Prima Facie

Posted February 6, 2024 by Carole in Reviews / 5 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Prima FaciePrima Facie by Suzie Miller
Published by Henry Holt and Company on January 30, 2024
Genres: Fiction / Literary
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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“Enthralling and sharp-witted...Highly recommended.”
Karin Slaughter, New York Times and #1 international bestselling author

“Bold, fearless...Prima Facie is a deeply rewarding, absolute must read.”
—Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End

This is not life, this is law...

Tessa Ensler loves her job. She’s worked her way up to being a top criminal defense barrister against all the odds, and fights to defend those pleading not guilty. Tessa believes in the law, believes in the system. Her quick-witted cross-examinations and intelligence in the courtroom see her clocking up win after win - including securing freedom for men accused of rape and sexual assault. Innocence until proven guilty is, after all, the bedrock of a civilized society.

But when Tessa is raped by a coworker, she struggles to find the strength to bring him to justice in the face of the barriers and opposition within that same system. Determined to have her day in court, Tessa is forced to confront the stark reality that the law was not written for victims, and that she is the one on trial. She fights on, even as her evidence is manipulated to make her look like a liar, even while she is retraumatized in the stand.

Based on the Olivier and Tony Award-winning play, Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie is an unforgettable story of what happens when a victim is asked to navigate a system that is not set up to accommodate the lived experience of sexual assault survivors.

This was a powerful book! It took me a long time to read this one, not because it was bad, but because I had an idea where the story was going and I knew that it would be painful to read. I thought it was an important story and I really felt for Tessa. Readers should note that this book deals with the subject of rape which may be triggering for some. I thought that this was a very well-done novel.

Tessa has worked hard to become a great criminal defense barrister. She did not grow up privileged in the way that most of her co-workers have but she has excelled in her role. She wins many of her cases through her effective cross-examinations. She often goes out with some of her co-workers and she catches the eye of one in particular and hopes that there might be some hope for a relationship.

We see Tessa move through the system as a victim when her life is dramatically changed when she is raped. The system that she has worked so hard to be a part of doesn’t seem to work for the victims. I was proud of Tessa for pursuing justice even when she had so much to lose and society as a whole seemed to want her to just drop it. Tessa was a very strong and likable character and I loved the way that her story made me think about things. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others.

I received a review copy of this book from Henry Holt and Co.

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