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The Guilty One

By Lisa Ballantyne

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Format: Paperback, 480 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 August 2012
A little boy was found dead in a children's playground...Daniel Hunter has spent years defending lost causes as a solicitor in London. But his life changes when he is introduced to Sebastian, an eleven-year-old accused of murdering an innocent young boy.As he plunges into the muddy depths of Sebastian's troubled home life, Daniel thinks back to his own childhood in foster care - and to Minnie, the woman whose love saved him, until she, too, betrayed him so badly that he cut her out of his life.But what crime did Minnie commit that made Daniel disregard her for fifteen years? And will Daniel's identification with a child on trial for murder make him question everything he ever believed in?

Promotional Information

Deeply psychological and suspenseful, The Guilty One is already an international phenomenon and one of the most talked-about books of the year.

About the Author

Lisa Ballantyne was born in Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland and was educated at Armadale Academy and University of St Andrews. She spent most of her twenties working and living in China, before returning to the UK in 2002, to work in Higher Education. She lives in Glasgow; this is her first novel.


The Guilty One beautifully blends both past and present in a novel that will keep readers interested * RT Book Reviews * On one level, Lisa Ballantyne's The Guilty One delivers riveting courtroom drama that is unflinchingly true to its characters. At another level, its personal story resonates with love, forgiveness and the possibility of redemption. The Guilty One will touch your heart even as it leaves you unsettled * Hallie Ephron, author of There Was an Old Woman * A mature, gripping book you'll be desperate to tell your friends about * Big Issue (Scotland) * Ballantyne paints such vivid portraits of her characters that it is impossible not to sympathise with the tolerant and loving Minnie, and this psychological drama will keep you wondering right to the final chapter * Townsville Eye * I couldn't get this book out of my head. It kept me up all night and guessing the whole way through, I loved it * Jenny Colgan * Wow! I finished this late yesterday afternoon at the beach...This is a really good legal thriller. I like the way the chapters alternated in time. This doesn't always work, sometimes confusing, but the author Lisa made it happen and did it very well * Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books * One of the most readable, emotionally intense novels of the year, and a debut one at that. Lisa Ballantyne pulls off the key writer's trick of getting us to care about the characters; by the end of the first chapter, you will be comprehensively on the hook * Richard from Richard and Judy's Book Club, Autumn 2012 Pick * Gets better as you read it . . . a novel that grips . . . engrossing the reader who will want to find out what happens * Dulwich Book Reviews * Fast-paced and emotionally charged, we were tearing through it well into the night. Keep a tissue handy - you'll be a wreck by the end * Emerald Street * This is as assured debut novel that has 'bestseller' slapped all over it * * It's a work of genuine substance about real human beings with real human flaws, in which nothing can be tied up neatly because life doesn't work like that. The Guilty One puts her firmly on the list of writers to watch * Irish Independant * This is an outstanding work of fiction, and the real crime would have been if the talent of Lisa Ballantyne had never been discovered * Daily Record * Gripping stuff * More! * Thought provoking, brave and challenging, this book is an unsettling and compulsive read * Rosamund Lupton, bestselling author of Sister and Afterwards * This is an outstanding work of fiction, and the real crime would have been if the talent of Lisa Ballantyne had never been discovered * Daily Record * Lisa Ballantyne has written a first novel that is both moving and suspenseful; richly detailed, yet with the eerie simplicity of a parable * Joyce Carol Oates * It's one of the best debuts I've ever encountered -- Shari Low * The Daily Record * An absorbing psychological debut * Company (Top Pick) * [a] moving, insightful debut . . . It's easy to see why this caused such a stir at Frankfurt last year. If it isn't this year's Before I Go To Sleep, I'll eat my laptop * The Guardian *

A child-on-child murder drives Ballantyne's searing debut, a psychological legal thriller. Because solicitor Daniel Hunter, an experienced defender of children accused of crimes, was a troubled child himself, he connects with his disturbed client, 11-year-old Sebastian Croll, who's on trial for beating to death eight-year-old Ben Stokes in a London park. Alternating flashbacks of Daniel's youth as a fatherless foster child of a drug-addicted mother given by social workers to eccentric, perceptive, and loving Minnie Flynn demystify Daniel's rejection of Minnie, who both hurt him and saved him from Sebastian's fate or worse. Meanwhile, the truth about Sebastian and his arguably overdrawn dysfunctional family gradually emerges. Drawn with ruthless realism, Ballantyne's sympathetic major characters, especially Daniel and Minnie, leap from her pages into readers' hearts. Ballantyne also indicts the British government's stingy refusal to fund genuine rehabilitation of juvenile offenders in this scalding exploration of childhood violence, adult refusal to forgive, and redemptive love. Agent: Nicola Barr, Greene & Heaton (U.K.). (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Ballantyne's debut novel is a psychological exploration of two damaged children. One is 11-year-old Sebastian, who has been charged with the murder of his eight-year-old friend Ben. The other is his lawyer, Daniel Hunter, who as a child survived a series of foster homes and thought he'd found a safe place when he was adopted by his last foster mother, Minnie. But something went horribly wrong and Daniel hasn't seen Minnie in years. When he learns that she has died, Daniel is thrown into a guilty tailspin. And as he pursues a defense for Sebastian, he can't help identifying with this strange, and sometimes scary, boy who reminds him of the angry, lost child he once was. VERDICT Though the novel opens with a murder, the legal case that follows is not really the point. The suspense comes in the exploration of just what went wrong in Daniel's past. Ballantyne hits some strong emotional beats, and fans of Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers will find much to like here. [See Prepub Alert, 9/27/12.]-Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

EAN: 9780749957285
ISBN: 074995728X
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.2 centimetres (0.38 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
All Reviews
Dee Wallace on
Great read - recommend to all. Now looking for other books by this author.

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