You thought no one saw you. You were wrong.
Leigh and her sister Callie are not bad people – but one night, more than two decades ago, they did something terrible. And the result was a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, devastated by violence.
Years later, Leigh has pushed that night from her mind and become a successful lawyer – but when she is forced to take on a new client against her will, her world begins to spiral out of control.
Because the client knows the truth about what happened twenty-three years ago. He knows what Leigh and Callie did. And unless they stop him, he’s going to tear their lives apart …
Just because you didn’t see the witness … doesn’t mean he wasn’t there.
I have long been a fan of Karin Slaughter’s books and the Grant County novels have always been a feature of my holiday reading. I have spent many a long and sunny afternoon in the company of Sara, Jeffrey and Lena and they are one of my go-to’s when I’m in a bit of a reading slump as I feel that the setting and characters feel like old friends. I also adore the Will Trent series and always recommend these books when I find out that people haven’t read the yet. I love the skilful way that Karin draws you into her stories and immerse you right in the middle of the latest dramatic series of events without it ever feeling far fetched or unrealistic…
I really enjoy taking part in Random Things Tours as it definitely makes sure that my bookshelf is always crammed full of books that I can’t wait to read. False Witness was one of those books that I got totally caught up in as it was just what I needed to unwind with after a more than hectic term and I was so looking forward to it and enjoying it in beautiful Whitby as I sit out of the roof terrace with a glass of wine has been just the medicine I needed
I love novels that deal with family relationships and how sisters interact is one of the things that really grabs me in a novel. Callie and Leigh are sisters. But although they are connected by blood, their lives are unfolding very differently. Callie is a drug addict, who works part-time at a vet surgery where she steals maintenance level of drugs and sells them locally. Leigh on the other hand, is a defence attorney at a prestigious law firm, where she works hard in the wake of her divorce determined to be a good role model for her daughter. Callie and Leigh however have a huge secret in common. A secret that someone else knows, and could tear their lives apart if it ever comes to light…
As soon as I started reading it, I wanted to find out how these family members’ lives would unfold and got totally caught up in this journey for them to outrun the horrors of the past. I loved the initial premise of this shared secret, but I found the rest of this story much more engrossing once I’d started: I find that Karin Slaughter is almost unbeaten when writing about trauma and the impact of the past. She is able to convey the pain and horror of really difficult events without it ever feeling sordid or exploitative and this novel was truly no exception.
I also enjoyed the way that this novel allows us to see the reality of families and the complexity of relationships, rather than just skate over the surface in pursuit of plot that we are so often presented with in fiction and I think that this is one of the things that I enjoyed most about this book. When a case lands on Callie’s desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape- she understands that this case could absolutely transform her career – but at what price? When she finally gets to meet the accused, she realises exactly why he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And she also knows that he knows exactly what happened twenty years ago, and why she’s been running ever since. The only person who she can call on for help is Callie and she’s the very last person Leigh would ever want to be indebted to – But she’s definitely running out of both options and time as the past looks scarily like it’s going to catch up with her…
The way that Karin Slaughter builds in the layers to this story about what’s really going on beneath the surface and slowly develops our understanding of what is going on in the heads of these characters is convincingly done and leads to you feeling like you can really start to understand them as people. Callie’s pathway forwards is a terrifying one and we start to see things in a different way as she starts to reach back into her past and glimpse the horrors there and really start to understand what exactly lies behind the silence surounding the past.
False Witness is a fascinating and immersive read as it takes us on a journey into the horrors of abuse, neglect and long held dark secrets whilst propelling us along with a gripping narrative that never lets go. It also feels horribly real as it’s unfolding within the time of covid and we see the characters struggle with masks, sanitising and distancing, just as we have had to. I was totally captivated by these characters and found myself thinking about their interconnected relationships and the way that the past can cast its shadow on the future and test us in ways we could never have imagined. I could not stop reading until I finished it far too late on Sunday night and I’m passing it onto my husband as I know that he’ll enjoy its fast paced plot and clever characterisaton.
I found myself thinking about these characters and the repercussions of Callie’s journey back to her past whilst walking around beautiful Whitby and thinking about it as I explored this stunning seaside town. I am recommending it to everyone in my Wine Library Book Club too. If you enjoy a gritty read with characters you can absolutely believe in then you will absolutely love this book. It’s dark, compelling and the tension just does not let up until its conclusion.
Treat yourself to a copy here and enjoy it yourself this summer.
Praise for Karin Slaughter:
‘Gripping, gruesome and emotionally powerful, this is Slaughter doing what she does best’ Mail on Sunday
‘As sharp and absorbing as ever’ Guardian
‘Slaughter’s novel is both a page-turner and a protest about how often sexual violence is overlooked’ Sunday Times
‘I’d follow her anywhere’ Gillian Flynn
‘One of the boldest thriller writers working today’ Tess Gerritsen
‘Her characters, plot, and pacing are unrivalled’ Michael Connelly
‘Passion, intensity, and humanity’ Lee Child
‘A writer of extraordinary talents’ Kathy Reichs
‘Fiction doesn’t get any better than this’ Jeffery Deaver
‘A great writer at the peak of her powers’ Peter James
‘Karin Slaughter has – by far – the best name of all of us mystery novelists’ James Patterson
‘It’s big, dark, rich, satisfying, and bloody – like a perfectly cooked steak’ Stuart MacBride
‘The queen of the explosive thriller’ Good Housekeeping
Writer On The Shelf
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.