I’ve all of Imran Mahmood’s books awaiting me on my TBR so although I’m trying to cut back on blog tours I simply couldn’t resist taking part in this one for Imran’s latest book, All I Said Was True. My huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to participate and to Raven Books for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.
Published by Bloomsbury Raven on 21st July 2022, All I Said Was True is available for purchase here.
All I Said Was True
When Amy Blahn was murdered on a London office rooftop, Layla Mahoney was there. She held Amy as she died. But all she can say when police arrest her is that ‘It was Michael. Find Michael and you’ll find out everything you need to know.’
The problem is, the police can’t find Michael – there is no evidence that he exists. And time is running out before they have to either charge Layla with Amy’s murder, or let her go.
As a lawyer, Layla knows that she has only forty-eight hours to convince police to investigate the man she knows only as ‘Michael’ instead of her.
But the more she attempts to control her interviews with police, the more the truth leaks out – and how much of that truth can Layla risk being exposed?
My Review of All I Said Was True
Layla has been arrested.
Wow. All I Said Was True is fantastic. Imran Mahmood writes with such skill and dexterity that he draws his reader in to a swirling vortex of intrigue, mystery and possibility. My brain was reeling because the first person account from Layla feeds information to the reader and yet tells them nothing at all. All I Said Was True feels almost audacious at the same time as being completely compelling.
The short chapters create a fast paced plot and given the unity of Layla simply being interviewed by the police, the way the action is threaded into the narrative is astonishing. It’s so difficult to articulate the seemingly paradoxical simplicity and sophistication of how this story is constructed without spoiling the read for others.
All I Said Was True is a kind of Schrodinger’s cat narrative with concepts of free will and determinism, fate and possibility, truth and perception thrumming through the narrative so that until the box is opened and the final page is read, the reader has no idea if Layla’s truth it the actual truth. The characters might be manipulative, but my goodness, so is Imran Mahmood in his dual time structure, pitch-perfect plotting and snappy pace, stunning the reader with this brilliant narrative.
The characters are compelling. Although All I Said Was True isn’t a lengthy novel, there’s a simultaneous back story to the main characters that adds depth, such as the mental health of Layla’s mother, which makes the reader question Layla every bit as much as the police do. Combined with a deliberate withholding of information about those like Michael, the story is made all the more captivating. I am still wondering what those I’ve left behind in All I Said Was True are doing now.
Intelligent, intriguing, innovative, interesting and so impressive, All I Said Was True is an elegantly written, mesmerising read I loved unconditionally. It’s one of my favourite books this year. Don’t miss it.
About Imran Mahmood
Imran Mahmood is a practising barrister with thirty years’ experience fighting cases in courtrooms across the country. His debut novel You Don’t Know Me was chosen by Simon Mayo as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice for 2017 and longlisted for Theakston Crime Novel of the Year and for the CWA Gold Dagger, and was made into a hugely successful BBC1 adaptation in association with Netflix. His second novel I Know What I Saw was released in June 2021, was chosen as a Sunday Times crime novel of the month and reached no. 2 on the Audible charts. He has been commissioned to write three screenplays and is working on his next novel. When not in court or writing novels or screenplays he can sometimes be found on the Red Hot Chilli Writers’ podcast as one of the regular contributors. He hails from Liverpool but now lives in London with his wife and daughters.
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