The Child Who – Simon Lelic

Leo Curtice, an attorney in a town in southern England, is excited when asked to defend a 12-year-old boy accused of murdering an 11-year-old girl.  This is a career-making case.  The excitement is short lived however, as Leo experiences the fury of a public out for blood.  When his wife is spit on at the market and his daughter is attacked at school they beg him to give up the case.   Leo struggles to do the right thing. The child must be defended properly and Leo becomes empathetic to the disturbed boy.  He seems insensitive to the feelings of his family.   The tension builds when Leo receives notes threatening his daughter. 

This gripping story is told primarily from Leo’s conflicted mind.  Should he put the needs of his family before the needs of this damaged boy?  But does the boy need him more?  But the boy is a monster.  How can you defend a monster? His turmoil generates almost unbearable suspense.  I felt that one plot resolution wasn’t completely thought out, and a bit far-fetched, but overall this was a very good psychological thriller.  And for a time I will be chewing on the moral issues that were raised.

NetGalley Review    Publication date 2.28.12

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