I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood | Book Review | #IKnowWhatISaw #CrimeFiction

I saw it. He smothered her, pressing his hands on her face. The police don’t believe me, they say it’s impossible – but I know what I saw.

Xander Shute – once a wealthy banker, now living on the streets – shelters for the night in an empty Mayfair flat. When he hears the occupants returning home, he scrambles to hide. Trapped in his hiding place, he hears the couple argue, and he soon finds himself witnessing a vicious murder.

But who was the dead woman, who the police later tell him can’t have been there? And why is the man Xander saw her with evading justice?

As Xander searches for answers, his memory of the crime comes under scrutiny, forcing him to confront his long-buried past and the stories he’s told about himself.

How much he is willing to risk to understand the brutal truth?

Publisher: Raven Books
Format: Ebook, Audio, Hardback, Paperback (10 June 2021)
Pages: 384
Source: Copy received for review


My thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the tour invite and to the publisher for the copy to review. This is the first book I’ve read by Imran Mahmood but having read such good reviews of his debut, You Don’t Know Me, I jumped at the chance of reviewing this for the tour.

Xander Shute is a complex character. He studied at Cambridge, had a successful career as an investment banker and was in a relationship with Grace. But that life is behind him. He is on his own and lives on the streets. What went wrong for him?

When he witnesses the murder of a woman in an Mayfair flat, he is conflicted. He should tell the police, but he shouldn’t have been there, he was trespassing, even if he was only taking shelter from the rain after being attacked. His conscience overules but he wasn’t expecting the response he received from the police.

Xander would seem to be one of the most unreliable narrators I have come across. His fractured memories of his past, involving his troubled relationship with his father and brother Rory, his time with Grace are all mixed up, a recent head injury doesn’t help and at times I was as confused as Xander when he was sifting through his memories trying process what he actually saw and any clues that may identify who the woman was and who killed her.

This character driven story has a slower pace and requires concentration however the payoff is so worth it. Mahmood has created a troubled and tormented protagonist who can be hard to understand but is easy to empathise with.

I Know What I Saw is an intelligent thriller with a clever and multi layered plot that has tension throughout. I was willing Xander on in his quest to discover the truth – about the murder and about himself and hoping he could overcome his demons to find some peace of mind. My first book by this author but definitely not my last. Recommended.

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Imran is a practicing barrister with almost 30 years’ experience fighting cases in court. He hails from Liverpool but now lives in London with his wife and daughters. His debut novel You Don’t Know Me was chosen by Simon Mayo as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice for 2017 and longlisted for Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and for the CWA Gold Dagger, and is currently being adapted for screen in four parts. When not in court or writing novels he can sometimes be found on the Red Hot Chilli Writers’ podcast as one of the regular contributors.



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