I Know What I Saw – Imran Mahmood

I saw it. He smothered her, pressing his hands on her face. The police don’t believe me, they say it’s impossible – but I know what I saw.

Xander Shute – once a wealthy banker, now living on the streets – shelters for the night in an empty Mayfair flat. When he hears the occupants returning home, he scrambles to hide. Trapped in his hiding place, he hears the couple argue, and he soon finds himself witnessing a vicious murder.

But who was the dead woman, who the police later tell him can’t have been there? And why is the man Xander saw her with evading justice?

As Xander searches for answers, his memory of the crime comes under scrutiny, forcing him to confront his long-buried past and the stories he’s told about himself.

How much he is willing to risk to understand the brutal truth?

Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. He has been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country dealing in serious and complex criminal cases.

My Review:

I Know What I Saw is the eagerly awaiting second book by Imran Mahmood, the author of the incredible You Don’t Know Me, which, if you follow my blog, you will know was one of my favourite books of 2017.

Having met (stalked) Imran several times now he knows how much I adored and championed his debut novel and so I was very grateful to receive an ARC copy of book #2, which is being published on 10th June 2021.

I Know What I Saw is very different to his debut novel, however both books have one thing in common: a strong, powerful and fascinating narrator. With a complete change of scenery, I Know What I Saw is based in London and told through the eyes of Xander Shute, a homeless man who has been living off grid and on the streets for too many years, struggling with his personal demons and fractured memories of his past.

One night in the pouring rain, Xander finds an empty property with an open door and decides to seek refuge from the weather. This decision turns out to be the pivotal point in his life which brings everything he think he knows and saw crashing down around him.

Throughout the book the reader begins to learn Xander’s back story and why a young, successful and professional young man who studied Mathematics at Cambridge, earnt a fortune and had what appears to be the ideal life, turned his back on everything and everyone he knew and walked away onto the streets for years.

Xander’s voice is loud and strong throughout the book. His pain and confusion is heart-breaking and he’s determination to find out the truth no matter what, is inspirational. It’s easy to assume he is an unreliable narrator the more we read, especially when others are doubting his story and questioning his recollection of events.

I Know What I Saw is not a particularly fast-paced story, but a slow and well plotted characterised tale of facing up to the truth at any cost and one man’s battle with himself to finally find peace.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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