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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2012
Expert Witness by Rebecca Forster is simply one of the best thrillers I've ever read. I've never read a book before that was so skillfully choreographed with descriptions of people and places that I felt right at the scene and in the middle of the action. The first five pages bombarded my senses and drew me into the story with a passion to read more.

What happened to Josie? Who has abducted this brilliant lawyer who has made so many enemies over the course of her career? We have to know and private detective Archer, psychiatrist Daniel Young, policewoman Liz Driscoll and Josie's ward, Hannah show us the way going from one suspense filled moment to another as Josie tries to free herself from the ties that bind her so cruelly in a cement bunker buried deep in the Florida countryside.

The search to find out who holds Josie captive, and the desire to know if she will be freed carried me from page to page. I couldn't put this book down and ended up reading one hundred and twenty pages straight through one afternoon until I got the answer. It was not the answer I had guessed at. Rebecca skillfully steers us from one false conclusion to another tempting us with the possibility of alternative endings until the truth is revealed. I never saw it coming. I was shocked that I never suspected the real culprit until near the end of the book, but I guess that's what good plot and sub plot design is all about.

Strong and sympathetic characters interacting on a highly charged intense level, attention to detail and a high intensity action/adventure thriller combine to make this a must read as the past catches up with our principal character and she is made to pay for her prior sins. Rebecca is kind enough to detail at the end all the steps that lead to Josie's capture and confinement and how the real villain manages to disguise his actions and his warped reasoning that fool all of us including the other characters in her novel. This one deserves five stars.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
I am priviledged to have read 13 Rebecca Forster novels and this is the best one yet!! The reader already has other reviews that detail the plot line, so I would like to explain to the reader why I think Expert Witness is the best Forster novel yet.....
1. excellent weaving of the main plot and the subplots......(a) captives - Jose and Erika, (b) Hermosa PD - interaaction between Liz and Captain Hagarty, (c) excellent subplot with Hannah, Archer and Sarah Crane, (d) excellent interaction between Liz (Hermosa PD) and LAPD
2. I really liked how Ms Forster used subtitles to always alert the reader where the story was taking place. Clear, concise and well done.
3. One of Ms Forsters main qualities is the ability to introduce characters to the reader and "weave" in the important background of that character in such a manner that the reader understands "why" this character is important to the story.
4. Ms Forster has an uncany ability to weave and maintian subplots without distracting from the main plot. Examples include (a) maintianing the subplot of the captives (Jose and Erika) without distracting from the main plot which is the search for Jose (b) the conflict between Hanah, Archer and Sarah Crane while maintaining the main plot.
5. I really liked how Ms Forster presented the conflicted relationship between Liz and Captain Hagarty. I think this was important to the main story line and enhanced the character of Liz Driscoll.
6. I enjoyed the improved relationship between Hannah and Archer. We could "feel" the improvment in the relationship as well as "read about it".
7. I loved the interaction at the Edleman Children's Court.
8. The A-1 Storage Center saga was excellent - well written, suspenseful and entertaining.

This is an action, legal thriller that will be the "page turner" of the year. I absolutely recommend it with five stars and "two thumbs up".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2011
Fans of Rebecca Forster's Witness books are sure to be thrilled with this latest addition to the series. Defense Attorney, Josie Bates, has gone missing and Archer, her private investigator boyfriend, is frantically searching for her. While tracking down suspects from some of her past cases, he struggles with how to help Hannah, Josie's teenage ward. Just like the other books in this series, character development is masterfully accomplished, with Archer and Hannah as prime examples. Building on the uneasy tension between them about how they both fit into Josie's life, they are now uncomfortably linked by her absence. Intertwined with this fast-paced abduction storyline are these emotionally believable characters trying to carve out space for themselves and each other. I also liked the way the secondary characters come to life with as much drama and purpose as the primary characters. Readers new to the series should start with Hostile Witness and read the entire set.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
I have read the previous three Witness books and could not label any of the three as predictable. There wasn't any doubt in my mind who the guilty party was in Expert Witness. Since I knew who it was, I was frustrated with the stupidity of Archer and Liz. I could forgive Hannah since she is young and inexperienced -- but a seasoned PI and policewoman? It was still an enjoyable read but not as enjoyable as the first three.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
Rebecca Forster thriller fans are in for a wild ride that trumps them all in the "Witness" series. You may know Josie Baylor-Bates as a savvy defense lawyer, but her past reveals a brilliant career as a fierce attorney who takes no prisoners. One client is a double murderer of young girls and Josie is utterly ruthless as she attacks and destroys the testimony of prosecution witnesses.

