Hostile Witness

Hostile Witness - Rebecca Forster This is my first venture into the world of lawyer and former college athlete Josie Baylor-Bates, and I did it in downloaded e-book form, which means my expectations were not high. They were, however, exceeded - the book was well-written and well-plotted, and held my interest with its difficult characters. I had the actual villain of the piece tagged fairly early on, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the unrolling.

The theme running through this book is the failure of the mother-daughter relationship. Though the victim is male and there is a somewhat likely male suspect, at the end of the day Forster's men are not quite as complex as her women. The men are various degrees of abusive, or else warm, professional and supportive, like Bates' colleagues and her ex-policeman lover who does a lot of her investigative legwork (very convenient!)

Hannah, the protagonist whose interests Josie defends vehemently, has a difficult past and a very difficult present - she is the very definition of unreliable, since she suffers from mental illness. I found that aspect of her well depicted.

Bates is tied into the theme of the story through two separate emotional wounds in her past - her own unhappy relationship with her mother, and a case where she won with her defence of a killer who then went on to murder her (the killer's) own children. This was perhaps one too many angsts, but I forgave the author for the sake of the emotional focus it gave to the story. I will keep an eye open for more of these.