Leading QC Gary Bell launches new legal crime series inspired by his own life / Beyond Reasonable Doubt (Raven Books, 13 June)

Elliot Rook QC is one of the greatest barristers of his generation. He is also a complete fraud. Rook is not the Old-Etonian, Oxford graduate he pretends to be. In fact, he is an ex-petty criminal with a past that he has spent decades keeping secret…

Gary Bell really has used his own life as inspiration for his fiction, including pretending to be an old Etonian in order to fit in with his colleagues and progress his career…

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Elliot Rook, QC: Book 1

By Gary Bell (and Scott Kershaw)

13 June 2019 / Hardback / Raven Books / £12.99

Elliot Rook QC is one of the greatest barristers of his generation. He is also a complete fraud.

Unbeknown to the high society of the Inns of Court surrounding him, Rook is not the Old-Etonian, Oxford graduate he pretends to be. In fact, he is an ex-petty criminal with a past that he has spent decades keeping secret.

Until now…

A young woman has been found murdered on the outskirts of Rook’s home town. Billy Barber a violent football hooligan and white supremacist – is accused of her murder. Barber is insisting that Rook defend him. If Rook refuses, Barber will expose him, bringing crashing to the ground the life and career that Rook has spent his life building. Rook must now team up with Zara Barnes, the state-school-educated apprentice dismissed out of hand by his snobbish legal counterparts, but in whom Rook sees a special talent.

The truth is there for the finding.

But at what cost?

Talking points:

  • Gary used his own life as inspiration for his fiction (including pretending to be an Old Etonian)
  • Social diversity at the Bar
  • Cuts in legal aid and the knock-on effects
  • Crime and its causes

Born into a coal mining family, Gary Bell QC left school without any qualifications and was an apprentice mechanic, fork lift truck driver, production line worker, builder, fireman and door-to-door salesman, as well as a notorious football hooligan, before being arrested for fraud aged 18. After a brief stint in prison he set off to seek fame and fortune abroad and, after two years drifting around Europe ended up penniless and homeless. He next enrolled in a FE College to study his O and A levels, and then went on to study law as a mature student at Bristol University where he ‘became’ an Old Etonian. After graduating he spent a year as a litigation lawyer in Beverly Hills before coming back to England to become a barrister. He has spent over thirty years at the Bar, specialising in defending in major fraud and murder trials, becoming a QC in 2012. Always on the look out for challenges and opportunities he has also been an award winning stand-up comedian; an after-dinner speaker (when at University he won several national debating competitions and was runner up in the World’s Humorous Debating Competition at Princeton); he has learned to fly a plane, hosted his own TV show (the Legalizer) on BBC1; writes regularly for national newspapers; has a column in The Spectator and wrote his best-selling autobiography, Animal QC.

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