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Top 5 British legal thrillers

Kia Abdullah, author of Take It Back, explores the best of courtroom corruption

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Accomplished scientist Yvonne Carmichael has an affair with a mysterious Westminster staffer. At first their trysts are thrilling, but soon lead to an extraordinary act of violence that puts everything at risk. A complex tale of adultery, murder and deception adapted for the screen by the BBC. 

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne

An 11-year-old boy is accused of murdering an eight-year-old neighbour. Daniel Hunter, London solicitor and defender of lost causes, is tasked with helping the accused. Emotionally wrought and richly detailed, The Guilty One is a deeply human story of redemption and regret.

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood 

A young man from South London stands accused of murder. Just before closing speeches, he sacks his lawyer and decides to defend himself. His QC told him to omit some things and he wants to tell the truth. A tense and timely novel from barrister Mahmood.

The Long Drop by Denise Mina 

A fictionalised account of Peter Manuel, ‘the Beast of Birkenshaw’ who murdered at least seven people in 1950s Lanarkshire. Unsettling and wonderfully atmospheric, Mina’s prose paints an oppressive picture of Glasgow and the wicked deeds of the men inside it. 

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

A Westminster couple’s world is torn apart when the husband is accused of rape. The wife believes he’s innocent, but the prosecutor is determined to prove otherwise. A timely commentary on power, privilege and toxic masculinity.

Kia Abdullah’s Take It Back is out now (HQ, £12.99)

Kia Abdullah: Take It Back