Title: Body of Proof
Authors: Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis
Publisher: Audible Originals
Audiobook Narrator: Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis
Reading through the description of this book, I genuinely thought Body of Proof was a fictional take on something like Serial, The Staircase, or Making a Murderer. I believed this throughout my entire time with the book, which is really more of a podcast than anything else. I wish I would’ve realized that this story of the murder of Suzanne Pilley was actually another true crime narrative like the ones mentioned earlier because I would’ve been in a different mindset while listening.
The story itself is fascinating. Suzanne Pilley disappeared off the streets of Edinburgh on her way to work, and, even without any physical evidence linking her ex-lover, David Gilroy, to the crime, he is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. There are security cameras all over the place, but even those do not definitively prove that Suzanne made it to work that day, nor do they show David with her at all. In fact, not one piece of evidence can prove that David was with her, or that her body – alive or dead – was anywhere near the supposed murder scene, nor the trunk of the car where police say he kept her dead body for hours after murdering her in a fit of rage in the basement of their place of business. No body was ever discovered, almost ten years after her murder.
All along, while listening, I was waiting for something crazy to happen; this was, after all, a work of fiction, in my mind, and I was appreciating the “acting” during the interviews, and the small details that the hosts were getting right. It wasn’t until the end, when we are left without all the answers, that I started to be disappointed. Why would a fictional account like this not give the listener some sort of twist to end things? It wasn’t until after it ended that I decided to google Suzanne’s name, and discovered that this was, in fact, a work of nonfiction.
What is most interesting to me is that a quick Google search will reveal that there isn’t nearly the public outcry for a re-trial of this clearly screwed up case like there was with those aforementioned stories. This may be because Audible doesn’t have the same audience that Netflix, or traditional podcasts do, but it’s still disappointing to see. I genuinely hope that Gilroy gets another day in court because Body of Proof does a wonderful job of laying out the facts, and they do nothing but point to reasonable doubt.
The best part about Body of Proof is that the two hosts – Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis – start out believing that Gilroy is guilty. Why should they think differently? The “best court system in the world”, as it is explained multiple times in the book, have convicted him, and that’s that. But as they dive deeper into the case and start unravelling all of the inconsistencies and coincidences, their opinion changes, as did mine. They do not have an agenda to prove Gilroy guilty or innocent, which is what makes Body of Proof so effective.
If you’re a true crime fan, and especially interested in the wrongfully accused like I am, this is absolutely an Audible Original you will want to get your hands on. I love diving into stories like this, and feel like such a fool that it took me the entirety of the book (show? podcast?) to figure out that this was nonfiction. Don’t make my mistake: this story is real, it is heartbreaking for all parties involved, and it is absolutely fascinating.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.