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The Child Who

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  698 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
An unimaginable crime and the man who must defend it-a probing psychological thriller from the author of A Thousand Cuts.A chance phone call throws the biggest muder case in southern England into the hands of provincial attorney Leo Curtice. Twelve-year- old Daniel Blake stands accused of murdering an eleven-year-old girl. But who is truly responsible when one child kills ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,548)
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Lou
An engaging story involving a twelve year old boy accused of the murder and rape of a young girl. We follow the solicitor in his taking on of the case and the turmoil and hate he faces representing a young boy accused of murder. The public hate him as they know of his identity and the solicitor is bombarded by hate and finger pointing. His wife and a young daughter soon find themselves having to face problems, due to his high profile and sensitive case. It was an interesting read and gives you a ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
My thoughts on this one were rather mixed. I'll start with the good: the subject matter. The subject and the ethical questions associated with dealing with crimes by youth is fascinating to me. Given the horrid nature of his crimes, should Daniel be tried as an adult? Does his youth mean that he shouldn't be culpable?

Reading this book really made me think about these questions and innumerable others. I also thought, too, about the reactions people had to Daniel's crime. All of the flak that Leo
...more
Lisa
May 12, 2014 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
OK. So I have mixed feelings about this book. I was looking forward to reading a gripping book about a child killer who kills a child. However, it was not gripping at all really....well maybe in small sections here and there but not enough to reflect the though-provoking subject. It never really develops into anything....The way it was written was fairly difficult to understand....when moving from chapter to chapter, the author refers to the characters simply as he or she, so you have to read a ...more
Judy Croome
Aug 14, 2013 Judy Croome rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A taut, excellent thriller, heavily based on the notorious Bulger/Mary Bell murder cases in the UK, Lelic handles a difficult topic bravely. There is no attempt to romanticise his murderer, 12 year old Daniel Blake and his main character, Leo Curtice, a rural attorney who accidentally picks up the trial of the year, is drawn into a complex and sympathetic relationship with the young killer at great personal cost.

Although I did not appreciate the attempt to justify the killer’s actions by blaming
...more
Cleo Bannister
Jul 13, 2014 Cleo Bannister rated it it was amazing
Simon Lelic tackles the emotions aroused when a child kills a child, it aptly starts with Blake Morrison's quote from As If 'The men.... had come wanting to kill the kids who'd killed the kid, because there's nothing worse than killing a kid.

The story centres around Leo Curtice, the provincial solicitor assigned to the case of Daniel Blake a 12 year old boy accused of killing 11 year old Felicity Forbes. Cases like these don't come along very often and Leo thinks he is aware of the spotlight tha
...more
Fred Hughes
Feb 14, 2012 Fred Hughes rated it liked it
This review is based on a free copy of this book supplied to me by the Publisher through the Goodreads First Reader Program

This is the story of the murder of an 11 year old girl by a 12 year old boy. The impact that had on the boy and his family; and the lawyer hired to defend him, and his family.

The main characters in the book are:

Leonard (Leo) Curtice – lawyer for Daniel

Daniel Blake – 12 year old accused murderer

Megan Curtice – Leo’s long suffering wife

Ellie Curtice – Leo’s 15 year old daughte
...more
Lisa Black
Dec 07, 2014 Lisa Black rated it really liked it
The slightly back-and-forth-in-time nature of the chapters (with no indications, so you have to figure out for yourself where that section fits in the timeline) can be a little bit of work, but otherwise I couldn't put this book down. I read it in two days.
Amanda
Jan 22, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it
It is impossible not to draw parallels between this book and the real life case of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The boys, then ten, were convicted of abducting and killing a toddler named James Bulger. The case has been described as iconic. I don't like that word. What is the icon? A confused, bleeding toddler or two pre-pubescent heads on a media plate?

The case raised questions that people keep trying to answer. People for whom the response 'pure evil' is an unfit response. Blake Morrison
...more
Sid Nuncius
Dec 15, 2015 Sid Nuncius rated it really liked it
This is a very engrossing book with a good deal to say about how people react to an appalling crime committed by a twelve-year-old and how it affects not only the victim and the perpetrator and their respective families, but also those in the justice system who become involved.


