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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.