Radio 2 Book Club: You Don't Know Me

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You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood will be featured on the Radio 2 Book Club on Monday 5 June.

We have the chance for you to win 10 copies of this unique debut thriller for your reading group. Please enter by Friday 9 June.

Not yet a member of Reading Groups for Everyone? Sign up now.

We also have an exclusive extract available for you to read as well as a discussion questions for your reading group.

You Don’t Know Me

An unnamed defendant is accused of murder. Before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and gives his own defence.

His barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But if he’s going to go down for life, he wants to tell the truth.

As he talks us through the evidence, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must listen to his story.

His defence raises many questions. But in the end, only one matters: Did he do it?

Selection panel review

The Reading Agency and library panel loved You Don’t Know Me – here are some of their comments:

“This was a superb read – engaging and well written. I spent a weekend trying to get back to this book at every available opportunity. It’s hard hitting, it’s gritty, it is engaging and I didn’t want to put it down.”

“This is a fast-paced crime thriller, told entirely in the first person by a young man on trial for murder. The narrative voice of the nameless protagonist is what makes the novel memorable and adds authenticity. It is a view from the inside out, which is rare in crime fiction, and one which manages largely to avoid stereotypes and gratuitous violence.”

About the author

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Imran Mahmood is a Criminal defence barrister with over twenty years’ experience in the Crown Court and Court of Appeal. He specialises in Legal Aid cases involving crimes such as murder and other serious violence as well as fraud and sexual offences. He was born in Liverpool and now lives in London with his wife and daughter.

A word from Imran

“I am so delighted and excited that You Don’t Know Me has been chosen for the Radio 2 Book Club, (I mean – who doesn’t LOVE Radio 2 Book Club?!) and honoured to be featured on Reading Groups for Everyone. This is my debut novel and to have such incredible support from both feels to me as if I have hit a kind of literary jackpot!

When a defendant tells his story to a jury, it is usually his story told through the filter of his barrister. Much is gained by that (the story becomes distilled to its legal and factual essence – often with some beauty) but much is lost. The defendant’s voice evaporates, his experience becomes diluted and the things that he holds as his central truths alter in the gravity of the lawyer’s delivery. In my book, the defendant chooses to give his own closing speech. He invites you into his life and his confidence and into the jury box to judge him. When stones are turned, nasties lurk but he wants to explain that there, in that spot is where life is lived.

When I was 14 and 15 and 16 and 17 and 18 and I think a few years after that too, I spent ALL my free time in the library. The library was my sanctuary. The library was the place I could go to meet every famous person I ever wanted to meet. Elvis, Maupassant, Harper Lee, Letts Revise O’ level Chemistry (that last one might not be a person). People are described as open or closed books. But to me every book was a person. Every one had a story to share about their ‘lives’. I wanted my book to be one of those library ‘people’ – a book with a story to tell. The library made me want to write. Yay to all libraries!”

Get involved

Tune in to Simon Mayo’s Drivetime show on Monday 5 June to hear a live interview with Imran.

Have you read You Don’t Know Me? You can share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #YouDontKnowMe.

You can also see what other readers thought or add the book to your group’s reading list.

Want to find out more? Take a look at the Radio 2 Book Club Twitter feed or find out more on the Radio 2 Book Club website.

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