Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal

01.23.2018 | Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


Sophie and James have a picture perfect life. James is a charismatic public figure serving the Prime Minister, loving husband and father. Sophie is the dotting wife always seen supporting James in his climb up the political ladder. One day their world is rocked when James is accused of raping his co-worker turned lover. Sophie desperately wants to believe her husband’s innocence and protect the life that she and James have built. As the details of the case begin to unravel and Sophie reflects on James’ past, she finds herself struggling with the truth.

An affair conducted in the workplace, in lifts and on office desks, over bottles of Veuve in hotel rooms and at her flat. And some of the evidence hints at casual violence simmering beneath James Whitehouse’s charming exterior; suggests – with his utter disregard for his one-time lover’s feelings, his extreme sense of entitlement – he is a sociopath.

Standing in the way of this couple’s picturesque façade is Kate, the prosecutor determined to prove James’ guilt. Kate is a seasoned lawyer hell-bent on bringing justice to those she prosecutes. Something in Kate’s past has added fuel to her fire in this case, which could lead her dangerously close to compromising her professional values. As the facts of the case are revealed the jury will have to decide what the truth about James really is. Was this just a case of a jilted lover seeking revenge or did James commit the crime?

It’s not the sort of thing witnesses make up.
And, besides, it’s exactly what he said to me.

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a timely piece of crime fiction discussing the ever present issue of rape going unreported and the repercussions for those who do report. Vaughan constructs a story that easily could have been ripped from an episode of Law and Order: SVU or today’s headlines. Approaching 400 pages, this novel is on the longer side for the genre and could certainly stand to be paired down in some areas. Despite the length, the pages are eloquently written, which allows the reader to effortlessly become absorbed in the plot. My biggest issue is with the way this book has been marketed to the public. It is not a story filled with thrills and suspense, as the marketing campaign would have you believe. In fact, the plot to the novel can be a bit predictable in places. ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a slow-burn, character study focusing on how the events of the past can impact one’s future. This novel is perfect for fans of courtroom drama television looking for a story that will keep you engaged and wanting to know more about those at the center of the storyline.

A special thank you to Goodreads for selecting me as one of the giveaway winners for an ARC of this book! All opinion are my own.

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