Simon Lelic generally writes very well in a direct and straightforward style which gives the book a real narrative drive and great power at times, I thought. He tells the story of a local solicitor who ends up representing
...more
Tasmin
Mar 08, 2015 Tasmin rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Max Read
Jul 14, 2014 Max Read rated it it was ok
“A murder mystery novel, unfulfilled”

Simon Lelic hails from Brighton England where he was born in 1976 and where he moved back to after a decade spent in London. He received an MA in history from Exeter and later took a post graduate class in journalism. In addition to his writing, Simon operates an import/export business and has worked as a freelance journalist and in business-to-business publishing. Simon is currently pursuing his interest in writing novels of which he has three: “Rupture”, “T
...more
Joodith
Apr 16, 2014 Joodith rated it did not like it
I'm waiting for the day when I pick up a book and, because it's SO gripping, I read it from beginning to end in one or two days. Unfortunately this isn't the one. It never really develops into anything; we've got characters who are one dimensional, not much detail, but lots of rather dreary, unrealistic conversation and not much of a plot.....well, no plot really. It's a quick read, certainly, but only because there's no substance to it.

Leonard Curtice becomes the defending solicitor in a case s
...more
Hayley
Oct 24, 2012 Hayley rated it it was ok
Twelve year old Daniel brutally murders Eleven year old Felicity. What follows is the fallout of his actions. Focusing on the Solicitor who defends him the story is gripping but unsettling as human emotions and conflict come to the fore.

Similarities to the Jamie Bulger case in Britain are veined throughout, the writer Simon Lelic highlights the raw facts leading to many thought provoking questions. Despite being an uncomfortable read this story is a real page turner.

Ellie
Jan 19, 2012 Ellie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very emotional, the pain of the adults and the child in such an awful situation tangible. No spoiler but the ending was unanticipated. The book raised questions for me about how difficult society finds it to cope with children who kill; the perpetrator is also a victim who deserves compassion.

I strongly recommend that if you feel this book speaks to you, read Gitta Sereny on the case of Mary Bell.
Andy Weston
Sep 12, 2014 Andy Weston rated it really liked it
The potential reader may be deceived into reading this book thinking that it is about a boy who has committed a horrific crime. I was.

This doesn't mean that it is not a good story. Indeed it is a very readable novel. But, similar to Fourth of July Creek, which I read a few weeks ago, it is about the carer, if that is the right word, the person who cares. Pete Snow is a social worker in Fourth of July. And the book is his story. In The Child Who this character is Leo Curtis has been appointed th
...more
Megan Jones
Jul 21, 2014 Megan Jones rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed The Child Who even though the subject matter is grim and not nice to think about, I thought it was still a very good book. I do however agree with some other reviewers that it feels a little fragmented and does not always flow nicely which is why I only gave it 4 stars and not the 5 stars that it should have got. I also feel that towards the end when it started to get really interesting it just ended and I would have liked it to have more in it to explain the aftermath and the c ...more
Kerry
Aug 13, 2012 Kerry rated it really liked it
It took me a while to get in to this book, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, kept wanting to put it down but also wanted to know what happened. I thought it would be scared but, thankfully it wasn't!