The judge throws out one of the murder charges on a technicality before going to trial, while the remaining victim (who is the daughter of a televangelist) is exposed as a sex seeking tart. Josie pounds unmercifully the experts for the prosecution and careers are ruined. When the trial ends with a single conviction of 15 to 25 years, Josie becomes persona non grata among the community for getting a killer off death row.

Ten years later, Josie has down-sized her law practice to a tranquil seaside resort where she lives peacefully with her private eye lover, Archer, her court-appointed ward, Hannah, and her scruffy dog, Max. This is way too comfortable for Ms. Forster and the roller coaster starts up the first climb. At a local restaurant, for no apparent reason, someone kidnaps Josie and all hell breaks loose.

Josie wakes up in a concrete shanty in the Santa Monica Mountains terrified that no one knows where she is, who pulled this off and why. Archer is her only hope and after Hannah's midnight sneak into his apartment in search of Josie, both come to realize the worst. A frantic Archer teams up with a Hermosa Beach police detective and an affable trial witness for the investigation, but a starting point is elusive until a LAPD patrol finds her car and the race is on.

Then, breaking news alerts California crime victims that the State Prison Board released 45,000 prisoners because of overcrowding. One of those set free is Josie's former client locked away for ten years and set on inflicting retribution on his former defender.

Now Archer and his posse target the ex-con and a dragnet spreads out over Los Angeles. But more suspects lie in the shadows including betrayed witnesses, the teenage victim's preacher father and his flock among the many seeking justice. There is agonizing tension in the courtroom as California Child Protection Services threaten to take Hannah back into the system as she fights for her life without Josie.

Laying in her concrete crypt for days, Josie is frightened, weak and delusional. Her hopes that Archer will find her alive are fading and for good reason.

The unlikely handlers (for good and evil) in this blistering story only reveal themselves once you are totally exhausted. Ms. Forster is at the top of her game and her ardent fans will be thrilled to death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
Wish I had read the reviews before I started the book. Love the Jose Bates series and hate this book. I am halfway through and not sure I will bother finishing it. I hate the female victim stories. As smart as Josie was in the first three books, she's stupid in this one. The idea that a criminal was released from prison and no one was notified? This story is a great injustice to the Josie Bates character. Better believe I will read the reviews next time!
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on July 6, 2013
Although the fourth in this series of five books (thus far), this is the last of the five I've read and the third or fourth I've reviewed somewhere. Despite knowing that many (probably most) of those who read this review won't have read all (or even any) of the other reviews, I find myself struggling to say something new. I've already said (multiple times) how much I love the main characters, Josie Bates and Hannah Sheraton. I've mentioned the most important of the secondary characters (Hannah's friend Billy Zuni who is a primary focus in book five and Josie's lover, Archer, who is in a co-starring role in this installment) and described how much these characters add to the book. I've think I've described how, while legal thrillers, this series is much different than the typical book in the genre because of the character dynamics and how much that enhances the story. There is always plenty going on outside the courtroom that often has little to do with whatever legal dilemma is happening, but very much to do with the overall story. The books should appeal to fans of legal thrillers, but also to fans of other thrillers who shy away from the legal sub-genre.

However, as I was pondering what new there was to say I realized that, just as I struggled to find something different to say, many series authors have the same problem. A series that is episodic (for lack of a better word) where there seems to be no obvious story arc, where instead each book is one case as you'll often find in mysteries, police procedurals, and legal thrillers, often starts to feel like it's retelling the same basic story. The minor characters and the story conflict have different details, yet there seems to be a formula. While The Witness Series has some things that are consistent from book to book, mainly involving the quirks of the various characters and how they interact with each other, the plots or storylines of the books are vastly different. This installment especially as Josie, the lawyer in the series, has disappeared and has conflicts and challenges to overcome that are far away from prevailing in a courtroom while Archer and Hannah find themselves trying to prevail in court without her. How's that for turning the legal thriller formula on its head? Replace the lawyer with someone else in the courtroom.

With Expert Witness, Rebecca Forster has another winner. I hope we'll be seeing another book in this series. I'm eager to see what happens to Josie, Hannah, and Archer next.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
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on August 14, 2012
I'm becoming addicted to thrillers and there is no one better that can craft a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, keep you awake at night because you just have to read one more chapter and who will keep you thinking "I've got to read every book this author has ever written." That's how I felt when I read Ms. Forster's latest legal thriller, EXPERT WITNESS.

