Monday, May 16, 2016

Review of Hostile Witness: A Josie Bates Thriller by Rebecca Forster

When it is discovered that the death of a chief justice of the California Supreme court was no accident, his son’s sixteen-year-old step-daughter Hannah is charged with the murder. 

Defense Attorney Josie Bates is haunted by the outcome of a trial where she successfully defended a guilty client. Trying to now live low-key, practicing law in a small firm in a beach community, Josie’s old college roommate shows up at her door, begging her to defend her daughter Hannah. Josie has no intention of jumping into that life again…until she meets Hannah.

Josie Bates is a likable, strong woman who is living life on her own terms until her world is turned upside down by murder suspect Hannah Sheraton.
Josie’s intention is—for old time’s sake—to meet the girl, and then refer them to appropriate counsel. But there’s something about Hannah that compels Josie to go against her own reasoning. Josie expects a battle with the prosecutor, but didn’t envision a battle with the girl’s own family.

Forster jump-starts the story by walking us through the hard-core booking process of the sheltered young beauty arrested for murder. The contrast of the delicate character to the crude experience immediately drew me into this drama. Forster does a great job snagging sympathy for this character. Suffering from an extreme case of OCD, Hannah is shunned by her powerful step-father and smothered by a dreadful mother. The reader can’t help but feel compassion for this poor girl—innocent or guilty.

This book grabbed my attention and held it to the end. The pace is good with lots of action and courtroom drama. Forster’s descriptive writing pulled me into the scenes without it getting in the way of the story.

Although the main character was well developed, there is room for Josie to evolve even more in the next book of this series. And I do plan on reading book two and more from this author. I truly enjoyed this story and gave it five stars.

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