Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Lightning Books
Launch date: August 2017
A SUNDAY TIMES CRIME CLUB PICK
“A first-rate courtroom drama” – Daily Mail
A 15-year-old schoolboy is accused of the brutal murder of one of his teachers.
His lawyers – the guarded veteran, Judith, and the energetic young solicitor, Constance – begin a desperate pursuit of the truth, revealing uncomfortable secrets about the teacher and the school.
But Judith has her own secrets which she risks exposing when it is announced that a new lie-detecting device, nicknamed Pinocchio, will be used during the trial. And is the accused, a troubled boy who loves challenges, trying to help them or not?
The Pinocchio Brief is a gripping courtroom thriller which confronts our assumptions about truth and our increasing reliance on technology.
“Pinocchio takes lie detection to another level.”
He tapped his laptop mouse, exaggeratedly, and a second image filled the screen. The word “Pinocchio” appeared at the top in bold red letters and beneath it was the Disney version of Pinocchio’s face, replete with extended nose, sprouting leaves and a bird’s nest at the very end with two feathered inhabitants. Underneath it read “the LIE is as plain as the nose on your face”. The audience giggled politely.
“Now, in the story, when Pinocchio told lies his nose grew. That isn’t quite what happens here. This Pinocchio, my Pinocchio software, watches how people move, not what they say but how they say it and it works out all by itself whether someone is telling the truth or not. No wires, no time wasting, no training. Just sit those criminals in front of the screen and let Pinocchio ‘read’ their faces. The report is ready straight away, every word assessed for truthfulness, every lie exposed.”
“Intelligently conceived and cleverly constructed – topical, relevant and engaging.”
Ted Childs, creator of Kavanagh QC
“An evocative and gripping thriller, where present day meets the technology of the near future. Abi Silver raises startling questions about the dependence and interdependence of technology in our lives in this pacy courtroom drama.”
Maha Khan Phillips, author of The Curse of Mohenjodaro
“You may not have heard of Abi Silver, but if her new book The Pinocchio Brief is anything to go by, you soon will have done.”
“A refreshing debut from a former lawyer – a first-rate courtroom drama”
“Pinocchio is the name of a newly developed device that detects lies and which the government has decided to use in law courts. It is supposed to perceive and interpret facial expression and body language, its conclusions providing more accurate judgements than any jury could reach. Regarding this machine as infallible is a dangerous and plausible idea that is central to this fascinating tale... This is a good read and an excellent first novel.”
Would artificial intelligence put an end to miscarriages of justice or simply cause new problems? Ayo Onatade of the crime e-zine Shots looks at the ethical issues raised in The Pinocchio Brief.
Abi Silver assures Crime Time there is nothing far-fetched about the revolutionary lie-detection technology in The Pinocchio Brief.