Book Review: Cell 7 (Kerry Drewery)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 400

Release Date: September 22nd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Should she live or die? You decide

An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.

Now Justice must prevail.

The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions – all for the price of a phone call.

Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?

Review:

Cell 7 starts as Martha is arrested at the scene of a crime, holding a gun and confessing to killing a celebrity. She’s taken to prison, deathrow, where she will spend a week, during which time the public will vote for her: innocent and she is released, guilty and she will die.

As a reader you know Martha is innocent, but you don’t know why she is insisting she is guilty and who she’s covering up for. The mystery carries on throughout the book and keeps you guessing until the end.

I loved the format of this book. It’s not just Martha’s story: we see her in prison, but we also get Eve’s story and other bits told through a TV show called Death is Justice which discusses the criminals currently on death row (while sneakily swaying the audience vote). It really showcased the way the justice system worked (or didn’t work) much better than it would have with just Martha’s POV story. Martha’s bits were probably my least favourite to be honest: while interesting, I think it’s hard to maintain interest when someone is stuck in a cell and monologuing.

I know that dystopian needs a certain amount of suspending disbelief but I have to admit I didn’t see how this kind of justice system could get approved. It’s so obviously weighted in rich people’s favour (I know, isn’t everything?!) But hey, I guess that’s part of the message of the book. Corruption is rife in politics and people don’t always see what can seem obvious to others. The media plays a huge part in influencing our views and decisions, as is seen in the book. I cringed every time they called it a fair system and promoted its awesomeness on the TV show. I could perfectly imagine the plastic smiles and subtle manipulating.

This is a dark book with a mystery that unfolds little by little and a shock ending which makes you want to read on: I couldn’t believe it ended like that! This is the first book I’ve read by Kerry Drewery and I thoroughly enjoyed it: I’ll be checking out more of her books in future.

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