Publication: 16th May 2019 (eBook); 5th September 2019 (paperback)- Trapeze
When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.
Maria is on trial for attempted murder.
She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.
Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.
She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.
You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.
You will be wrong.
It’s my pleasure to welcome you on my stop of the blog tour for DEGREES OF GUILT, the superb new novel by H. S. Chandler. A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Trapeze for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.
What I know about jury duty comes from watching American Tv shows and I’ve always found it interesting. Twelve people who decide the fate of one person, who decide if that person is going to walk out free or if they are going to spend the rest of their life in a prison cell. How do you know if you made the right decision? In DEGREES OF GUILT, there is no question whether the defendant, Maria, is guilty or not as she admits right away that she used her husband’s head for baseball practice. No, what’s in question here is: why did she do it? What led her, one afternoon, to pick up a leg chair and swing it to her husband’s head?
And while Maria’s future is in doubt, another woman questions her life choices and wonders about her own future. Charlotte, “Lottie”, is a wife, a mother, and a bored housewife. At the beginning she was reluctant, but then she finds jury duty exciting (and not only because of the attention of a handsome man). This is her chance to be part of something big, something important. Lottie is tired of spending all her time cooking, cleaning, and playing the happy and obedient wife at her husband’s events. Will she risk everything in exchange for a thrill and some purpose in her life?
H. S. Chandler knows how to keep the reader on edge and glued to the pages. There are two women. One is a killer, but is she also a victim? Maria’s story is heart-breaking and thought-provoking. It shows that there is always more than one side to a story, but which side is telling the truth? At times, she seems cold-blooded, showing no emotions or regret, but there are other layers under the impassive facade of Maria that are slowly unpeeled. On the other hand, Lottie, has so many feelings. She is looking for excitement, but she feels guilty. She worries about what other people think of her, but she is not afraid to speak up. And, like Maria, she has her own secrets to hide. Those two woman are far from perfect? Sure. Sometimes their behaviour annoyed me? Yep. And then the author did a great job developing them and giving them the determination and courage of standing up to the men who tried to put them down and finally taking their own lived into their own hands.
DEGREES OF GUILT is a compelling, gripping, character-driven novel about control and abuse, full of tension and twists. Looking for a brilliant legal thriller? Then this should be at the top of your list…
A former barrister, HS Chandler is a pseudonym for bestselling crime author Helen Fields, who practised for thirteen years in both family and criminal law. Having extensively prosecuted and defended, she is an avid believer in the right to a fair trial, and in the invaluable role that juries play in the British legal system. Helen was born in Hampshire and now lives in the US.