Series: Daniel Pitt #1
Published by Ballantine Books on April 10, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Mystery
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FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Anne Perry’s Twenty-One Days is the first book in a new series that follows Daniel Pitt, junior barrister and son of Detective Thomas Pitt (from Perry’s popular Thomas Pitt series). When the novel opens, Daniel has minimal experience in the courtroom and yet somehow finds himself assigned to defend a famous client, biographer Russell Graves, who is charged with having murdered his wife. When the trial doesn’t go well and Graves ends up sentenced to death even though he insists that he is innocent, Daniel is given twenty-one days to find out what really happened and file an appeal. If he can’t find something in those twenty-one days, Graves will be executed.
It’s a race against the clock that takes Daniel in a direction he never expected to go in, one that could ruin the reputation of London’s Special Police Branch, where Daniel’s beloved father works as a detective.
Will Daniel find the truth? Will the truth free or condemn his client? How does the Special Police Branch fit into the picture?
First, let me start by saying that even though the Daniel Pitt series is a spin-off series from Anne Perry’s popular Thomas Pitt series (Daniel is Thomas’ son and is still a child in the earlier series), it can still easily be enjoyed as a standalone. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything relevant by not having read the earlier series. That said, however, I enjoyed this book so much and was intrigued enough by every mention of Thomas Pitt that, at some point, I may go back and read the Thomas Pitt series.
Daniel Pitt was absolutely my favorite part of Twenty-One Days. I found him to be witty and charming, which made him a fun character to follow, but at the same time, I also loved how naïve and unsure of himself he could be at times because he’s brand new to his chosen profession and has been thrown into this huge case by chance. I’m always a sucker for a likeable underdog and that description fits Daniel to a T. Daniel had many qualities that I found endearing, such as his fierce loyalty to his father. But even as devoted as he is to his father, Daniel is still determined to find out the truth to see if it could help his client, even if the truth could possibly turn out to be something Daniel ultimately doesn’t want to hear because it could negative impact the Special Police Branch and by extension, his father. I really admired that he was willing to make such tough choices.
In addition to Daniel, I also really liked the secondary characters, so much so that I hope they will all continue to play active roles in future books. There’s Kitteridge, the senior barrister that Daniel gets partnered with on his big case. At first these two are like oil and water because Kitteridge feels put out that he has to work alongside this newbie on such a major case, but they eventually come together as a pretty dynamic duo when it comes to working all aspects of the case in and out of the courtroom.
Then there’s Miriam, who adds a touch of Feminism to the story. She has gone to medical school and studied to become what we would probably now consider to be a Medical Examiner, but because she’s a woman, she was never awarded an actual degree. She’s clearly a little bitter about this but is excited when she is called upon to help Daniel with his case. Miriam is smart, tough, funny, and I think she and Daniel may have a bit of a mutual attraction going on. It’s subtle but adorable, and I would totally ship it if they do in fact become a couple.
In addition to this fun cast of characters, the setting of Twenty-One Days also very much appealed to me. It’s set in London in the 1910’s, and the author does a wonderful job of capturing the time period and the location. Although this book is set a bit later than Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, I still got a bit of Sherlock Holmes vibe as I was reading it. I love the Sherlock Holmes series, so this was definitely a plus for me.
I’m kind of a CSI junkie so one of my favorite elements of this book was the forensic science that comes into play. With the story being set in the 1910’s, we’re still in the very early days of fingerprints, etc. so sometimes it could be risky to try to introduce a science that was still so little understood. I loved the tension that the use of forensics actually added to the story because Daniel and his scientist friend Miriam have to find just the right balance – they need to explain how fingerprints work in such a way that there is no misunderstanding how the science works but without coming across as condescending to the jury. The last thing Daniel needs to do is alienate the group of people who hold his client’s fate in their hands.
And speaking of Daniel’s client and his case, the mystery in this first book was really solid too. It had lots of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and kept me on the edge of my seat for much of the book.
The only real issue I had was that occasionally, especially in the early pages, the pacing was a little slow. I’m chalking it up to all of the setting the stage that is in involved in starting a new series and introducing all of the major characters, etc. Once I settled into the story though, it moved along at a nice, steady pace.
Twenty-One Days is a solid first book in Perry’s new series. I think fans of the earlier Thomas Pitt series will enjoy seeing young Daniel all grown up, but I also think that those who have never read about the Pitt family before will enjoy this new series just as well. The characters are well drawn and it’s a lot of fun watching them come together as a team. I look forward to continuing the series and watching them work their way through more twists and turns to uncover the truth on future cases.
In this first book in a new series, Thomas Pitt’s son Daniel races to save his client from execution, setting him against London’s Special Police Branch.
It’s 1910, and Daniel Pitt is a reluctant lawyer who would prefer to follow in the footsteps of his detective father. When the biographer Russell Graves, who Daniel is helping defend, is sentenced to execution for the murder of his wife, Daniel’s Pitt-family investigative instincts kick in, and he sets out to find the real killer. With only twenty-one days before Graves is to be executed, Daniel learns that Graves is writing a biography of Victor Narraway, the former head of Special Branch and a close friend of the Pitts. And the stories don’t shed a positive light. Is it possible someone is framing Graves to keep him from writing the biography–maybe even someone Daniel knows in Special Branch?
The only answer, it seems, lies in the dead woman’s corpse. And so, with the help of some eccentric new acquaintances who don’t mind bending the rules, Daniel delves into an underground world of dead bodies and double lives, unearthing scores of lies and conspiracies. As he struggles to balance his duty to the law with his duty to his family, the equal forces of justice and loyalty pull this lawyer-turned-detective in more directions than he imagined possible. And amidst it all, his client’s twenty-one days are ticking away.