Bastard Verdict by James McCrone
I’m so thrilled to be on my first tour with Partners in Crime Tours. I love crime thrillers so I’m very much looking forward to the books this tour company can help me discover. For my debut tour I’m bringing you Bastard Verdict by James McCrone. James is a new author to me and I’m happy to introduce you to James if he is a new author to you or if you have read his prior books you can let me know what I need to catch up on! Partners in Crime Tours also has an awesome tour giveaway for you to enter!
About the Book:
YOU DON'T NEED TO WIN, JUST DON'T LOSE
In politics, people cheat to win, or because they're afraid to lose. Which isn't always the same thing. A second referendum on Scottish Independence looms, an unlikely investigator uncovers meddling in the first, and desperate conspirators panic, with deadly results. Bastard Verdict weaves high stakes, low politics, and complex characters into a noir tale of power, loss and Faustian bargains.
When a Scottish government official enlists FBI Elections Specialist, Imogen Trager (on research leave at the University of Glasgow) in the fall of 2023 to look into the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum—ostensibly as a means of ensuring that a possible second referendum will be conducted fairly—he claims that he wants an outsider’s unencumbered view.
The government official may not be what he seems, and the trail Imogen follows becomes twisted and deadly, leading to a corrupt cabal intent on holding on to power.
But they didn’t count on Imogen, a feisty, conflicted and driven investigator who goes strictly by the numbers, if rarely by the book. To find the truth, Imogen will risk everything—her reputation, career, and possibly her life. None but a very few know that truth. And those few need it to stay hidden. At any cost.
Bastard Verdict can be the outcome of a Scottish trial. It means that the judge or jury thinks the defendant committed the crime but the prosecution didn’t present their case in a way that convinced the judge or jury of the defendants guilt. This is also the way some people in the Scottish government feel about the 2014 vote for Scottish independence. They know in their hearts that something affected the 2014 vote but they can’t prove it.
Imogene Trager, a US FBI elections specialist, is on a one year leave in Scotland when she is asked to look into the 2014 vote. She has to the careful because as much as some people want to find out the truth, others want it to stay hidden.
Bastard Verdict is the author’s debut in this genre. It is told in multiple POV so the reader gets to see both sides of the vote. One of my favorite parts was the authentic Scottish language used in the book. It made me feel as if I was in Scotland listening to the characters speak. I love the title for this book and can think of many cases where a judge or jury would return this verdict at a trial. The idea that the 2014 vote was tampered with is up to Imogene to investigate. The author does a great job of giving the reader information from the multiple POV at just the right time. If you love conspiracy theory books involving the highest level of government you will enjoy this book. The lengths that both sides are willing to go to keep their version of the 2014 vote as the ‘true’ version will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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About the Author:
James McCrone is the author of the Faithless Elector series—Faithless Elector, Dark Network, and Emergency Powers—“taut” and “gripping” political thrillers about a stolen presidency. Bastard Verdict is his fourth novel. To get the details right for this thriller, he drew on his boyhood in Scotland, and scouted the locations for scenes in the book while attending Bloody Scotland in 2019 and again in ’22.
He’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, Int’l Assoc. of Crime Writers, Philadelphia Dramatists’ Center and he’s the vice-president of the Delaware Valley Sisters in Crime chapter. A Pacific Northwest native (mostly), he lives in South Philadelphia with his wife and three children. James has an MFA from the University of Washington, in Seattle.
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