“Inventive, bold and insightful, The Trials of Lila Dalton is a captivating exploration of the nature of truth. L. J. Shepherd’s gripping debut transcends crime fiction and presents a speculative tale that challenges our notions of justice.”

– Adam Hamdy, author of The Other Side of Night

front cover of The Trials of Lila Dalton
front cover of The Trials of Lila Dalton


You are standing in the middle of a courtroom.

The judge, jury and prosecution team are waiting for you to speak.

But you have no idea who you are.

Lila Dalton finds herself the lead defence for a man accused of a terrible crime, his fate in her hands. She doesn’t know how she got there, but is surprised to discover that she possesses legal knowledge, and that everyone else seems to know who she is.

Outside the courtroom, things are even more unnerving: the courthouse is on a peculiar island where the locals are hostile, threats are slipped beneath her door, and her phone calls are tapped. Hints from strange sources suggest that someone from her forgotten past is in very real danger — but are the threats genuine, or a warning from her missing memories?

As the trial progresses, Lila must decide who and what she can trust — and whether that includes herself...

Praise for The Trials of Lila Dalton

“L. J. Shepherd is one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction. In The Trials of Lila Dalton, she crafts a psychological tour de force reminiscent of Dennis Lehane. Grand, ambitious and achingly atmospheric, it may just be the cleverest novel I’ve read all year.”

– Kia Abdullah, author of Take It Back

“A mind-blowing, audaciously inventive thriller.”

- Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End

“A scorching début - dark and compelling.”

– Orlando Murrin, author of Knife Skills for Beginners

“Stuart Turton meets Agatha Christie - a locked room puzzle with hints of the supernatural, brilliantly told through the lens of the judicial system. A truly intriguing and intelligent mystery which had me gripped from the start. Totally recommend.”

Sarah Moorehead, author of The Treatment

“Original and feverishly compulsive.”

– Sabine Durrant, author of Finders, Keepers

“A strikingly clever debut and high concept legal thriller which grips from the first page and never lets up. The claustrophobic setting and fast-paced narrative make for a great story.”

– Guy Morpuss, author of Five Minds

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