AN ORDINARY LIFE…
Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She’s an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is managing to successfully coparent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter.
HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST…
But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood no one should have to endure … a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence.
BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP…
On a Sunday night at her daughter’s school play, she gets a call from one of the firm’s partners who wants Leigh to come on board to defend a wealthy man accused of multiple counts of rape. Though wary of the case, it becomes apparent she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to keep her job. They’re scheduled to go to trial in one week. When she meets the accused face-to-face, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s specifically asked for her to represent him. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he may know what happened over twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades avoiding her past.
AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT.
Suddenly she has a lot more to lose than this case. The only person who can help is her younger, estranged sister Callie—the last person Leigh would ever want to drag into this after all they’ve been through. But with the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice…
Another author for whom I’ve seen tons of books, reviews, and accolades, I bit when I saw the massive selection of books, both ebooks and audiobooks listed at my favorite local library. I’ll never understand why an author would pack what might otherwise be viewed as a well plotted, fast-paced five star contender with language that would make even a sailor blush. And this one was so blatantly graphic, violent, and brutal, I almost gave up on it several times.
The main character, Leigh, a defense attorney, may not be the most sympathetic character over that of her younger sister, Callie. Callie becomes a heroin addict following a catastrophic accident. A child gymnast and cheerleader, the resulting broken neck left her with unrelenting pain. Further, she was babysitting a boy whose father began abusing her. Callie finds herself in a life and death struggle with the father and ends up killing him. She calls her older sister and together they deal with it—the body, the scene, and the money which pays for Leigh’s college.
Neither of the two can escape the lingering trauma and Leigh is left with crushing guilt over the resulting spiral of her sister. It’s all her fault. All her fault! She’d given the babysitting job to her sister burying her experience with the boy’s father.
Now 20 years later, Leigh finds herself defending Andrew in a horrific rape case. Turns out, Andrew is Trevor, the son of the man they disposed of. He is now a very wealthy sexual predator, a vicious psychopath, a 33 year old following the path of dear ole dad.
The author has developed her characters so well, a reader might very well feel the skin crawl at the connection between he and Leigh. His delight in manipulating the trial, his hold over Leigh’s sixteen year old daughter. He drips with power, impunity, entitlement. He’s cold, calculating.
The novel also includes the contemporary atmosphere of the impact of the Covid pandemic while examining each piece of the puzzle, the exploitation, the cold disengagement of the accused. Juxtaposed against the court drama is the struggle of Callie, the desperation of Leigh, and the limitations of normal public function due to the virus.
The book examines some horrifically disturbing issues: drug addiction, rape, sexual deviation, domestic violence, and murder.
There are few emotional connections here, the two sisters kept at arm’s length by an extremely abusive background. One likeable character in the vet where Callie routinely returns to care for animals. One sister damaged psychologically and physically for life, one going the other way into intellectually unemotional detachment, driven together again for a shared solution. A story that does not, can not have, a happy ending.
I can honestly admit my old-fashioned mind was grossed out on more than one occasion and the language was abominable. While the story might be engrossing, the level of mayhem coupled with the language was over the top for me. This is probably my first and last book by this author. Have you the same experience or dulled by the constant hammering of the theme and language?
Genre: Legal Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Listening Length: 18 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: False Witness [Amazon]
Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five of Five Stars
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.
©2021 V Williams