Reviewed on 29th July 2022

All I Said Was True by Imran Mahmood

Genre: Crime/Police Procedural Thriller / Fiction / Psychological Thriller / Thriller
All I Said Was True by Imran Mahmood Synopsis

I didn’t kill her. Trust me…
When Amy Blahn died on a London rooftop, Layla Mahoney was there. Layla was holding her. But all she can say when she’s arrested is that ‘It was Michael. Find Michael and you’ll find out everything you need to know.’

The problem is, the police can’t find him – they aren’t even sure he exists.

Layla knows she only has forty-eight hours to convince the police that bringing in the man she knows only as ‘Michael’ will clear her name and reveal a dangerous game affecting not just Amy and Layla, but her husband Russell and countless others.

But as the detectives begin to uncover the whole truth about what happened to Amy, Layla will soon have to decide: how much of that truth can she really risk being exposed?

All I Said Was True by Imran Mahmood Review

Perfectly Paced for a One Sitting Read

It’s 1am at the time of writing this review, which is a good indication of how much I love a legal thriller. All I Said Was True is a little different to my usual legal drama. It’s a reluctant romance, a time-hop that’s full of pace, and a police procedural thriller all in one. In fact, we don’t see a courtroom until the epilogue.

We are guided through this book with two distinct timelines moving from the present in which we see a framed and distorted version of the truth, to telling the real story from multiple perspectives weeks, months and years earlier. This book features the most unreliable narrator I have ever read, I hated the protagonist almost as much as an Alice Feeney character, yet at the same time I absolutely know, although I have no idea why, that she is fundamentally good. Good, but infinitely unlikable.

The intrigue level is high, I made it through All I Said Was True in a single sitting, as Imran Mahmood drops crumbs right until the end of the book and constant cliffhangers as we move between timelines – this meant I couldn’t put it down. The time-hops were a little confusing at times, as there were points where it felt necessary to move the story along, but it served it’s purpose by ensuring I read on.

The book opens with a police interview room, and that’s where we remain until the end in the present day, our protagonist Layla Mahoney is in police custody accused of murdering Amy Blahn, a woman she says she has never met, yet is found cradling with a knife in her chest on the rooftop of her Layla’s husbands workplace. To reveal anymore about the story is impossible as this book is a snowball, getting bigger every chapter, and unusually for a thriller, we assume that we know what’s coming – we don’t, of course, but the reader feels as though they have all the perspectives, until the very end.

As a fan of Imran Mahmood, I was looking forward to reading this book, and in so many ways, it didn’t disappoint, it had the pace I expected, the complex characters I desired, and a twist (although I correctly guessed) which I didn’t feel the need to even begin to guess until close to the end – in other words, the book took me on a journey on which I didn’t feel the need to spoil, I was a passenger. In that way, in my review of All I Said Was True, I got everything I expected from Imran Mahmood.

To be fair and balanced in my review, I have to say, the protagonist jarred until around a third of the way into the book. The first two chapters I was reading as though it was a man, and then a white Irish woman, and finally I understood that her father was from Pakistan. This for me felt like a missed opportunity to believe in the protagonist earlier, and made me feel less connected to her as my assumption of her motivation changed several times. Many of the past chapters were set in Layla’s home, and I think that there were many opportunities to show me who she is earlier – I’d have probably connected quicker as until she revealed her full character I didn’t quite get behind her.

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Her father is an important figure and I’m no editor, but I’d have chosen to place his chapters in a slightly different order as empathy is critical to this story and it came, in my opinion a little too late. In many ways, I think this book will go straight to a TV production company as it will make a brilliant mini series. Overall though, it was a one-sitting book which should say enough by itself. I’ll be waiting patiently for the next one.

Many Thanks to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers and Bloomsbury Raven for inviting us on this Blog Tour.

All I Said Was True is published by: Bloomsbury Raven

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