All I Said Was True – Imran Mahmood

I didn’t kill her. Trust me…

When Amy Blahn died on a London rooftop, Layla Mahoney was there. Layla was holding her. But all she can say when she’s arrested is that ‘It was Michael. Find Michael and you’ll find out everything you need to know.’

The problem is, the police can’t find him – they aren’t even sure he exists.

Layla knows she only has forty-eight hours to convince the police that bringing in the man she knows only as ‘Michael’ will clear her name and reveal a dangerous game affecting not just Amy and Layla, but her husband Russell and countless others.

But as the detectives begin to uncover the whole truth about what happened to Amy, Layla will soon have to decide: how much of that truth can she really risk being exposed?

Book Info: Page Length: 313 pages. Publisher: Raven Books. Publication Date: 1 July 2022

Imran Mahmood is a practicing barrister with almost 30 years’ experience fighting cases in court. He hails from Liverpool but now lives in London with his wife and daughters. His debut novel You Don’t Know Me was chosen by Simon Mayo as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice and longlisted for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and for the CWA Gold Dagger, and has now been adapted into a four part drama series for the BBC. He is also the author of I Know What I Saw. When not in court or writing novels he can sometimes be found on the Red Hot Chilli Writers’ podcast as one of the regular contributors.

My Review:

All I Said Was True is Imran’s third standalone novel and possibly his most complex to date. If you haven’t read any of Imran’s books before (or watched the brilliant BBC adaptation of You Don’t Know Me), then let me introduce you to the KING of UNRELIABLE NARRATORS.

At the start of the story Layla Mahoney is on her husband’s office rooftop cradling a dead woman. There are no other witnesses or suspects and she won’t tell the police what happened. All she says is that “It was Michael”, but who is Michael and why won’t she tell the police the truth?

The book then begins to slowly take us back to the beginning with Layla narrating her version of events which should lead us to who really killed Amy and why. I use the word slowly, and that’s because this is a real slow-burner of a thriller. There is no doubt that Imran has a skill of getting under his characters skin and bringing them to life with all their faults and weaknesses, and Layla has so many layers to her flawed character.

I’m not going to lie here, but at times I wanted to slap her (several times in the head with a chair) and ask her to just tell me what the hell happened on the roof? Did I believe her? Was she truly a victim here or just a very clever master manipulator? Well obviously I’m not going to tell YOU.. you need to read the book to find out.

I do, however think that this book should come with a free neck brace, because I think I suffered from literary whiplash trying to work out what/who/why from the opening page to the end. Another clever, slow-burning, character driven legal thriller from my mate and fellow Pizza lover Imran Mahmood.

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