EXCERPT: She looked down at the label on the file.
TENANT, ANDREW TREVOR
The clenched fist kept moving up her throat, every horrific detail she had suppressed over the last twenty three years threatening to choke her.
Callie’s terrifying phone call. Leigh’s frantic drive to reach her. The horrific scene in the kitchen. The familiar smell of the dank house, the cigars and scotch and blood – so much blood.
Leigh had to know for sure. She needed to hear it said out loud. Her teenage voice came out of her mouth when she asked, ‘Trevor?’
The way Andrew’s lips curved up to the left was so chillingly familiar. Leigh felt a tingle of goosebumps prickle her skin. She had been his babysitter, and then, when she was old enough to find real work, she had passed the job on to her baby sister.
‘I go by Andrew now,’ he told her. ‘Tenant is mom’s maiden name. We both thought it would be good to change things up after what happened with dad.’
‘After what happened with dad.’
Buddy Waleski had disappeared. He’d abandoned his wife and son. No note. No apologies. That’s what Leigh and Callie made it look like. That’s what they had told the police. Buddy had done a lot of bad things. He was in debt to a lot of bad people. It made sense. At the time, all of it had made sense.
Andrew seemed to feed off her dawning recognition. His smile softened, the upward curve of his lips slowly smoothing out.
He said, ‘It’s been a long time, Harleigh.’
Only one person in her life still called her by that name.
Andrew said, ‘I thought you’d forgotten all about me.’
Leigh shook her head. She would never forget him. Trevor Waleski had been a sweet kid. A little awkward. A lot clingy. The last time Leigh had seen him, he had been drugged into oblivion. She had watched her sister gently kiss the top of his head.
Then the two of them had gone back into the kitchen to finish murdering his father.
ABOUT ‘FALSE WITNESS’: AN ORDINARY LIFE
Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job as a defence attorney, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilised – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be.
HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST
But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood which was far from average… a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.
BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP
Then a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest profile case she’s ever been given – a case which could transform her career, if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realises that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades running.
AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT
If she can’t get him acquitted, she’ll lose much more than the case. The only person who can help her is her younger, estranged sister Callie, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice…
MY THOUGHTS: A definite thriller that kept me guessing!
Where do I start with this review? Slaughter never fails to surprise me. False Witness is a complicated (I mean that in a positive way) story of abuse on many levels. Paedophilia, alcohol, drug, and parental abuse are all a part of False Witness, as is the Covid-19 pandemic.
I am not going to talk about the plot, because I don’t want to give anything away. I will say, however, that I didn’t much like False Witness to start with, thanks to Ms Slaughter’s realistic and graphic portrayals of drug addicts their habits, of Buddy Waleski and his proclivities. It made me feel dirty, like I wanted to go stand under a hot shower until the water ran out. I didn’t like Callie, although by the time I had finished, I had a sneaking admiration for her. And although she could not resist the siren song of heroin, she was incredibly strong in other ways. As was Harleigh who, although facing a major moral dilemma, put both her daughter’s and her sister’s welfare first.
There are many surprising twists to this story, and the characterisation is wonderful. I particularly liked the elderly vet, teetering on the brink of dementia, that Callie worked for. And despite everything else that occurs in False Witness, the violence and the cruelty, no animals are harmed. Another thing I absolutely loved was Callie’s conversations with and about her cat. Purr genius! (The pun is deliberate.)
False Witness is an intense, dark and gritty read that won’t be for everyone. There were times I doubted that it was for me. And it is overly long, with a fair bit of repetition which, really, wasn’t necessary. It was like the author was taking up a sledgehammer to ram home certain points.
While I can’t say I enjoyed this read, I am glad that I read False Witness. Slaughter is making statements about our society that need to be heard. Not only heard, but taken on board. And not just in America.
Kathleen Early made an excellent job of the narration. She made me forget that I was listening to an audiobook. I felt like I was right in amongst the drama.
I: @karinslaughterauthor @blackstonepublishing
T: @SlaughterKarin @BlackstonePubl1
#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #suspense #thriller
THE AUTHOR: Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is in development with Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Grant County and Will Trent series are in development for television.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Blackstone Publishing – Audiobooks via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of False Witness by Karin Slaughter for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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