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The Last Witness    by KJ Erickson order for
Last Witness
by KJ Erickson
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Last Witness is a fast-paced police procedural with an intricate plot that will keep you guessing until the last several pages. Minneapolis Special Detective Marshall Bahr, on his last few days on the job before being transferred to the 'cold case' division, is presented with a murder that points to the perpetrator from the very beginning. The trick is to break his alibi. And political intrigue guides almost every move that is made - often to the detriment of the victims.

Basketball star Tayron 'T-Man' Jackman's wife is murdered while he is in conference with her parents, negotiating a divorce settlement. The world is convinced that he is guilty of contracting to have her killed and it's up to Mars and his team to prove it. More dead bodies add to the confusion. The seedy side of strip clubs is a jolt of reality. I've never been to Minneapolis, but can envision the city from Erickson's descriptions. The very real characters work together as a team, each able to discern what the other is thinking, and acting accordingly. A wonderful human side to Mars and his co-workers shows us that compassion need not be put on hold when a uniform is donned.

While working against the clock on the murder case, Mars is torn in deciding what is best for his eleven-year-old son - to live with him or his divorced wife. Some fascinating skinny on the inside world of pro basketball puts a new slant on the sport. The plot is well-thought out and tightly written - a little off the wall, but plausible. The climax will have the reader breathless. The Last Witness is the third in this series by KJ Erickson. I do hope there will be a fourth.

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