Book Review: Until Proven Innocent by Nicola Williams

Set tp be released on 16th March, Until Proven Innocent by Nicola Williams follows Lee Mitchell, a young barrister from a working-class Caribbean background: in the cut-throat environment of the courtroom, everything is stacked against her.

On her doorstep in South London the 15-year-old son of the pastor at the local Black church is shot, and the local community is shattered. All evidence is pointing to infamously corrupt, racist police officer Sergeant Jack Lambert as the irredeemable suspect. His own boss – rebel-turned-copper Danny Wallace – is certain he is guilty.

Against her will, Lee is strong-armed into defending him. With cries of ‘Black Lives Matter!’ echoing in the streets, Lee is at the centre of the turmoil as lies, anger, and mistrust spiral out of control. With the line between her personal and professional life becoming increasingly blurred, Lee keeps asking herself the same question: How can she defend the indefensible?


Thank you to the publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A challenging and brilliantly-written crime thriller, Nicola Williams writes a powerful and tense British crime thriller which shines a light on the very relevant topic of systematic racism.

While not particularly fast-paced and putting the focus on words instead of action, Until Proven Innocent is a very insightful police procedural which tackles a pertinent subject from a point of view that is worthy of a spotlight.

I didn’t realise that this was a sequel until writing up my review, following the 2021 book, Without Prejudice. But that didn’t effect my enjoyment of this book at all, which can very easily be read as a standalone. Knowing that it’s a sequel, I feel like I may have missed out on some more detail about Lee’s background as I would have liked to know more about her, but I still engaged with her well enough at the time of reading so I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.

However, I do wish that I got to know more about Jack beforehand so that I could understand the initial accusations against him, as it took me a while to understand his involvement in it all. But the story did piece together well eventually as it moves to the court room, and I really enjoyed the concept of not knowing where it was going or how Lee should feel about it all.

Overall, I think Nicola Williams adds a strong female voice to the British crime genre. She has a lot to say, and I definitely want to listen.


Until Proven Innocent by Nicola Williams
Release Date: 16th March 2023
Print Length: 320 pages
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton


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