Book Review: Hostile Witness

I can’t for the life of me tell you how I ended up with this book on my Kindle. I mean, obviously, I chose it but I don’t normally choose books on a total whim. Usually, it’s a book by an author I like, or maybe a friend has recommended it or I read a good review of it and that compels me to pick it up. This wasn’t the case for this book. It was free when I bought it on the 17th of January 2014 but there are a lot of free books on Amazon and that time of year is one when I usually have a glut of new books to be getting on with. It’s a mystery. I wonder if I “bought” it by accident.

Anyway. It sat on my Kindle mostly ignored, most of the time. But it became the book I went to when I’d finished what I was reading and couldn’t get hold of another book until I got home. Then I would read this on my phone. Sometimes. When I remembered. Eventually, I finished it.


Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster


This all sounds a bit unfair. Like it’s a boring book that I only read when I had no other choice and that makes it sound much worse than it is, so I’m going to try to summarise the book and what I liked about it. You know, like you should when reviewing things.

Hostile Witness is a courtroom drama that follows Josie, a lawyer who is contacted by her old college room mate, Linda for help with Linda’s daughter, Hannah. Hannah is a suspect in the case of her grandfather-in-law’s murder. He died in suspicious circumstances, with a head wound which someone had tried to cover up by starting a fire. Since Hannah and her grandfather had been seen arguing, she was implicated.

So, of course, Josie takes the case, convinced that Hannah is innocent, a position she is occasionally forced to revise and then revise again. Josie is conflicted herself because of events that occurred before the start of this story, in which she convinced a jury that a woman was innocent and the women later murdered more people. Add in that Hannah’s grandfather had been a powerful judge and his son (Linda’s new husband) is up for becoming a senator, and things get more complicated still.

It’s really not my kind of thing – I don’t think I’ve ever read a court room drama before this one. On the other hand, I did keep coming back to it. It might have taken a long time for me to read the whole thing but I didn’t give up on it.

There are muddled, repetitive parts which I found a bit annoying. Presumably, these were designed to mirror the process of going back over the evidence, again and again, to try to find something that had been missed. It didn’t work for me though. Apart from that and some occasionally weird dialogue and filler sentences, it wasn’t a bad read. The twists at the end of the book were particularly great (although the end of the book also had one section that made me roll my eyes).

On balance, not bad. I’m not sure I’ll be picking up the next in the series or that it’s persuaded me to seek out more court room dramas, but it was fine.


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