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False Witness    by Karin Slaughter order for
False Witness
by Karin Slaughter
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Karin Slaughter is a blockbuster thriller author, well known for her gripping Grant County and Will Trent series, as well as excellent standalones like Pieces of Her. The lead in her latest, False Witness (set during the pandemic), is defense attorney Leigh Collier, who works at an Atlanta law firm. She has a sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is separated from her husband Walter (also a lawyer), though they clearly still care for each other and remain on good terms.

Leigh has a dark secret in her past, one that involves her younger sister Callie (an addict whom Leigh has failed to help though she and Walter have both tried hard). Guilt over those events have damaged Leigh, despite her career success. As the novel opens, Leigh's past is about to overshadow the life she has worked so hard to build and risk bringing it all down around her. It starts with a call from a partner at the firm. A wealthy man accused of rape (possibly a serial rapist) has asked for Leigh to take on his case at the very last minute - it will go to trial in one week.

When Leigh meets the accused, she recognizes in Andrew Tenant the boy whom both she and Callie babysat as teens. Andrew keeps alluding to Callie and the past, hinting that he knows things he couldn't possibly know - or could he? The story moves back and forth in time to show what really happened - and how it might have been revealed. Andrew insists that Leigh do whatever it takes to win his case, while also making it clear that the blackmail will continue. Leigh makes contact with her sister. Each tries to find a way out, but it is fragile Callie who ultimately succeeds.

As expected from Karin Slaughter, False Witnesss is a harrowing thriller. In addition to the intricate plotline and suspense, I really enjoyed social commentary from Leigh on overheard conversation about 'who was in whose bubble, whose parents were Covidiots or maskholes, and how men who wore their masks below their noses were the same men who acted like wearing a condom was a human rights violation.'

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