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The Child Who by Simon Lelic

The Child Who

Thriller / Suspense   Books of the Month   Family Drama   Literary Fiction   Thriller / Suspense   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   
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Selected by Sarah Broadhurst

July 2012 Book of the Month.

Longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2012.

Longlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012.

An author who is unafraid to tackle contentious subjects has a 12 year old killer as the dramatic centre of The Child Who. That he did it is not in question, it is why and the repercussions of the shocking act that drive this story on. Perfect for reading groups.

If you like Simon Lelic you might also like to read books by Neil Cross, Lionel Shriver and Daniel Clay.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

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Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


The Child Who by Simon Lelic

A quiet English town is left reeling when twelve-year-old Daniel Blake is discovered to have brutally murdered his schoolmate Felicity Forbes. For provincial solicitor Leo Curtice, the case promises to be the most high profile and morally challenging - of his career. But as he begins his defence Leo is unprepared for the impact the public fury surrounding Felicity's death will have on his family - and his teenage daughter Ellie, above all. While Leo struggles to get Daniel to open up, hoping to unearth the reasons for the boy's terrible crime, the build-up of pressure on Leo's family intensifies. As the case nears its climax, events will take their darkest turn. For Leo, nothing will ever be the same again ...


'Fantastic. Absorbing, moving, hugely gripping'
Mark Billingham, bestselling author of the Tom Thorne novels

'Could this be Lelic's breakthrough book? It deserves to be'

'Gripping ... Lelic, author of the highly acclaimed Rupture, unpicks the layers of vengeance, exploitation and fear that accrue around children that kill, and examines the terrible fall-out for anyone who goes against the vindictive current ... a compelling, thought-provoking page-turner'

'Simon Lelic's first two crime novels attracted much well-deserved praise. His third The Child Who is equally good ... Despite its dark theme, this stark, powerfully written novel ends on a faint note of hope. Lelic is a writer to watch'

'Simon Lelic doesn't shy away from controversial issues ... He's billed as a crime writer, but his books are bigger than that. And in his work he finds his stride as somebody who can truly make us examine ourselves, and place ourselves in the scenarios he creates so masterfully. The action, when it comes, zips along at a fair old lick, but it is the thought processes of the protagonists that engage, along with the oppressive atmosphere Lelic has got down to a fine art. Terrific stuff'
Irish Examiner

'An edgy and unorthodox writer whose specialty is holding the reader in an unshakeable narrative grip while making us question the actions of the central characters ... It is impossible to feel lukewarm about The Child Who and that as much as anything is a measure of this author's uncomfortable skills'
Daily Express

'A provincial solicitor finds his world shaken to the core when he has to defend a 12-year-old boy accused of murdering a young female schoolmate. Fascinating moral issues are played out'
Daily Mirror

'Shades of the James Bulger case hover over Lelic's third novel ... The less prurient writers who tackle this theme often adopt kid gloves only to strangle the life out of their work, but Lelic keeps his thriller exciting while handling the material sensitively'
Four stars, Daily Telegraph

'Pacey, surprising and well written'
The Times

'An excellent psychological crime thriller from one of the genre's rising stars'

'A writer to whom attention must be paid'

'Zest, fresh perspective, insight and often quite beautiful writing, something you rarely see in populist thriller fiction ... his gift is for immediately unsettling the reader. Just who is narrating this? Who are these people? Where is this going? This wrong-footing isn't just gimmicky, however. It's an essential thread in the weave of this excellent novel ... Much of the joy of this book is about the disorientating nature of Lelic's story-telling ... bewitching'

'Simon Lelic follows his acclaimed debut with an equally gripping psychological thriller also inspired by horrific real-life crime'
Publishers Weekly starred review

'Quietly excellent legal thriller'
Marcel Berlins, The Times

'Lelic was marked for stardom by his first two thrillers, Rupture and The Facility, and he confirms his place at the literary top table with this, his third ... Told with compelling force, and at considerable pace, it reveals the frightening law of unintended consequences: even a good man can be destroyed by the best intentions'
Daily Mail

'A ruthless, realistic novel of crime and punishment'

'By page three, Simon Lelic's harrowing and haunting novel The Child Who has you utterly in its snares. A daring writer but also a deeply open-hearted one, he renders his flawed but sympathetic characters with the most tender of hands, heightening the tale's suspense and drawing us even closer'
Megan Abbott

About the Author

Simon Lelic

Simon Lelic was our Guest Editor in January 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

Simon Lelic has worked as a journalist and currently runs his own business. He was born in Brighton in 1976 and recently returned with his family to live there. His first two novels Rupture and The Facility were huge critical successes. Rupture won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger and longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Simon was shortlisted in the New Writer of the Year category at the Galaxy British Book Awards.

Author photo © Kate Eshelby

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Book Info

Publication date

5th July 2012


Simon Lelic

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Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan




Thriller / Suspense
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Thriller / Suspense
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites



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