Book Review: The Trial by John Mayer (@johnmayerauthor) #RBRT #Urban Scottish Crime

The author of The Trial was an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland, and he made good use of his knowledge of the Scottish legal system in this, his first book in the Parliament House Series.

Glaswegian Brogan McLane is a member of the Faculty of Advocates in Parliament House after being called to the Bar of the Scottish Supreme Court. He is an outsider, having spent years of university education and legal training to reach his position, rather than being handed his judicial office from his father. The other members of the Faculty of Advocates come from a rich and entitled tight-knit community, having grown up in each other’s company from an early age. Brogan, by contrast, comes from a murky background. So who better to frame for the death of High Court Judge Lord Aldounhill, found dead after a transvestite party in his sumptuous home.  Brogan is the perfect scapegoat to set up to take the fall, hiding the real killer.

The author takes us skillfully through the trumped-up charges, the holes in the rigged investigation, and the trial, which with a bad outcome can send Brogan away for life. The investigation is continually thwarted by corruption and evil within the Supreme Court.  It is not enough that the police officer leading the investigation, Commander Imrie, and Jimmy Robertson, the oldest Queen’s court officer in Parliament House and the provider of inside information, both believe Brogan is innocent. It is up to Brogan’s friends, who live largely on the other side of the law, to provide him with the help he needs to face the power of the nefarious forces within the Court.

I had a great time reading The Trial. It offered a unique setting for a crime novel, and the author provided plenty of twists and turns to keep me turning pages. The treacherous connivance of the members of ‘the system’ set my blood to boil in this good vs evil tale. The characters were enjoyable – even the vilest of the characters were limned in three-dimensions. The steaminess of the crime was presented tastefully as was the (limited) sex. I particularly enjoyed being educated on the Scottish legal system, although I had to refer frequently to the Glossary of Terms and am still not sure I understand the court organization.  I also had to read the Scottish dialect carefully – it added to the richness of the story, but not being familiar with it, I found some of it confusing. None of this detracted from a darned good ride. Great story, excellent plot – I recommend The Trial.

About the author (from Amazon)

John Mayer was born in Glasgow, Scotland at a time of post-WW2 austerity. But in 1963, when he heard The Beatles on Radio Caroline, his life path was set. Aged 14 he walked out of school because, in his opinion, he wasn’t being well taught. Every day for the next year, in all weathers, he cycled 9 miles to and 9 miles from the Mitchell Library in central Glasgow where he devoured books of all kinds. He became an apprentice engineer and was soon teaching men two and three times his age. In the 1970s he changed careers, setting out to become a Record Producer. He built his own record company trading in 14 countries. After a disheartening court battle with global giants, he went to the University of Edinburgh and became an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland. There he represented the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialty was in fighting international child abduction. As an author, Mayer has written non-fiction, legal texts and articles; broadcasting to tens of millions of people on US and UK radio, TV and print media.

The Trial is the first novel in his Parliament House Books series. Set in Edinburgh, it’s an homage to Franz Kafka’s book of the same title.

You can find John Mayer

At his website:

On Twitter: @johnmayerauthor

On Amazon:



16 thoughts on “Book Review: The Trial by John Mayer (@johnmayerauthor) #RBRT #Urban Scottish Crime”

  1. Okay, as a writer living in Scotland, this one will have to go on my TBR! Thanks for great intro. (But I’m wondering if the author’s bio is even more interesting than his book.)

  2. I always like to read about a new series. Mr. Mayer certainly has a rich background. Lately I’ve had this thing about Scotland so this could be a good choice for me! Love the cover, too!

    1. Perhaps you know more about the Scottish legal system than I. That was the only thing a bit confusing about the book, although the author did have a glossary, The story was great.

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