Friday, October 11, 2013

Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster... review by Kathy


When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her step-grandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships create a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth is uncovered it can save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.

I want to say from the start that this book was given to me to read and review. When I first read the blurb on this book I wasn't sure if I would be able to get thru the book. It just isn't my normal thing. I am very glad that i was given the book to read.

The book is about a 16 year old girl who is accused of murdering her Step-Grandfather who is a Justice for California. She is accused of starting a fire that claimed his life. Josie Baylor-Bates is an attorney who is begged by the mother to take the case. Josie stopped being a high powered defense lawyer 3 years prior due to a client she got off on murder charges who was guilty and killed again. She is working in Hermosa  Beach at a small law office taking care of the local "weenie wager" and other small time clients. She is about to become a partner in the firm.

I loved Josie's character. She didn't want to defend Heather but since she was her attorney then she was going to fight for her. She was not going to let the girl down. Josie went in just for the bail hearing and then met Heather who was going to be tried as an adult, not as a juvenile. She was being told that Hannah was a sick kid and that she should take a plea deal to get the kid some psychiatric help.

"We're telling you we need this resolved now. We are the ones responsible for her. We're the ones who have to lie with her, not you."
Josie stood up. Kip Rayburn didn't have enough game to shut her down. She didn't care whose son he was, or who he was about to become.
"I'm Hannah's attorney and , as such, I am responsible for the welfare of my client. So let me tell you what I know. Hannah won't last a minute if she serves a sentence in a psychiatric facility. You think she's got problems now? Just wait until they release her someday and she shows up on your doorstep. I guarantee you won't turn your lights off at night. Or are you one of those bleeding hearts that think criminals actually go into those places for treatment?"
"Those places are dark, third rate institutions where overworked doctors make out reports and prescribe electroshock and pills that will keep Hannah so doped up she won't even know when one of the low life orderlies decides she looks like prime pickings. So he'll rape her, and she won't even know it. Or another inmate will..."
"Stop it! Josie, stop it!" Horrified, Linda cried out as she buried her face in her hands. It was Josie who got to her first. She took Linda's hands in her own and forced them down.
"Linda listen to me."
"Wait just a minute," Kip rushed to the sofa. Josie met him head on, daring him to interfere.
"Back off," she growled, tired of him now. "Linda, look at me. This is your daughter's life, It's not a game. It's deadly serious and what you do now is going to affect her whole life, Linda. You're her mother for God's sake. Do you really think she did something she should go to jail for?"

Linda Rayburn is Hannah's mother. Let me just say. I really didn't like this woman. As a mother I wanted to smack her and as a person I wanted to hit her harder. Then there is Kip Rayburn. Hannah's Step Father. He was unlikable to me as well. Both characters are definitely necessary to the story. I found that I was rooting for Josie and Hannah the more they had to interact with either Linda or Kip.

I have to say that there was one character that I wish had more time in the book. That was Rudy Klein the DA. I wanted to know more about him and what made him tick. I hope that in one of the subsequent books we get a closer view of him. I did like the love interest of Archer. He was affectionate and he seemed to honestly care for Josie.

There are a couple of humdinger secrets in the book that I was not expecting. Why was the Justice killed? How was he murdered? Was it really murder? Can Josie really help a girl who seems to have so many secrets? The secrets make the book into the page turner it is.
This is the first in the Witness series.
 I give 3 and 1/2 clocks
Review by Kathy Lee Herbst


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