Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Silent Witness (Tony Lord series)

Author: Richard North Patterson
Rating: 3 stars
Contains mild spoilers

Book summary: Almost thirty years have passed since Tony Lord left Lake City. Thirty long years dedicated to putting the past the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Alison Taylor, and his own acquittal of the crime behind him. Married, a father, and a successful defense lawyer in San Francisco, Tony Lord has run as far from Lake City as he can.

But the phone call requesting his return and the circumstances surrounding it is enough to make the ghosts of Tony's past live again. The trigger is the murder of another young woman, 16-year-old Lake City High School track star Marcie Calder, last seen alive with Sam Robb, her coach and Tony's childhood friend.

With this stunning new novel of psychological drama and suspense,Richard North Patterson has done it again. Silent Witness is a drama of rivalry and betrayal, the darkest recesses of love and friendship, and the tenacious grip of the past on all our lives

To be honest, I became hooked on to Silent Witness via the cable network movie. Growing up, reading the book before seeing the show or movie adaption was always important. Since then this rule has been broken. Also, the plot reminded me an past addiction, also known as Lifetime movies.

The book was actually a bit underwhelming. A lot of the content was dense with courtroom vocabulary and procedures which might fly over many reader's heads. Personally, some of the lingo and technicalities proved difficult to understand. Outside of the courtroom, the best writing involved Tony Lord's flashbacks.

A well known attorney, Tony is no stranger to the spotlight. He was accused and tried for murder in high school. While most high schoolers worry about the SAT's and their significant others, Tony was trying to play basketball, attend classes AND prepare for trial. Tony quickly learns how the law--and injustice works. Thanks to certain evidence, Tony is acquitted. Imagine how Tony feels when he finds out his childhood friend and rival, Sam, is accused of murder after a teen girl is found pregnant and dead. He has to leave behind his famous wife and beloved son behind. The dead teen's unborn child is Sam's. Tony only returns because of Sam's wife, whom Tony briefly had a fling with while she dated Sam in high school.

If that past summary wasn't confusing or dramatic enough then I've done my job. If not then I think readers can stomach the entire novel (nearly 500 pages). As stated earlier, Tony's high school flashbacks are the best parts. They reveal the tension, politics and lies surrounding a close knit blue collar town. "The best town to raise kids" is quoted by several characters. Reading about Tony, Sam, Sam's girlfriend Sue and Tony's doomed girlfriend Alison revealed a lot about how Tony came to be the lawyer he is. Some of the subplots surrounding Sue and Tony came off as cliche to me but the past is golden in figuring out the present and future. As far as most crime/courtroom novels go, Silent Witness ends with a bang as well. 

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