Whatever you do, don’t read Chequered Justice if you suffer from a sore neck.
I think I must have shook my head (in utter disbelief) more times than a soggy dog whilst reading it, because the sequence of events and coincidences that result in a court case for the protagonist, Will Middleton, are truly unbelievable.
What makes it all the more astonishing is the fact that the book is inspired by true events, events that made racer-turned-writer John Bartlett’s life a misery through a large chunk of the 1990s.
“I am not permitted to publish my full and factual account of the proceedings,” he advises us within the first couple of pages. “But I am allowed to write a novel or a fiction based on them… what follows therefore, is a novel based purely on personal experience.”
And with that begins John’s – sorry, Will’s – agonising tale, as he finds himself embroiled in a legal battle, having made a dubious insurance claim following a terrible back injury. A fight not only against the insurance company set out to reclaim their losses, but a legal system hell bent on finding him guilty, despite evidence to the contrary.
It’s this that makes Chequered Justice such an addictive read. The book exudes conspiracy and corruption, and will do a thoroughly good job of making you lose faith in the system – a system that appears to be controlled by powerful individuals with agendas that most of us could never envisage.
But how much of what is committed to page is actually true? In the mould of a Dan Brown thriller, therein lies the question. You’ll be asking yourself that on many an occasion as you read through what is a nightmare scenario, the likes of which you wouldn’t want to wish on your own worst enemy.
The book is very well written and the pace is spot on. At no point through the 400 pages does it ever begin to drag and it quickly becomes a proper little page turner. The legal proceedings are explained in excellent detail, as are the racing sequences, which feel so real you could quite easily imagine yourself in the cockpit as a professional racing driver.
In summary, I can’t recommend Chequered Justice enough. It’s a fascinating insight into the world of motor racing and the legal system, and serves as a graphic illustration of what can happen to a typical person when justice is compromised.
It’s definitely more reality than fiction though, isn’t it?