Paperback

Published: Lightning Books (July 2019)

ISBN: 9781785631276

The Cinderella Plan

Abi Silver

£8.99

When the only thing worse than being found guilty...
is being found not guilty

‘Tense thriller wrought from a cutting-edge subject’ – Times Crime Club

James Salisbury, the owner of a British car manufacturer, ploughs his ‘self-drive’ car into a young family, with deadly consequences. Will the car’s ‘black box’ reveal what really happened or will the industry, poised to launch these products to an eager public, close ranks to cover things up?

James himself faces a personal dilemma. If it is proved that he was driving the car he may go to prison.   But if he is found innocent, and the autonomous car is to blame, the business he has spent most of his life building, and his dream of safer transport for all, may collapse.

Lawyers Judith Burton and Constance Lamb team up once again, this time to defend a man who may not want to go free, in a case that asks difficult questions about the speed at which technology is taking over our lives.

TWO FOR THREE OFFER: Order all three Burton & Lamb courtroom thrillers for the price of two (free UK p&p). Just enter the discount code SILVER when you reach the checkout

Extracts

Bertie Layton, aged three years and one month, standing at the 65th percentile for height, maybe a touch more for weight (‘he is a good eater’ his grandmother would frequently comment when he finished off his sister’s unwanted scraps), was tired of waiting in the central reservation. He craved the Freddo chocolate bar Therese, his mother, had promised him ‘if he was good’ on the way home. He wanted to race his Hot Wheels car around the track his father had constructed for him the previous day and try, independently, to make it loop the loop; and, more than anything else, he was desperate to be able to move his arms and legs freely after spending most of the day confined indoors.

read more...

Extracts

10th October

1  

Bertie Layton, aged three years and one month, standing at the 65th percentile for height, maybe a touch more for weight (‘he is a good eater’ his grandmother would frequently comment when he finished off his sister’s unwanted scraps), was tired of waiting in the central reservation. He craved the Freddo chocolate bar Therese, his mother, had promised him ‘if he was good’ on the way home. He wanted to race his Hot Wheels car around the track his father had constructed for him the previous day and try, independently, to make it loop the loop; and, more than anything else, he was desperate to be able to move his arms and legs freely after spending most of the day confined indoors.

Sensing a momentary lapse in his mother’s attention and grip, he’d removed his hand from his mouth, where it had been languishing, and clutched the two vertical bars of the pram which contained his baby sister, Ruby. Next, he’d slipped his back foot from the shiny plate of the buggy board onto the ground and he used it now to propel himself and the pram forwards into the road.

It was partly a test, pushing the boundaries, as three-year-olds often do (and Bertie more than most). And although he would not have been able to articulate it, being such a little boy, Bertie wanted to feel, once more, that glorious surge of his heart in his chest that accompanied these improvised scooter rides, the adventure amplified by his father’s past whisperings that this was somehow a dangerous activity, the pounding only subsiding later. Sometimes he drifted off to sleep, imagining himself on a giant superhero skateboard, cavorting around the house, his sister in hot pursuit.

Georgia followed her brother, as best she could, with her mother’s arm restraining her. Even though she was older, Bertie was the bolder of the two. ‘He’s the one who encouraged her,’ Therese would complain, exasperated, to her husband, Neil, when another of Bertie’s schemes left Georgia in trouble, while he emerged unscathed. ‘He doesn’t see danger,’ Therese would lament, and Neil would smile proudly and shrug. ‘I don’t think you do when you’re three years old. I’d rather have him this way than timid and scared of his shadow.’

So, Bertie would lead the way across a fallen log, his speed and sheer willpower conveying him to the other side. Georgia, in contrast, would hesitate midway, wobble and then find herself pitched off into whatever water or mud the enticing trunk was straddling.

Even tame pastimes often ended in tears. Playing bowls in the garden, Bertie’s erratic throws would just as often miss as score a spectacular knock-out. But when a frustrated Georgia tried to up her game, she would hold the ball too long and it would plunge down onto her head or toe.

To be fair to Bertie, it wasn’t always his fault that Georgia got hurt; good fortune seemed to follow him around. Like the time he thrust his nose into a pink, rambling rose, drinking up its scent with a broad grin. When Georgia copied, she disturbed a queen bee and ended up being chased around the garden, screaming.

So, lively, luck-kissed Bertie, often-dirty Bertie and sometimes- flirty Bertie, after a snatched, sly glance at his mother, plunged  himself and the baby into the road, with Georgia in pursuit.

Therese, behind the children, but scrambling to catch them, was clipped first by the right-hand side of the bumper of the large blue car. She was hit mid-way up her thigh, her body crumpling inwards and folding over the bonnet. Its momentum carried her up onto the windscreen, where her elbow struck the glass, shattering the bone before she thudded, limp and ragged at the roadside. As she lapsed into darkness, the blue of its bodywork triggered a distant memory of the curtains which had hung in her bedroom as a young girl.

Georgia, taller than Bertie, but light and feathery, with one hand outstretched to grab her brother, was knocked high up into the air and landed just short of the concrete barrier, her head hitting the pavement with a resounding ‘thwack’ which cleaved her skull in two. Bertie, keen to be first across the road was last to be hit, his left arm splintering before he creased over and fell beneath the wheels; two tons of high-tensile strength steel passing over his diminutive body, crushing out his life, his fingers still wet, as they rapped the pavement lightly once, before falling still.

