I am so impressed with Hot Key Books; The marketing campaign for this book was so good – I saw lots of things saying Text Live or Die- and the promotional copy of the book with the cell door overlay was really interesting. I want that copy, sob.
From the blurb:
Should she live or die? You decide
An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.
Now Justice must prevail.
The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions – all for the price of a phone call.
Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?
At the start of the book we are introduced to Martha, who is 16 years old and pleading guilty to the murder of Jackson Paige, millionaire, philanthropist, and celebrity.
The justice system in the UK has been completely overhauled in this universe, and now operates as a reality TV show, Death is Justice, where audiences can phone in to vote whether the accused is guilty or innocent.
The accused are held in 7 cells; they start in cell 1 and are moved across to the next cell until they get to cell 7. Cell 7 contains the electric chair that will execute the accused, if they are found guilty.
Throughout the week, the show broadcasts information about the crime, hosts panels of “experts” and tells the audience everything they need to know to make a decision and cast their vote.
Through the eyes of Martha, her designated counsellor Eve, and the hosts of the show we get to see that the audiences are being manipulated. Death is Justice is far from being democratic. The information presented to audiences is edited, biased and withheld. When only the wealthy can afford to cast votes, it is the people from the poorest areas who are suffering, and someone needs to make a stand.
Did Martha really kill Jackson Paige, and if she did, what was her motivation?
This was a terrifying premise. I’m sorry, but I am not a fan of reality tv “talent” shows, and the thought of the people who vote for those shows making decisions about law and order makes me shudder.
This also really made me think about the Meredith Kercher murder and Amanda Knox’s trial by media.
The law enforcement agencies in this book don’t really investigate the murder of Jackson Paige, they share the bare minimum of information with the public and don’t explain why the CCTV cameras weren’t working the night of his murder.
The reasons for Martha’s confession and what actually happened to Paige become apparent halfway through the book, but it’s still really tense. You don’t know if Martha will be executed until the last 20 pages of the book, which keeps you speeding through til the end.
Let me know if you plan on reading this book.