St. Martin's, Dec 2002, 23.95, 304 pp.
Ten years ago in the English town of Dimmock, three teens were raped and killed. Their murderer is never brought to justice. Though the police knew who the killer was, but they lacked solid evidence to link him to the crimes.
In the present, Daniel Hood sees two men running on Dimmock Pier when he witnesses one of the men hit the other before throwing his body in the water. Daniel jumps into the water to rescue the teenager but the young man is dead. The police believe the killer is the same person who murdered the three young men a decade ago, but when they bring the suspect in Daniel tells him he wasn't the killer. When a second boy is killed, the town blames Daniel and burns his house down. Daniel is now second-guessing himself and goes to confront the suspect by himself, a dangerous move but one that leads him and the police to the true killer.
TRUE WITNESS is as much a character study as it is a mystery. The protagonist is a loner, a peson of strong moral fiber. He endures much in the pursuit of the truth and the reward for his efforts is that he gets beaten up, ridiculed, and thrown out of his house that is burned down. Jo Bannister is a talented writer who gives equal weight to plot and characterizations so that the audience receives an engagingly balanced crime thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner