benson, the knives are always being sharpened against him from the outside.

This is a series that seems to be going largely under the radar in terms of publicity but I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who likes a good courtroom drama with strong characters. With Weyman's top quality narration this goes down as one of my favourite audio books of the year so far!

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Kaggy
  • 04-24-18

Enthralling and intelligent drama

Once again Benson, the maverick barrister with a murder conviction, is tasked with defending the indefensible and here he has a case where his client must surely be guilty by any stretch of the imagination. In the meantime Benson's colleagues are closing in on his past but at the same time unearthing more baffling co-incidences that only deepen the mystery of his crime. Poor Benson has enemies everywhere, from lofty places to murky depths but somehow the credibility of this story remains intact, and although the answer is out there, I am in no hurry for this very promising series to come to an end.

Roll on the release of the next book and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the very excellent Daniel Weyman will again do the narration.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 04-17-18

More riveting crime & courtroom drama

On the strength of how much I enjoyed the author’s first foray into this genre, Summary Justice, which had me rapt from start to finish, I immediately downloaded this recently published second book again featuring William Benson. He is a most interesting central character: a man convicted of murder by circumstantial evidence but who then transformed himself into a barrister of exceptional ability.

If anything the present book is even more engrossing but also more complex than its antecedent as there is delving into Benson’s troubled mind interwoven with several strands of narrative that switch back and forth to describe Benson’s experiences in prison; his court appearances defending an unsavoury character, Stainsby, accused of murdering his girlfriend; the efforts of Benson’s instructing solicitor, Tess, to find evidence that Benson is not guilty of the murder for which he was imprisoned; and a complicated web of undercover police activities. The latter appear in the last hour or so of the book and over which I needed to concentrate to keep track.

The truth of whether Benson did or did not commit murder still hangs in the balance but the book ends with a hint that there may be a clue to who committed the crime plus references to a new case, The Limehouse Murder, that Benson is being asked to defend, which I hope will appear as a new book in what so far are exceptionally engrossing books reminiscent of John Grisham at his best.

The narrator is again excellent.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Val Pope
  • 04-24-18

Brilliant

Second time out for Benson the ex-con turned barrister and what an excellent sequel to John Fairfax’s debut novel.
Tightly plotted; elegantly written and a cast of characters who are totally credible. Daniel Weyman’s narration is wonderful and my only regret is that we have to wait for Benson’s next case.
A superb new series. Read both of them, then read them again. And again. This author is up there with the crime-writing greats.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lemonypie
  • 04-21-18

Brilliant Series

I love this series - brilliant stories with great characters you feel you know and care about, and beautifully narrated - can't wait for the third

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sararara
  • 04-08-18

More please

Strong follow-up to last year’s Summary Justice, fleshing our the characters and dropping hints about new and as yet undisclosed secrets.
The prison scenes are a fascinating insight into confined living and the courtroom drama is gripping.
The main female characters are not as strongly drawn as the males (and their descriptions seem a little laboured and repetitious), but it’s a great story with excellent narration.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Lesley Paxman
  • 06-17-18

Goes on and on.....

Good plot but overly-detailed and with a very odd structure - a premature end then another hour and a half spent in explaining what really happened. I understand this will be made into a tv series and I think the medium will suit this book. It needs to be trimmed and constructed in a more logical fashion to do justice to the material. There is also
something missing which I think may be personality of the protagonist. He could do with a bit more colour.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Apts48
  • 04-26-18

Gripping and fast paced

What did you like most about Blind Defence?

The characters and story line

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is so good you can't stop listening.

Any additional comments?

Narrator is excellent and the series is great. I am keen for the next one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • polly lister
  • 04-22-18

Absorbing story and great characters

Had to indulge in this second book after racing through the first one, story line had me gripped from the first chapter and enjoyed the whole thing in less than 36 hours.
I look forward to the next in the series , only one remark... that Benson is allowed to develop as a character without having to be ‘the man of mystery’ that is to say that he and his amazing group of compadres are interesting in themselves And all this past guilt, mystery and conjecture could get a bit wearing unless it finally comes to light.... just a thought.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Vaan
  • 10-03-18

Great

Good follow up but dont keep it going too long. I need to know about Benson's case.