Beyond Reasonable Doubt by Gary Bell

Posted on August 22, 2019


Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Gary Bell


August 2019


Pretty much every aspiring writer is told to ‘write what you know.’ What that brings to the writing is greater verisimilitude, of believability by applying what you know. If that knowledge is something such as your profession or vocation then all the better.

Gary Bell has been a lawyer for more than 30 years, becoming a QC in 2012. But his journey there was a varied one from a coal mining town, a mechanic, factory worker and door-to-door salesmen. He was also arrested for fraud in his mid-twenties. And all that was before studying law.

Bell’s character, Elliot Rook, has a very similar background to the author. How much of Rook is actually Bell remains with the author but that varied and dodgy path certainly influenced the creation of the protagonist.

Elliot Rook has plenty in his past he would prefer the rest of his profession did not know about.  But being that maverick in par draws him towards having Zara Barnes taken into his chambers in defiance of snobbery and intolerance. And that proves a good decision in time.

In some respects, Rook reminds me a little of Mortimer’s Rumpole but without the humour and with a much rougher edge hiding beneath his silk’s robes.

With Bell drawing on his background we have a good picture of things like growing up in a tough coal mining town and the hangover effects after the mines went but the people stayed.

An underlying current through the story is that things are often not what they seem. And Bell uses that to good effect.

The novel was actually co-authored with Scott Kershaw but for some reason Kershaw’s name is not on the cover.

I liked the story’s construction and drawing things from the past, good and bad. The characters were well drawn in a nicely-paced plot which makes for good reading.

I look forward to reading more of Elliot Rook.


Posted in: Review