American creator Karin Slaughter writes each standalone thrillers and collection, and her new one, False Witness is a standalone that gives an engrossing learn. “The previous isn’t the place you assume you left it” reads the epigram from Katherine Anne Porter, and it’s good for this story.
The e-book begins slowly, again in the summertime of 1998, with Callie and Buddy’s uneasy relationship that, for his half, appears to revolve solely round intercourse, tough intercourse, and holding his ten-year-old son from figuring out what he’s as much as. The place is that this going?, you might surprise, when Slaughter slaps you within the face with a significant shock…
Then it’s spring 2021, and Callie’s sister Leigh is named on to defend a serial rapist whose crimes are particularly brutal. Leigh works for a prestigious legislation agency in Atlanta, Georgia, and she or he’s introduced in simply days earlier than jury choice begins. The manner of the defendant, Andrew Tenant, is off-putting, however the founding father of the agency has requested her to tackle the case and she will’t say no with out risking her job. Quickly she realises her creepy new shopper is the grown-up boy from long-ago, when she was his baby-sitter.
One thing dangerous occurred again in 1998, involving Callie and Leigh, and so they’ve stored the key ever since. To Leigh’s dismay, Andrew is aware of all about it, and he’s not above utilizing emotional blackmail to control her into mounting a vigorous protection for him, despite the fact that she’s satisfied he’s responsible. He’s gotten his fingers on the rape sufferer’s faculty well being report, which incorporates the small print of quite a few psychological well being counseling classes, and insists Leigh use it to tear the lady aside on the witness stand.
That is fairly a dilemma for Leigh, who can’t sabotage the protection in any manner, sure that Andrew wouldn’t hesitate to hurt her teenage daughter, her husband, or her. Or Callie, if he may discover her. When Andrew barrels again into Leigh’s life, she and Callie are estranged. Callie’s troublesome, with long-standing substance abuse issues. A number of the most poignant components of the story are her makes an attempt to calibrate the medication in her system so she will address the calls for posed by Andrew’s threats.
With issue, Leigh locates Callie and deposits her at their mom’s home for safekeeping, an idea you may apply solely metaphorically within the case of their mom, Phil. Right here is one other girl with issues, one in every of which is having no understanding of or curiosity within the thought of mothering – now or 23 years earlier.
Leigh, rising up in such a neglectful, even hostile surroundings, blighted by secrets and techniques, has miraculously discovered a very good and compassionate husband. Her demons have induced him to depart taking their daughter with him however they’re nonetheless shut and he’s cheerfully accommodating. If Leigh may get herself collectively, they’d seemingly reconcile virtually without delay.
One other excessive character is Andrew’s fiancée, Sidney – curiously, one other girl with a person’s identify. Largely she goes super-goth and isn’t anticipated to be an asset on the trial. Andrew has a plan for that too – he’ll marry Sidney proper earlier than the trial begins, pondering she will’t then testify in opposition to him.
One other benevolent character within the combine is Callie’s boss on the animal clinic, Dr Jerry. He has early onset dementia and has turn into a bit obscure at instances, however Callie retains him organised and on process. In the meantime, she pilfers undetectable quantities of medication from the clinic’s shops. She’s not thus far gone she doesn’t really feel responsible and embarrassed by this, solely determined.
The story is about within the midst of the pandemic, and although it’s not about COVID, the characters’ on a regular basis lives are affected by it – the masks (or not), the court docket schedule. It’s a part of the real looking background of the story. Slaughter, who lives in Atlanta, set the novel there, although you don’t get a lot really feel for the town on this story.
Sometimes, the creator breaks in and delivers a lecture on, for instance, the best way drug dependancy impacts the mind, scientifically, which derails the story for a number of paragraphs and feels pointless. Readers delay by cursing could have a lot to complain about.
I personally discovered Leigh a bit repetitive and tiresome along with her guilt and self-doubt and her willingness to leap to incorrect conclusions about what the opposite individual is feeling. It felt cliché to make Andrew super-wealthy, and he was over-the-top slimy, however then a complete psychopath would even have been too excessive.
CFL Score: 4 Stars