The Last Witness
St. Martin's, May 2003, 24.95, 352 pp.
Marshall “Mars” Bahr and his partner Nettie Frisch are leaving the Homicide Division of the Minneapolis Police Department to work the BCA's cold case unit. However, before they leave they try to solve one last case. Teri DuCain Jackson was found dead in her Lake of the Isles home. Her parents discovered the body. Afterward the father suffered a heart attack and died. His wife is sure that her son-in-law, a wife beater, killed her daughter, but Tayron “T-Jack” Jackmon of the Minnesota Timberwolves has a perfect alibi.
He was with his in-laws, their lawyer and his attorney negotiating a settlement that would give him a hundred million dollars if he allowed Teri to divorce him. T-Jack couldn't have killed her because Teri spoke to them moments before her death. Mars thinks that T-Jack hired a hitman to kill his wife but they lack the one crucial piece of evidence that would allow them to arrest the suspect. Mars comes up with a possible way to nail T-Jack and save a life but to do so will force him to put his badge on the line.
K.J. Erickson writes an exciting police procedural that maintains reader interest from the first page to last. Although there is some surface resemblance to the Simpson scenario, in THE LAST WITNESS the police are not prejudiced and maintain a professional manner. Through his son readers see that Mars is a caring person who plays by the rules even when it cost him custody. One can't help but admire him and wish that more people had such a strong moral code. This is a “two-thumbs up” reading experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner