Friday 1 April 2016

REVIEW: J. Scaddon - Harry Lane is Innocent

Genre: Crime / Thriller
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 10th Sept 2015
Pages: 95


A copy of Harry Lane is Innocent was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author J Scaddon in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Anyone who visits the blog regularly will know I love to discover new authors. Jamie Scaddon is name I am sure many of you will not be familiar with. I certainly wasn’t when he sent me an email to see if I would like to review this one. It is certainly not my normal first pick for a book but something drew me to it. I liked the sound of it and decided to give it a go. It took me a while to get to it. I wish it hadn’t.

Harry Lane is twenty-three years old although he has the mind of a six-year-old. He is a gentle giant that is always out to please people, no matter who they are.

His dad has asked him to run an errand for him one dark night. In 1940’s London this involves a long walk. Harry decides to cut through a park. He likes to watch the wildlife in it.

He stumbles across an altercation between a drunk man and a young lady. She has been stabbed and Harry tries to help. She unfortunately dies and Harry has been accused of her murder.

This starts the process of questioning and a trial. For Harry it is daunting and confusing as his mind doesn’t understand what is happening. For his family, it looks like the end for Harry.

OK. This is a short one. Comes in at about one hundred pages. Set yourself a few hours to the side with nothing on for the rest of the day because you will not want to put this one down.

Our characters in this one are few and far between. It really just centres on Harry. Like I said earlier, he is in his twenties but has the mental age of a young child. He is timid, meek, caring, loving. All the things you would expect a child to be. Because of his illness he doesn’t understand things very well so when he is plunged into this new world he has no clue what is going on.

The plot is simple. Harry is innocent. You know from the very beginning he is innocent. He is going to be hanged for the crime he did not commit. No one seems to care other than a young barrister who must battle against the odds to try and keep him alive.

This scenario has been done before. You will probably see it most Sunday nights on various channels all over your television. So why should you read this one? Simple answer? The way this story is written will make you want to forget about everything else you need to do for the day and just sit. Sit and read.

I think I am right in saying this is a first novella for Mr Scaddon. If not the first, then certainly one of the first. In places it shows. Sometimes it could be a little more polished. The sentences could be a little more refined. The use of language could be a little more imaginative.

You know what though? I don’t care!

At the same time as the little negatives, the way it is written and the little bits that are missing make the story. It is almost like this is writing at its barest minimum. It’s completely stripped down to give you a basic story told in the simplest of ways that is so very very effective. You cannot help but feel for Harry and his family. You cannot help but feel total anger and disgust at the authorities for their blatant disregard for following through on things that could change the situation drastically. Emotion is a huge driver in this story and it flows off every page in such a way that you will get angry reading this story.

There are scenes which follow the executioners. They describe in detail what they do, the routines they follow and the procedures they must go through to make sure the hanging goes smoothly. Now I am no history buff and know very little about this process. I don’t know how much research Mr Scaddon has done on this part of the book to make it authentic. You know what though? I don’t care again. Reading these scenes, you will be covered in goose bumps. You will be reading with such fear and emotion and pain flowing through your veins it will leave you breathless at the end. These were truly harrowing. Again, cut down, basic writing that is so effective it is mind blowing.

Can you tell I liked this book? I know what people are like. They stick with authors they know and can trust to deliver them a fantastic story. Most people are scared to try out a little known author like this. I URGE you to give this story a chance. Yes, it is not the most polished of books you will ever read. Yes, it’s not a big blockbuster. Yes, it is filled with emotion and tension and has a nerve wrecking finale that will have you having to remind yourself to breath. It is that good.

To summarise: Harry Lane is accused of a crime he did not commit. He is going to hang for it. Someone needs to prove he is innocent.

To summarise further: Honestly? Just buy it. Show a new author with a unique, cut down writing style that we have faith in them!

General rating:

★★★★★ not perfect in some ways but still full marks.

Crime / Thriller rating:

★★★★★ brilliant story.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Harry Lane is Innocent or any other books from Jamie. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

Harry Lane is a nice man, who has the mental abilities of a child. He is keen to please and never would do anything to harm anyone. When he stumbles into the scene of a murder the finger of suspicion is wrongly pointed at him. Unless a young and ambitious barrister can find the evidence to prove his innocence, Harry Lane will have a date with the hangman.

J Scaddon is an author of children's stories, but has also written several novellas for adults as well. He lives in the beautiful country of Wales with his wife and his daughter.

And for more about Jamie, visit his site or find him on social media:

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