The car came to a halt just short of where Georgia lay, its wheels twisted, its windscreen smashed, its former gleaming chrome grin now ragged and droopy. Its occupant, James Salisbury, aged  fifty-nine years and three months, hovering just below the six- foot mark and, at twelve stone, carrying the same weight as he did at twenty-one, was first thrown forwards then back then forwards again, his brain shifting in the opposite direction to his body, in a textbook coup contre-coup, before coming to rest against the inflated airbag.

Only the pram lay intact. When Bertie was struck, it had been sent into a violent spin. Now it rested, upright, part in the gutter, part clambering its way back up to normality, rocking gently forward and back, its occupant blinking her eyes once, twice, before letting out a tentative cry, which quickly became more persistent when no one came.

quotes

‘It is Abi Silver’s imaginative touches as well as her thorough legal knowledge that make her courtroom thrillers stand out’

Jake Kerridge

reviews

‘Who will be to blame in the event of an accident? The person inside the car? The car manufacturer itself? The software engineers? All these questions and more are bought into sharp focus by Abi Silver’

Daily Telegraph

‘Was the man in the driving seat or the car itself responsible for the fatal accident? And is it the AI or the flaws of the humans involved in creating it that poses the greater danger? Tense thriller wrought from a cutting-edge subject’

Times Crime Club

‘The Burton and Lamb series always provides excellent courtroom moments and a thoughtful exploration of an area of life where technology is likely to make a big difference in the not-so-far-off future’

Crime Review

‘Abi Silver has carved a niche exploring the moral and practical issues thrown up by technology, and how the law responds. She is adept at turning complex legal debate into compelling legal thrillers ...If The Cinderella Plan finds its way on to your holiday reading list, expect to deliver a favourable verdict’

Jewish Chronicle

‘A highly complex story which the author expertly unravels…Recommended’

Promoting Crime Fiction

‘Riveting… It has opened my eyes to the appeal of a courtroom thriller, particularly one as engaging and well researched as this. It’s honestly a must-read’

Off the Record

‘Interesting, engrossing and a page-turner, The Cinderella Plan is a must-read book of this year’

The Book Decoder

‘An intense and compelling read, posing large questions of guilt and blame’

Northern Reader

‘A complex and thrilling case’

Feed the Crime

‘I love Abi Silver’s legal thrillers – very modern central themes with a wonderful old-school feel. The Cinderella Plan is a brilliant page-turner. Three books into this series and I am most definitely along for the ride. I’ll drive myself, though…’

Liz Loves Books

‘The opening chapter left me stunned, totally and utterly stunned… I’ve read all of Abi Silver’s books now and I’ve enjoyed all three. She has a knack of creating thought-provoking technological-based cases. I cannot wait to see what she thinks of next’

A Knight’s Reads

‘The Cinderella Plan is utterly captivating. I flew through this really thought-provoking book which makes you think about the direction technology is taking us in. It is my first read from Abi Silver and it most certainly won’t be my last. I’m really impressed and highly recommending this’

Jessica Belmont

‘Top quality writing, a fantastic story that will have you turning the pages furiously. Read it! You will not be disappointed’

Berty Boy 123

‘A considered, thought-provoking and compelling story whose relevance may yet be revealed’

Shaun Baines

‘Thoroughly enjoyable, very highly recommended and isn’t that a fantastic cover!’

Donna’s Book Blog

‘I enjoyed the story from start to finish. Abi Silver delicately balances the legal nature of the plot with the exploration of human sensibilities’

Trails of Tales

‘The more of the story I read, the more addicted to the book I became. Parts of the story had me gasping out loud or closing my eyes so I couldn’t see what was about to happen next’

Ginger Book Geek

‘If you’re looking for an authentic courtroom drama with some thrilling twists which raises some interesting questions, then this is for you’

Bucks, Books & Beyond

‘Another brilliant book by Abi Silver with the perfect court pairing of Judith Burton and Constance Lamb’

Rea’s Reads

‘I loved the vibrant writing style that makes this an exciting techno thriller that you have to read’

Reading is Dreaming

‘A must-read with some brilliant twists. I couldn’t put this court drama down’

Book Read 2 Day

‘A clever, very interesting read’

Nicki’s Book Blog

‘A wonderful book. I honestly couldn’t put it down’

Baby Dolls and Razorblades

‘If you like reading books that examine puzzles from all angles and attempt to answer unanswerable questions then this may be right up your street’

Book Lover Worm

‘An intriguing, occasionally terrifying (for a Luddite like me) future glimpse into the crossover between AI and everyday life. An absolute barnstormer of a thriller’

Rachel Read It

‘I enjoyed this story with its continued added twists. The Cinderella Plan was an immensely intriguing introduction into the legal thriller world’

Jera’s Jamboree

‘A fantastic book of morals, politics and technology. Abi Silver has opened my mind to a whole set of issues which I had never considered’

Sandie’s Book Shelves

extras

Abi Silver talks about the potential dangers of driverless cars on TRT World’s Roundtable show.

ABOUT

Abi Silver

Abi Silver was born in Leeds and is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first courtroom thriller featuring the legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, The Pinocchio Brief, was published by Lightning Books in 2017 and was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. Her follow-up The Aladdin Trial, featuring the same legal team, was published in 2018.

Read more about Abi and her work at www.abisilver.co.uk.

leave a comment