“The truth won't always set you free” proclaims the cover of Given in Evidence by Jonathan Davies and you know you are in for a dose of realism as you enter the folds of this intriguing first novel.
This is a story about drug trafficking and a trial which enters into the personal life of the prosecution barrister Jeremy Scott.
In the most unexpected ways, apparently unconnected events merge into the trial of a drug courier from Pakistan that eventually explodes into a gripping climax.
Jonathan Davies' keen and sparse observations of the various characters whose paths cross enable the reader to visualise who they are without being held back by wordy descriptions. And it is the novel's pace that contributes in part to its success.
Knowing your subject is a great advantage and Davies is able to portray criminal and legal minds as well as describe deviant personality in such a way that you can touch your characters.
You understand what happens to them – the writer is the expert and you enter his world. Sometimes familiarity with a subject can be off-putting and its reproduction annoying but this has no ersatz feel, it is recognition.
There must be further stories that Jeremy Scott can lead us to and as he leaves us near the end of Given in Evidence we must guess he feels betrayed and unfulfilled but we can only care where his next case takes him.