You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood

You Don't Know Me

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he's going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling...

Title:You Don't Know Me
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0718184254
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:400 pages

You Don't Know Me Reviews

  • Annie ~ The Misstery

    Have you ever come across a book that you just knew you had to read as soon as possible? It didn’t matter that you didn’t know the author or hadn’t read any reviews… you just needed it. That’s what happened to me with You Don’t Know Me. One look at the blurb and I was sold.

    I admit I was scared I wouldn’t like this as much as I hoped, but it was quite the opposite, actually. This novel blew me away. And I’m perfectly aware that it won’t be a book for everyone (because of the ending, for starters)

    Have you ever come across a book that you just knew you had to read as soon as possible? It didn’t matter that you didn’t know the author or hadn’t read any reviews… you just needed it. That’s what happened to me with You Don’t Know Me. One look at the blurb and I was sold.

    I admit I was scared I wouldn’t like this as much as I hoped, but it was quite the opposite, actually. This novel blew me away. And I’m perfectly aware that it won’t be a book for everyone (because of the ending, for starters), but those are perhaps the most interesting ones. And I know it was the right book for me, as I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it for days.

    This is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It might be a legal thriller, but only on the surface. The whole book (well, except for a couple of chapters at the end) is told from the defendant’s perspective. We’re told that he has fired his lawyer and has decided to make his final speech all by himself. And what a speech! The book is violent, gritty and filled with plenty of wrong decisions. I was completely enchanted by his monologue.

    The story just flows. It is written in a very “informal” style, the way a man his age would talk in real life. And it kept me glued to the pages like no other. It’s impossible not to care for the main character (we don’t even learn his name). After all, he’s telling you his entire life. His story was sad and devastating at times, but it’s an excellent one and I’m so glad I was able to read it.

    As captivated I was by You Don’t Know Me, I couldn’t help but feel that the jury would be fed up with him. He talks for about ten days! And the story isn’t exactly straight-forward, as the guy surely likes to talk. Nevertheless, I thought it was endearing and I couldn’t put it down. I started it before going to bed one evening and as soon as I woke up the next morning, I read the rest in one sitting.

    If you want to read something completely unique… don’t look any further. And let’s discuss it afterwards!

  • Liz Barnsley

    You Don't Know Me has an interesting premise well executed, a terrifically strong and authentic character voice and an intriguing and compelling story.

    Its a little early to write up a full review I'll be featuring this on the blog nearer to publication, but I loved it for its differences, the fact that the reader is the jury for this one and whilst I felt the ending was slightly weaker than the rest, overall this was an entirely gripping narrative that you just want to binge read to the end. Tha

    You Don't Know Me has an interesting premise well executed, a terrifically strong and authentic character voice and an intriguing and compelling story.

    Its a little early to write up a full review I'll be featuring this on the blog nearer to publication, but I loved it for its differences, the fact that the reader is the jury for this one and whilst I felt the ending was slightly weaker than the rest, overall this was an entirely gripping narrative that you just want to binge read to the end. That is in fact exactly what I did. Beautifully done.

    Clever. One to watch in June. In fact June is shaping up to be a top bookish month.

  • Gillian McAllister

    Perfection.

  • Richard

    6/10

    What sounded like a really interesting prospect ended up being an above average legal thriller but not much more. I very rarely, if ever, request a title by an author I’ve never heard of or want to read but the premise of this hooked me so I took the plunge.

    I had in my mind this would be more like a cross examination rather than a closing statement. I was thinking more Keyser Soze chit chat than young gangster monologue. The fact that the story unfolds from one viewpoint sort of makes it fee

    6/10

    What sounded like a really interesting prospect ended up being an above average legal thriller but not much more. I very rarely, if ever, request a title by an author I’ve never heard of or want to read but the premise of this hooked me so I took the plunge.

    I had in my mind this would be more like a cross examination rather than a closing statement. I was thinking more Keyser Soze chit chat than young gangster monologue. The fact that the story unfolds from one viewpoint sort of makes it feel more straight down the line rather than a dodgy narrator trying to convince you and letting you make up your own mind. Only at the 95% mark is the opposition allowed to throw suspicion on the story and I feel this was a missed opportunity. If it was the witness on the stand and you were left to decide after both lawyers had given their best then it would have been an awesome idea.

    This was still an interesting read about gang life in London and how some people don’t have the options to avoid it. But it felt a little lightweight. Never do you get the sense of danger for the main guy as you know, with it being in the past, that he comes out of it ok as he’s telling the story. I wasn’t overly convinced with the ending but I guess that was to allow you to throw suspicion on what was being said. One thing I was unsure of was why a judge would allow so much swearing in a closing statement. Little things.

    I’d be interested to hear other peoples viewpoints of the book as it might just be my let down that didn’t allow me to fully invest in this. I would read more from the author so it wasn’t a waste of time.