Once again we are privy to Josie Bate's life--before when she was a ruthless defense attorney--and now when she uses her talent and compassion to help a sixteen-year-old abused girl, Hannah Sheraton. Hannah is now Josie's ward, but something is wrong. The usual predictable Josie has seemingly disappeared into thin air. Hannah rustles up all her courage to go and see Archer, a private investigator and Josie's sometime boyfriend, to ask for his help in locating Josie. Archer uses all his connections including a Hermosa Beach detective, Liz Driscoll, to try and uncover any clues as to Josie's whereabouts. The news is not good. It seems that a double-murderer has been unexpectantly released from prison early and all signs point to him kidnapping Josie. When a second woman is kidnapped, the investigation turns frantic. The killer has a timetable - he kills his victims on the fifth day of captivity. Daniel Young, the expert psychiatrist, from the killer's trial, thinks he can help. He understands how the killer thinks and Archer and Liz have no choice but to include him in their investigation. If he can find the killer, then his obnoxious self-righteous behavior will have to be endured.

Ms. Forster takes you on a journey filled with twists and turns, many of which you will never see coming. I thought I had figured out who was responsible, but I couldn't have been further from the truth. That's superb craftsmanship from this author. Through expert writing I felt Hannah's anxiety, Archer's frustration and Daniel's smug attitude as he lends his expert opinion on the next steps in the investigation. If you enjoy thrillers, you'll find none better than "The Witness Series" by Rebecca Forster. Highly Recommended.
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on March 19, 2012
Josie Bates is an excellent attorney. Once the biggest shark in a tank full of sharks, she decided to leave the high profile cases behind and be a small time lawyer. That didn't work out as well as she hoped, but now, after a few high profile cases, she is hopefully settled in to her life in Hermosa Beach, California with her dog Max, her ward Hannah and her boyfriend Archer.

Then one night when Josie isn't home by midnight, Hannah decides things aren't right and heads off to get help from Archer. Archer and Hannah are not the best of friends, but under the circumstances they know they have to work together to find Josie and bring her home. Everyone is telling Archer that Josie may have just decided not to come home, but Archer knows in his gut something is wrong. He begs, he bullies and he manages to elicit help, but will it be enough? In the meantime, the court date is approaching for Josie to get legal custody of Hannah and give her the stability that she deserves. With more twists and turns than a soap opera, Expert Witness will keep you wondering until the end.

What can one say about Ms. Forster's style? This woman can write suspense like nobody's business. The book opens with what we assume is a kidnapper working on his victim. You know something bad is going to happen, you just don't know what or when. There were a number of times throughout the book when I just knew that I had figured it out, then Ms. Forster would throw a twist in and I would have to take a step back and rethink the situation. It became almost a challenge for me, o.k. miss smarty pants author you want to play it that way? Game on. By the end, I was exhausted from the fight and felt I must bow to the master, she had won our battle.

The people we met were just as fascinating as the plot. Archer just pulled me in and my heart broke for him. Such a strong man, once a policeman, now a private investigator he was really tested and proved over and over again just how he felt about Josie. Anyone would be lucky to have this man on their side and I think it didn't take Hannah long to figure that out either. Hannah, poor beautiful, damaged Hannah. She has her share of issues, but is fiercely loyal to Josie and will do what it takes to get her home. Together she and Archer are a great team and I loved watching them slowly learn to trust each other. Josie is strong, smart and will do whatever it takes; no one will stand in her way. I liked the three of them; by the end of the book I felt they were family.

This is suspense, mystery, action and thrills from beginning to end, nonstop emotion that will wring you dry then force you to give just a little more. There were times that I cried out loud, big tears running down my face, I cheered and yelled.

This is the fourth book in a series, but you don't have to read any of the others to follow the plot. I actually have not read the first books; I have them but didn't read them on purpose just to see if it was necessary. One word of caution, if you do plan on reading the entire series and don't like knowing what is going to happen, read them in order. This book will most likely give you spoilers for the previous ones, that doesn't bother me and I will go back and read the others. Any fan of suspense/thrillers should run, don't walk and get this book, you won't regret it.

Reviewed as a Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2012
I guess fourth in a series is pretty hard.
If there's a number five coming it's going to be a hard decision to purchase it with so much competition.
One, two & three seemed to have a common thread, this one lost something along the way.
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