Rachel’s Random Resources has organised this amazing blog tour for Abi Silver‘s latest legal thriller, The Cinderella Plan. The plot of this book seemed so unique that I immediately signed up to be a host.
Legal thrillers are not something I am overly fond of but I am pleased with myself for deciding to review this one.
The author’s Burton and Lamb series, in which the same team of two lawyers solve different cases was heretofore unknown to me. I read the synopsis of the first two books on Goodreads, ‘The Pinocchio Brief‘ and ‘The Alladin Trial‘. They sound extremely interesting. I might buy these books later (if only books didn’t cost money!), especially the 2nd one. That has captivated my attention.
Humor me here. What do you think about the Robot Apocalypse?
Do you think there is a possibility of Artificial Intelligence taking over humanity?
I sure do. I have nightmares about it sometimes. And things do not end well in those dreams!!
That might be one of the bigger reasons why I was attracted to the plot of ‘The Cinderella Plan‘.
59 years and 3 months old James Salisbury is the CEO of of SEDA, acronym for Self Drive Autonomy, a UK based company that has been building and perfecting Autonomous or Self Drive cars.
I will be honest with you. Self Drive Cars give me the creeps. I do NOT want to get inside a thinking, talking car that doles out smug advice. The idea of a car which drives itself is exciting. Definitely. But it is not for me.
Imagine getting inside Lightning McQueen. He will probably keep taking digs at you for being a terrible driver. Eeeks!
James has dedicated decades of his life to making the Autonomous cars of his company mainstream. He dreams of a world where everyone will be using a self driving car. James wants to revolutionize the experience of travelling.
A true visionary, James has left no stone unturned to convince people that self drive cars are the need of the hour. And he truly believes it, not just because he wants to earn money. Of course, James wants to be rich. Who doesn’t? (I’d like to be rich and stay in a house which has more books than brick and mortar). But James is convinced that more autonomous vehicles on the road would lead to less accident cases.
Until his own autonomous car crashes into a mother of three, Therese Layton, gravely injuring her and killing her two little children, Georgia and Bertie.
Have you noticed that unless you take the names of the victims, it seems like just another unfortunate incident that you can eventually ignore. But as soon as you give names to those unknown faces it becomes too real to turn away from.
The accident happened just before the government was about to pass a bill which would finally put his cars on the market.
James survived the accident , with a concussion, broken ribs and a dilemma that will turn his whole life upside down.
Who was responsible for the accident, the car that can supposedly think for itself or the man who was in the driver’s seat but was not driving it?
What is the better option for James? If the court finds him guilty then not only would he be going to jail for 15 years but would also have to live with the burden of killing two innocent children. Not only he but his wife Martine and two sons would suffer too.
But if the responsibility shifts to his car then the credibility of his company will be in the firing range. James might stand to lose everything he has worked hard for all these years.
Common sense might dictate that he should try to save himself and blame his car. There’s an Urdu saying you would often hear, here in India
“Jaan bachi toh Lakho Paye“
Which means that if your life is saved then it is equivalent to gaining a fortune of millions. Which obviously makes a lot of sense but put yourself in Jame’s shoes for a minute.
Imagine you have spent decades of your life slogging away to achieve your passion, for years you had a single dream which you believed in with such intensity that it became the sole purpose of your life. Suddenly, you are flung into a situation where if you try to save your life then this dream might be broken forever. Would you be able to make a choice?
James has become a pariah. He is being viewed as a murderer. His case is not one that lawyers would want to touch. Considering that the client himself is not sure if he wants to be saved.
Judith Burton and Constance Lamb team up to defend James Salisbury but that is much easier said than done.
All the Bookish Feelings
Isn’t this an amazingly unique plot?! The conundrum presented in ‘The Cinderella Plan” just jumps out at you and shoves itself in your face, daring you to pick a side. Author Abi Silver’s latest offering in the Burton and Lamb series addresses a few extremely potent issues through its capable story-telling-
- In a world of rapidly increasing technological dependence, how are we to determine how much is too much?
- Human tendency to assign blame and the need to do it with a fierce venegeance just so we do not have to feel helpless.
- Our incapability to accept that sometimes it might not be anyone’s fault. Maybe everyone did something wrong or maybe no one did anything wrong. It is terrifying to accept that fate might have a stronger hold on us than we think.
Another feature of this book that impressed itself upon me is the teaming up of two completely different characters of Judith Burton and Constance Lamb. Judith and Constance are the kind of characters that if you were to meet them individually, you would be convinced that these two would never have anything to do with each other.
The disparity between their ages, personalities and life perception would make it almost impossible, but they do work perfectly like a well oiled machine. Not that they always agree with each other. But Judith and Constance seem to have a silent understanding to play to their individual strengths and create a compatible structure of working together.
This interesting pairing of two completely diverse characters makes me curious to know how Abi Silver made them come together in the first place. Another reason for me to check out the previous two books of the Burton and Lamb series.
I would like to shake author Abi Silver’s hand for conceptualizing and creating these characters and then making them complement each other, never compromising on the emphasis on their individualities. That truly makes the legal procedure depicted in ‘The Cinderella Plan‘ shine through.
The author does not write this legal thriller only as the knowledgeable lawyer that she is but also as an author who understands that sometimes courtroom dramas might overwhelm the readers with their technicalities. She delicately balances the legal nature of the plot with the exploration of human sensibilities.
The mystery itself is excellent and even though I got a pretty good idea of who might be the actual culprit halfway in(I don’t know if ‘culprit’ is the right word though, not everything is black and white. That would have made life easier though, wouldn’t it?) but I enjoyed the story from start to finish. And that is because of the deft unfolding of the plot and the shifting focus on all those who were affected by the accident and the characters of Burton and Lamb themselves.
Fans of legal thrillers would find ‘The Cinderella Plan‘ stimulating. I did too, even though legal thrillers are not what I usually prefer to read. And if you haven’t been following this series, then be sure to check the other books. They are all stand alones, so you don’t need to worry about reading them in sequence.
“When James Salisbury, the owner of a British car manufacturer, ploughs his ‘self-drive’ car into a young family, the consequences are deadly. Will the car’s ‘black box’ reveal what really happened or will the industry, poised to launch these products to an eager public, close ranks to cover things up?
James himself faces a personal dilemma. If it is proved that he was driving the car he may go to prison. But if he is found innocent, and the autonomous car is to blame, the business he has spent most of his life building, and his dream of safer transport for all, may collapse.
Lawyers Judith Burton and Constance Lamb team up once again, this time to defend a man who may not want to go free, in a case that asks difficult questions about the speed at which technology is taking over our lives.“
Yorkshire-bred, Abi Silver is a lawyer by profession.
She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first courtroom thriller featuring the legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, The Pinocchio Brief, was published by Lightning Books in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Her follow-up The Aladdin Trial, featuring the same legal team, was published in 2018.
Find out more about Abi at-
Publication Date: 11th July, 2019
Publishers: Lightning Books
Don’t miss this amazing deal!!
Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 50% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at the check-out – BLOGTOURCIND.
Other outlets where you can purchase this book
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