Life For Sale follows Jamie Barrington, Crown Prosecution Service attorney, amid his struggle against a powerful drug kingpin. Jamie, living an unremarkable existence in London, struggles to adapt to a legal system that too often unleashes criminals back into the arms of society. After the death of his wife, Barrington, in a fit of melancholy, decides to escape it all. He decides to essentially sell his life via a revolutionary medical procedure against his better judgement. The procedure swaps his memories with a third party, i.e. a willing client. But who would want his life of overwork and tragedy? It doesn’t matter to Jamie! Because 1 million pounds (or dollars, if you’re American) is in it for him to use for any purpose. The new life he is given is situated on an island and one of comfort and bliss. A life rife of epicurean pleasures. How could Jamie say ‘no’ to all this? 

However, the memories of his old life start to ebb back into his mind. Jamie realizes that the people he’s surrounded by are too eager to keep him prisoner on this exotic island. Why? Who would go to such byzantine lengths to keep him there? He needs to rely on his scant resources as he is rapidly running out of time. 

Author Amanda Hounsom incorporates many intriguing elements from different genres to craft an enticing legal thriller. What could be described as Better Call Saul meets Total Recall, Life for Sale explores the theme of being content with the lives we were given, and the malaise associated with constant pleasure. The novel also delves into legal procedures and how the system can be realistically (and easily) manipulated. For this reason, any constant reader of John Grisham will feel rewarded. Life for Sale is a terrific novel and a captivating, original debut by Amanda Hounsom.

Rating: 5/5

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