  • Tracy Fenton

    Once in a while you read a book that not only gets under your skin, but it leaves your breathless and gasping out loud. You Don’t Know Me is an incredible debut novel. Told entirely through Court Transcripts – a young man charged with murder sacks his lawyer and tells his defence story in his own voice to the jury over a period of ten days. Covering gang culture and social issues, our young narrator breathes life in his story and brings it vividly into the readers imagination. Keeping the reader

    Once in a while you read a book that not only gets under your skin, but it leaves your breathless and gasping out loud. You Don’t Know Me is an incredible debut novel. Told entirely through Court Transcripts – a young man charged with murder sacks his lawyer and tells his defence story in his own voice to the jury over a period of ten days. Covering gang culture and social issues, our young narrator breathes life in his story and brings it vividly into the readers imagination. Keeping the reader interested for over 400 pages highlights the skill of this author. A truly fascinating, enthralling , thought provoking book which will stay in my thoughts for a long time. My thanks to the publisher Michael Joseph and Netgalley for the ARC.

  • Gary

    I had no previous knowledge of either the author or the book itself but having read the description while browsing on Net Galley felt compelled to know more.

    The book features an unnamed defendant standing accused of murder, having sacked his lawyer just before the Closing Speeches. He decides to defend himself and tell all the truth even if it may harm his defence. There are eight pieces of evidence against him and as he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader

    I had no previous knowledge of either the author or the book itself but having read the description while browsing on Net Galley felt compelled to know more.

    The book features an unnamed defendant standing accused of murder, having sacked his lawyer just before the Closing Speeches. He decides to defend himself and tell all the truth even if it may harm his defence. There are eight pieces of evidence against him and as he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader and the members of the jury must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions, but did he do it?

    This is a fascinating book that is very different to the style of books that are very popular at the moment. I enjoy the other books also but this book was an excellent debut novel by an author I am sure we will hear more of in the future. If you fancy reading something a little different then this is worth reading. A thought provoking book that is well written and keeps you guessing.

    I would like to thank Net Galley and Penguin UK for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  • Renee (itsbooktalk.com)

    You can find all my reviews on

    The premise of this book really drew me in! The idea that someone would fire their lawyer before closing arguments in their murder trial and decide to give their own interested me. There are so many aspects of the criminal justice system that I have issues with that I thought a book about a defendant speaking out for themselves was something right up my alley.

    We are immediately introduced to the defendant who remains unnamed the entire book. I th

    You can find all my reviews on

    The premise of this book really drew me in! The idea that someone would fire their lawyer before closing arguments in their murder trial and decide to give their own interested me. There are so many aspects of the criminal justice system that I have issues with that I thought a book about a defendant speaking out for themselves was something right up my alley.

    We are immediately introduced to the defendant who remains unnamed the entire book. I thought I'd have a problem with this because I worried I might not connect or be able to picture him in my head without a name but that really wasn't the case at all. His voice and personality immediately struck me as realistic and pulled me into his story. He has decided he wants to tell the whole truth and nothing but...this is against the advice of his lawyer who seems to believe the truth will hurt his case. The defendant lays out the 8 key pieces of evidence against him and proceeds to go over each one explaining, in great detail and backstory for many, the "truth" behind the supposed evidence. The reader gets to be a part of the jury...are his versions of the "truth" to be believed?

    As he begins detailing the pieces of evidence we begin to get a feel for his life and what led to his currently being charged with murder. What we hear includes racism, poverty, drugs, girlfriends, and quite a bit of dealings with gangs and the gang subculture. The defendant speaks using colloquial language and lots of urban street slang which on the one hand made him feel like an authentic character but on the other hand it started to make me wish I could hear from someone else. Which doesn't happen. The entire book is told in the first person and we only hear from the defendant. While initially I enjoyed this narrative structure, by about 35% into the story I felt myself becoming slightly annoyed with the constant, repetitive use of certain words like "innit" and the very detailed backstories started to bore me quite honestly. As the story went on, I found my mind wandering and I started skimming which is never a good sign.

    Overall, this story started off so strong for me but lost steam by the halfway point and I never regained my interest. And the ending....not at all what I expected...don't get me started on that! What I'll say is that the author took a great risk with this narrative structure and story which I appreciate and while it didn't work for me, I'm very much in the minority because there are many highly rated reviews on Goodreads. If you're looking for a uniquely told story you might want to give this a try.

  • Louise Wilson

    An unnamed man stands accused of murder. Just before the closing speeches, the man sacks his lawyer and decide to give his own defence. We are told his barrister told him to leave some things out, but he thinks if he is going down for life, he might as well go down for telling the truth. With eight pieces of evidence against him, he takes us through piece one by one.

    We never learn the name of the young man who stands accused of murdering a gang member. The evidence seems to prove the young man's

    An unnamed man stands accused of murder. Just before the closing speeches, the man sacks his lawyer and decide to give his own defence. We are told his barrister told him to leave some things out, but he thinks if he is going down for life, he might as well go down for telling the truth. With eight pieces of evidence against him, he takes us through piece one by one.

    We never learn the name of the young man who stands accused of murdering a gang member. The evidence seems to prove the young man's guilt. However the more evidence we read the narrator got into my head and under my skin. The characters have all got a huge background that tells us exactly why they were involved in the case. As soon as I read the description for the book I knew I wanted to read it. With characters are believable I found this to be a thought provoking book and one that I will still be thinking about for a while after finishing it.

    I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin UK - Michael Joseph and the author Imran Mahmood for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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