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Tuesday 6 June 2023

The Interpreter by Brooke Robinson #TheInterpreter @Brookwrote @HarvillSecker #BookReview


Single mother Revelle Lee is an interpreter who spends her days translating for victims, witnesses and the accused across London. Only she knows what they're saying. Only she knows the truth.

When she believes a grave injustice is about to occur, and a guilty man is going to be labelled innocent, she has the power to twist an alibi to get the verdict she wants. She's willing to risk it all to do what's right.

But when someone discovers she lied, Revelle finds the cost might be too high... and she could lose everything, including her son.

Discover the shocking, unguessable debut thriller for fans of Louise Candlish, Harriet Tyce and Sarah Vaughan

The Interpreter by Brooke Robinson is published on 8 June 2023 by Harvill Secker. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

What I liked most about this book is the fact that the main character is an interpreter, a totally new concept for me. I haven't come across a crime novel from this point of view and the story offered a different view to the usual execution of crime fiction. 
Apart from working with sign language interpreters when I worked in mental health, I have never come across a language translator (except for those who translate books!), in real life, and it was so interesting to read about how they work.

The novel is narrated by two people; we have Revelle, the interpreter and then a mysterious, anonymous voice who is woven in between Revelle's story. These snippets from someone who is obviously unhinged and dangerous add to the tension throughout.

Revelle is a complex, complicated and at times, infuriating character. Her nomadic childhood, accompanying an cold and distant mother around the world has obviously impacted her adult life. It certainly gave her a career, as she managed to learn and then speak ten languages. As an interpreter, she is well respected. Known as one of the best, and rarely out of work. 

Revelle is in the process of adopting a six year old boy, Elliott. It's unclear at first, just why she is so determined to have someone call her Mum, but the reader realises at the end, just why she feels that she has to do it. 

Revelle's life appears chaotic and unorganised, dashing from one job to another. Dealing with court cases one day and boring departmental paperwork the next.  The author cleverly explains how an interpreter could easily change the outcome of a case, just one changed word could alter the verdict, and the next few years for a defendant. 

There's such a lot going on in this book. Not only does Revelle become too emotionally involved in at least two of the cases she's involved with, she also has to deal with strange things happening at home. Who is sending things to Elliott? Why would they send such things, and how can Revelle protect him? 

This is a well-paced story, with a lead character who certainly frustrates the reader at times, but who is ultimately a good person who has made some pretty bad choices in life. 

Keeps you on your toes for sure. Entertaining and a little bit different. Recommended. 

Brooke Robinson grew up in Sydney and as a playwright, has had numerous plays
commissioned and produced in her native Australia. 

In the UK, her work has been shown at the Old Vic theatre and London's Vault Festival. She studied drama at RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) and City, University of London. 

The Interpreter is her debut novel.

Twitter @Brookewrote

Instagram @brookewrote

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