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The Child Who

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  919 ratings  ·  159 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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Average rating 3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  919 ratings  ·  159 reviews

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Laura Rash
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW! I didn’t see that ending coming at all! For once!! Now I have hope again that there are still original books with the capability of stumping me! After reading this & The House, I’m reading all of SL books!
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
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Penguin Books

Pages - 303

Blurb from Goodreads

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 another? As Curtice sets out to defend the
Jul 22, 2012 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
Diane S ☔
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book starts off with a sort of celebration, as Leo had been assigned, by a judge what he considers the biggest case of his career. A child killing another child and from there the tension in the book does not let up. Lelic does not shy away from difficult subjects and his books are not for the faint of heart. This book is dark and gritty but has an underlying message pointing out the defects in our justice system and how easy it is to judge without fully being aware of the facts. Leo takes t ...more
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 at times.

The e
Erin Wolak
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: paperback
I started this book hoping for an intense murder/mystery/why'd he do it novel and walked away with a semi-mediocre drama. The synopsis makes it sound like the reader will be watching the discovery of why the twelve year-old child murdered the eleven year old girl unfold, yet in reality all you really get is to witness how the community treats the public defender and his family because of his involvement with the case. There is really little said about the actual murder itself so you are left wit ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Great plot idea, and it kept me slightly interested; but the writing was muh and the main character was an idiot. I kept waiting for the book to end with him waking up in a mental ward having a psychotic break. There were only two reasons why I did not DNF this book. 1. The writer is so praised I wanted to give it a fair shot. 2. The writing is so simple it made for a fast read. I also really wanted to like it because the cover is pretty and I wanted a reason to keep the book.
Fred Hughes
Feb 07, 2012 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
Angelique Simonsen
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
easy to fall into ... ending was good
Judy Croome
Aug 14, 2013 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
Sharon Bolton
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simon Lelic seems compelled to ask why. (He was probably a very annoying toddler.) His books are neither mysteries nor thrillers in the traditional sense, but rather explorations of the escalating pressures that can drive an ordinary person to commit an act of extraordinary evil. RUPTURE considered the aftermath of a mass shooting in a secondary school. THE CHILD WHO takes place in the weeks and months following the savage murder of one child by another in the same community.

Our main character,
Cleopatra  Pullen
Dec 31, 2013 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
Jan 17, 2012 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.
Oct 24, 2012 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.

Aug 13, 2012 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.
Nicole Lundrigan
Feb 29, 2012 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. ...more
Lisa Black
Dec 07, 2014 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. ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
In Simon Lelic’s gripping novel The Child Who, 12-year-old Daniel Blake has murdered 11-year-old Felicity Forbes. The act is inexplicable, morally repugnant and by any standard indefensible, and yet Daniel, having been arrested, is entitled to a defence. By chance, the case lands on the desk of solicitor Leonard (Leo) Curtice. Leo, intimidated by the heinous nature of the offence, initially approaches Daniel tentatively, expecting a monster. But it is not long before he is seduced by Daniel’s yo ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This book seemed to have a lot of potential, but such a lot going on that it ending up being way to vague.
It flicked from one part of the story to another and I felt like there were gaps to the story the reader needed to fill themselves.
Was quite a controversial subject to cover, especially focusing on defending an admitted 12 year old murderer and trying to get the reader to sympathise with this character. I often thought that the second part to the story - where his daughter allegedly got abdu
Merissa Long
May 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
What is a society's responsibility when a child commits murder? What does justice mean--for the victims, the accused, the community? Lelic examines these questions in a frantic thriller focusing on the defense lawyer assigned to represent a juvenile murder suspect. The narrative hurtles almost too quickly toward disaster, perhaps intentionally echoing the speed with which the court system seeks to wash its hands of this problematic child. Plot and dialogue do all the work in this novel, while ch ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michayla Smith
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was gripped from the start. I loved the way this book was written, how it jumped from past to present. The only downside is some of the characters. I found they were flat. It seemed like some of their reactions weren’t normal. They either overreacted or didn’t react enough. They weren’t as believable as they should have been, however I loved the story and I felt compelled to reach the end, even if it did annoy me a bit.
Cristina Reid
Scary that society has this it is a story of children and some do terribly irreversible acts.
Sadly as it is so ethically against societies moral they see the child as evil, and they have not stood a chance at all. It seems as evil not why the child becomes like this and commits the murder, hidden by parents teachers and social workers and doctors often still today.

I marvel at the author who can write this
Danielle Dent
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
June Jones
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Child killer Daniel who is 12yrs old and his solicitor Leo who Is trying to find a clue in his background as to why he would kill a young girl in such a horrific way, his family in the meantime suffer harassment, and eventually the relationship disintegrates with the disappearance of his own daughter.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Novel about the disastrous effects on the protagonist, Leo, and his family when he decides to defend a 12 year old murder suspect. One of the central themes is "I'm sorry", and the novel explores its inadequacy to encompass the full spectrum of emotions, especially guilt. Yet, it is sometimes the only phrase that can be uttered. ...more
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I sped through this in a couple of evenings - truly absorbed into it. It tells you the brutalities without being graphic. You can understand both the good and the dark sides of this, even if you really don't want to. ...more
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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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