Really good book, fabulous ending - not what I expected at all! And it was a really quick read, the chapters flew by quickly.
Plum-crazy
When this story started it had me both totally hooked & feeling such conflicting emotions, initially some surprise sympathy for the young murderer but mainly shock & disgust at the treatment his legal representative...AND his family....received from the general public - I thought I was in for really gripping rollercoaster of a read. Sadly, I didn't feel the momentum was maintained. The story swapped between past & present events but it chopped & changed in a way I found confusing ...more
Nicole Lundrigan
Mar 26, 2012 Nicole Lundrigan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read – left me with lots to consider. Only (very minor) challenge was I found it difficult to get my bearings at the beginning of each chapter. After mulling it over a bit, I'm wondering if that was the intent. That introductory haziness.
Zoe Pillar
Mar 10, 2016 Zoe Pillar rated it liked it
Although very gripping, I found this book slow going in places. In particular, the beginning as the story and characters are introduced. On page 89, things started to speed up as we are introduced to the potentially explosive impact the solicitor Leo Curtice's case has had on his daughter's life. I was at first confused as to when this section was supposed to be taking place, but it became clear that it was set in the future after the legal case involving twelve year-old muderer, Daniel Blake ha ...more
Kim
Aug 09, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-read
Another great read from Simon Lelic. This one is all about solicitor, Leo Curtice, who agrees to defend a 12-year-old boy accused of the rape and murder of schoolmate, Felicity Forbes. Leo's motives appear to be about wanting to make a name for himself and earn the approval, albeit belatedly, of his recently-deceased father. Leo does his best but seems a trifle inept and also ignores the effect that his role has on his wife and daughter, who are vilified and tormented by strangers and schoolmate ...more
Val
Aug 20, 2016 Val rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A twelve-year-old boy sexually abuses and causes the death of a classmate and is charged with murder. The duty legal aid solicitor is appointed to the boy's defence. Various journalists and members of the public react. The book follows the story of the solicitor and his family, with occasional glimpses of the accused.
There are questions around the treatment of child offenders, but unfortunately this book fails to address them, mainly because this is simply not how the UK justice system works. Th
...more
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
This novel deals with the highly emotive subject of the murder of a child by another child. Twelve-year-old Daniel Blake kills eleven-year-old Felicity Forbes. The local solicitor in Exeter assigned to the case, Leo Curtice, has never before handled a case anywhere near so big, nor so inflammatory. The novel does focus on the crime itself, but predominantly it concerns the impact that defending Daniel has on Leo and his family, wife Megan and fifteen-year-old daughter Ellie. Leo is absolute in h ...more
Rebecca Martin
I wanted to like this book more than I did. The narrative is set up so that it goes back and forth in time which, yes, creates suspense, but it also creates unnecessary confusion. Half the time I couldn't figure out where I was in the story and this confusion really didn't seem to serve a purpose. If the story had been told relatively chronologically, there would have been plenty of suspense and still a real surprise at the end. I think that the main thing that made me tired after I had read abo ...more
Andrew Macrae
May 16, 2012 Andrew Macrae rated it really liked it
"The Child Who" by Simon Lelic

A troubled boy kills another child in the English city of Exeter. For Leo Curtice, an ambitious thirty-something lawyer with a small law firm, the case looks like his ticket to the big time. But Leo has no idea of the turmoil about to be unleashed as a community enraged by the killing finds Leo, his wife Megan, and their daughter Ellie an easy target for their anger.

Twelve-year-old Daniel Blake has confessed to the sadistic killing of Felicity Forbes, but now what i
...more
Shannon
I won The Child Who: A Novel in a Goodreads giveaway. In Simon Lelic's novel, Leo Curtice is a solicitor who has the lucky break of answering the phone at the right time to catch a big, career-making case. He'll be representing a twelve year old boy accused of brutally murdering a girl his same age. With the community already having decided on the child's guilt, it soon becomes apparent the hostility Leo will face as he tries to understand his client and searches for reasons why such a tragic an ...more
Amanda
A gruesome murder has thrown a British county up-in-arms, and Leo Curtice finds himself the attorney randomly assigned to defend the murderer--a 12 year old boy who killed and sexually assaulted an 11 year old girl. He finds himself seeking to understand what would make a 12 year old kill and finding more empathy for the boy than those around him think is allowable. Meanwhile, threats start coming in against his own family, including his 15 year old daughter.

This book attempts to be a ripped fro
...more
Kirsty
I have to say that this book was a disappointment to me. The plot made it sound like this was going to be a harrowing and tense read, but the writing style and limp characters end up leaving you feeling frustrated.

The lead character Leo is very poorly written, and for a man that is supposed to be a solicitor I found him very dense! He continues throughout the book to dismiss her wife and daughter's fears surrounding his case, and almost makes them sound neurotic for being concerned about such a
...more
Tony
Jan 31, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
THE CHILD WHO. (2012). Simon Lelic. ****.
This was the author’s second novel, and another fine example of his writing skill. In this tale, a solicitor from a law firm just happens to answer the phone at his office and is told of the need of legal services for a young boy, and is asked to come down to the station. When he gets there, he Daniel Blake, a twelve-year-old boy prime suspect in the murder of a twelve-year-old girl. The murder was particularly horrible; the girl was killed by blunt impa
...more
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Simon Lelic was born in 1976 and has worked as a journalist in the UK and currently runs his own business in Brighton, England, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
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