It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.
Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?
Hi and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for one of the best books I’ve read this year! Massive thanks to Livvi Thomas and Penguin for having me on the tour and sending me a beautiful proof copy!
Izzy’s father is sweet and supportive. Izzy’s father is charming. Izzy’s father is a convicted murderer. Or is he? Maybe he’s just an innocent man convicted for a crime he didn’t commit? Izzy isn’t sure, and neither was I. I went from being absolutely certain that Gabe English killed his wife to being not that sure at all, from really liking him to really distrusting him, all in the span of a chapter.
With her father out of jail, Izzy starts remembering things, events, actions, that she had forgotten about, like her parents rowing all the time. And there are inconsistencies and discrepancies between what she’s remembering and what her father is telling her about the weeks preceding her mother’s murder. Who is right? While Izzy is trying to make sense of everything, going through boxes filled with old documents, bank statements and receipts, going over the evidence used against her dad, trying to find out if there might be evidence to exonerate her dad, I was right there beside her, doing the same. The thing is that there is just so much evidence against Gabe. It made me wonder whether there was too much evidence, that it was wrapped up too neatly, that maybe was Gabe framed. On the other hand maybe all the evidence just pointed to the obvious: that Gabe was guilty as sin. It drove me to madness, it did! I could not for the life of me make up my mind, guilty or not guilty. (I would be the worst person to sit on a jury, I’m sure ?)
What got to me and made me incredibly sad was the tragedy of Izzy’s life that I read between the lines of the thriller: Izzy did not only lose her mum but also her dad and she could never even properly grieve for him because she blamed him for having no mum. And so she has no real family. And so she’s become obsessed with the idea of family, a random American family she’s following on Instagram, the family next door, the family she’s denying herself because how could she ever be a mum after all that’s happened. Izzy has been stuck for years, incapable of living her life to the fullest, much like her dad was in prison. The Evidence Against You also made me think about the justice system and its flaws, how can we be sure justice has been served, how can one prove a miscarriage of justice, how are long-time convicts supposed to cope on the outside? I actually learned quite a lot, and it had me googling the Belgian legal system as well.
I was hooked very early on, counting the minutes until I could continue reading, thinking about Izzy in between reading sessions, wondering about Gabe. Rather short chapters tell Izzy’s story, interspersed with Gabe’s account of the last weeks of his wife’s life and lead to a finale that had me in tears. Reading The Evidence Against You was like waiting for a thunder storm to hit, the air crackling with tension. When lightning finally hit, it had me scurrying for cover. And a handkerchief.
A dramatic, thought-provoking thriller with a heart, highly recommended.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour: