Mystery,  Review

#Review: Clear My Name by Paula Daly

Clear My Name

Clear My Name by Paula Daly
Publication Date: August 8th 2019
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Pages: 304
Stars: ★★★★★

When Carrie was accused of brutally murdering her husband’s lover, she denied it. She denied it when they arrested her, when they put her in front of a jury, and when they sent her to prison.

Now she’s three years into a fifteen-year sentence, away from the daughter she loves and the life she had built. And she is still denying that she is to blame.

Tess Gilroy has devoted her life to righting wrongs. Through her job for Innocence UK, a charity which takes on alleged miscarriages of justice, she works tirelessly to uncover the truth.

But when she is asked to take Carrie’s case, Tess realises that if she is to help this woman, she must risk uncovering the secrets she has struggled a lifetime to hide . . .

We’ve all done things we’re not proud of.

‘Compelling concept, kick-ass characterisation and a gut punch of a sting in the tale.’ LV Hay

***Note: I received digital copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Clear my Name was Crime Thriller, a suspenseful novel that revolved around Tess and Carrie. Carrie spending her 4th year in prison convicted of murder and Tess trying to clear her name. It was about mother-daughter relationship, betrayal, imperfections of human beings, guilt, lies, mistakes made in life, and suffering and turmoil of being alone, away from loved ones.


Tess was as permanent employee of Innocence UK who investigated cases, looked into matters where police failed to and tried to save her client. She had many sides. She was honest, upright, no-nonsense kind, but her personal life was messed up. She had everything job she was good at, money, success but she lived lonely life, afraid to commit to anyone, she felt she didn’t deserve to be in someone life, but why? That why, created a mysterious picture of her. She was flawed, made mistakes in life, and had secrets. But her style was impressive.

Avril was cute. She too was flawed, she was shy in the beginning but turned out clever and strong eventually. Duo of Avril and Tess was perfect. They brought out best in each other.

Carrie was clever woman, filled with emotions, feelings and lots of love for her daughter that made her to live unhappy married life, remain under one roof with a philandering husband and after being accused of murder tried to clear her name by contacting Innocence UK so that she can be with her daughter who needed her. She was unreliable but at the same time it was hard to decide if she was innocent or not. She was amazing character and I liked to read her life story.

All characters were developed, flawed and so very interesting.

What I liked-

Writing was gripping and flawless. The description of murder, characters, evidence, police procedure, and investigation was well presented. Story was third person narrative told in present and past. Present scenario was about the case investigation, Tess’s life and her story and how characters related to case felt or were going through while the past told Carrie’s story, her relation with her husband and daughter, her daughter’s mental health issues and what she did in life to make her feel safe, day of her arrest and what happened then on.

The plot was clever. I liked the theme miscarriage of justice how Innocence UK saves innocents from life long suffering of these miscarriages by overturning wrongful convictions. I was surprised to read how many factors affected the cases- lousy police work, missing evidence, lab blunders, and forensic screw ups -and decided the life of a person weather person is culprit or victim or someone totally innocent.

Book started with introduction of Tess, Innocence UK, and its advisory panel, why they were considering Carrie’s case, the case details and how Tess will work on case with her trainee Averi on Carrie’s case. It was all so interesting hooked me instantly to the book.

Whole book was around one question, was Carrie innocent? Can Tess clear her name with no other suspect and with all evidences against her? And then there were other mysteries, a car following Tess, her past life catching up as soon as she set foot in Morecambe to investigate Carrie’s case, what happened in Tess ‘s life, from what she was running away and why she never allowed anyone to love her back.

It was not usual thriller. Story progressed slow and steady. From the very beginning you get this feeling, something is amiss in this case, things were not adding up. Carrie felt unreliable, the feeling of either she was lying or holding something back was always there. What baffled me most was, Carrie was living with her husband even though she knew he was unfaithful. Mia also felt unreliable. I still couldn’t figure out if she really was anxious person.

Events took interesting turn when Tess got a letter from her solicitor. I thought all kind of scenario, made many theories, why she was staying away from her hometown but that letter was out-of-box. Investigation was interesting, some evidences going in favor of Carrie while others against her and then there were dead end.  

Suspense was wonderful. Author did awesome job with characters and mystery. It kept me flipping the pages until last chapter, until I knew who the murderer was, until I knew what Tess’ story was. It was shocking to read the revelation. I kept thinking what would I do if I was in Tess’ place, would I have done the same, wouldn’t anybody come forward and help, and more shocking was to read why killer murdered Ella and what happened in the end. It was all so well thought and well written.

Overall, it was gripping, suspenseful, thought-provoking mystery thriller with realistic characters and clever plot. I would love to read other books by author.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have you read a book having wrongful conviction arc? Recommend me your favorite book in this genre?


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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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