Tuesday 13 July 2021

I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood BLOG TOUR @imranmahmood777 #IKnowWhatISaw @BloomsburyRaven @Tr4cyF3nt0n #BookReview


I saw it. He smothered her, pressing his hands on her face. The police don't believe me, they say it's impossible - but I know what I saw.

Xander Shute - once a wealthy banker, now living on the streets - shelters for the night in an empty Mayfair flat. When he hears the occupants returning home, he scrambles to hide. Trapped in his hiding place, he hears the couple argue, and he soon finds himself witnessing a vicious murder.

But who was the dead woman, who the police later tell him can't have been there? And why is the man Xander saw her with evading justice?

As Xander searches for answers, his memory of the crime comes under scrutiny, forcing him to confront his long-buried past and the stories he's told about himself.

How much he is willing to risk to understand the brutal truth?

I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahood was published on 10 June in hardback by Bloomsbury Raven. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour, organised by Tracy from Compulsive Readers. 

Back in 2017 I read and reviewed Imran Mahmood's debut novel; You Don't Know Me. It is a book that left a long-lasting impression on me and is one of my all-time favourite novels.

The author returns with I Know What I Saw, and this is another whip-sharp, blistering, intelligent and gripping crime novel, with a difference. Once again, he has created a voice in his main character Xander that will linger in the mind. 

Xander is an unusual character. The reader is introduced to him during a violent episode in a playground. Xander is settling down for the night, under a slide, trying to get comfortable and warm when he is accosted by another homeless guy. Xander has taken his patch, and the guy is not happy. 
Xander moves on and when he spots an empty property with an unlocked door he takes the opportunity to get out of the driving rain and rest his head. This decision will be one of the worst of his life, and Xander has had a very eventful past. 

Xander Shute has not always been homeless. It becomes clear that he's an educated man; Cambridge no less, he's had money, and he comes from privilege. He left all of that behind him and has been on the streets now for years. He has retained his sense of justice and when he is woken by the sounds of an argument, and a woman dies, at first he runs. However, he does tell all to the police eventually, but this turns out to be yet another mistake. 

Mahmood expertly weaves Xander's past into the present circumstances, and the layers of his life are slowly uncovered. His trauma is expertly portrayed, as are the demons and ghost that have haunted him for years. 

This is a story filled with tension, I was gripped by uncertainties throughout. Willing Xander on, hoping that he would find his truth and constantly surprised by the bends and turns in the plot line. 

Once more, Imran Mahmood has delivered a novel that is daring, yet very confidently written. Something really unusual. This is an author who knows people, how has studied behaviours and can translate those into blistering works of crime fiction.  Recommended. 

Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. 

He has been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country dealing in serious and complex criminal cases.

He now lives in South East London with his wife.

Twitter @imranmahmood777

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