The Trial

Dark Urban Scottish Crime Story

Fiction - Mystery - Legal
503 Pages
Reviewed on 02/22/2018
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Author Biography

John Mayer was born in Glasgow, Scotland, a war-zone where violence and poverty reigned. In 1963 when he heard The Beatles on Radio Caroline, he decided to change his life. Aged 14 he left school because, in his opinion, he wasn't being taught. For the next year, he cycled to and from the Mitchell Library in Glasgow where he began to understand what more the world had to offer. In the early 1970s his love of music led him to set up as a Record Producer. He built his own record company trading in 14 countries. After a disheartening court battle with global giants, he left the business world and went back into further education at the University of Edinburgh, becoming an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland. There he acted for the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialism was in fighting international child abduction.

John has written non-fiction, legal texts and articles; broadcast to tens of millions of people on US and UK radio, appeared on TV and in print media. Since retiring from the Law, John has enjoyed using his years of very colourful experience to create The Parliament House Books series.
The Trial is the first full length novel in this series. Set in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is more than a nod to Franz Kafka's book of the same title. The Trial sees crusading Scottish Advocate, Brogan McLane, fight injustices so casually delivered by Low Life in High Places in the Old Town.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

The Trial by John Mayer is the story of a local boy growing up in a poor area of Glasgow, who makes good and is now a member of the Faculty of Advocates in the Scottish Law Courts in Edinburgh. He is still in close contact with many of his former friends, who are most definitely on the opposite side of the law. This makes Brogan McLane an outsider among his colleagues, he has a foot in both camps. When a much-hated judge is found murdered after a transvestite party with underage boys held in his house, the legal fraternity decides to blame McLane for the murder and fabricate the flimsiest of evidence against him. In a trial where the judge is so obviously biased, the hero stands little chance, despite the best efforts of his former friends to gather evidence to support his innocence.

It is obvious that the writer has extensive knowledge of the law and of Parliament House where justice is dispensed and I have to bow to the writer’s expertise in legal knowledge. The ‘old school tie’ brigade is alive and well, and they protect each other at all costs, and if it had not been for Commander Terry Imrie and Jimmy bending the law for the right reasons the outcome would have been very different. I warmed to the policeman more than McLane and I would like to have learned more about his wife, who appeared to be a very nervous character.

This is a book that needs to be read slowly, as there are numerous characters and it would be easy to get them confused. There are several moments when you think that a new piece of evidence will save the hero, but then it is immediately refuted, and that was well written. I also enjoyed the photographs of the Edinburgh Parliament, although maybe these would be better placed either at the beginning or the end of the book. The Scottish dialects were a little difficult to decipher and may be a problem for overseas readers. However, a very interesting tale which opened the doors on the Scottish legal system and the way it is run.