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HOSTILE WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller (The Witness Series) [Kindle Edition]

Rebecca Forster
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,475 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.50
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships create a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth is uncovered it can save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.

"This story was inspired by a case my husband handled. As a superior court judge he had to sentence a minor to life in prison. It made me wonder how I felt about minors arrested for violent crimes. Are they most vulnerable among us - capable or horrible violence, perceived as adults and yet emotionally still children?" Rebecca Forster

"An enthralling read, with colorful, well-developed characters and the unique atmosphere of the California beach communities." Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

"Blending complex psychological character portraits with spot-on accurage courtroom drmaa, Forster's riveting legal thriller keeps the plot twists coming until the last, satisfying page." - Alafair Burke

Editorial Reviews


5.0 out of 5 stars awesome book!, January 4, 2012
Patty (CORVALLIS, OREGON, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: HOSTILE WITNESS (legal thriller, thriller) (The Witness Series,#1) (Kindle Edition)
This book was so well written. It kept me guessing up to the end. I recommend it to anyone who loves a great mystery with romance. 
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic thrill ride, January 4, 2012
L. Smith (Upstate New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: HOSTILE WITNESS (legal thriller, thriller) (The Witness Series,#1) (Kindle Edition)
This book had it all. Everything I enjoy in a legal thriller was in this story. Characters who tug at both your heart and your mind. Courtroom scenes that produce great drama and insight. Twists and turns galore. Fights that are NOT over the top. Family drama as well as legal drama. I am very glad that I took the time to read the sample...then download and finish the whole thing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars i am now a big fan!!!, January 3, 2012
shopper "shopper" - See all my reviews
This review is from: HOSTILE WITNESS (legal thriller, thriller) (The Witness Series,#1) (Kindle Edition)
i never thought id become a fan of rebecca forster.. i mean i was a loyal john grisham, dean koontz and richard north patterson.. now im going to add up her books to my collection!

From the Author

I love this book because I feel the characters so strongly. Josie, Hannah, Archer and all their beach crew are as alive to me as if they lived in Hermosa Beach on the Strand. I didn't know how special they would become when I wrote Hostile Witness though. It was never meant to be the beginning of a series. The editor who originally published this book suggested that I continue on, and I'm so glad she did. This book was inspired by a case my husband had (he's a judge). He had to sentence a sixteen-year-old boy to life in the adult prison for a horrendous murder. I started to wonder how I felt about teenagers being tried as adults and that one thought led me down many roads.  I am particularly intrigued by Hannah's relationship with her mother and Josie. I hope you will be, too.

Product Details

  • File Size: 595 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0451211634
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002Z7G0QO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,629 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
386 of 404 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely riveting from start to finish February 23, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I haven't read many legal thrillers in the past few years, but I think I am going to have to add more books of this genre to my future reading list - especially those written by Rebecca Forster. Hostile Witness is just a fantastic, completely absorbing read, the kind of book that makes you hate your job because having to get up early for work means having to set the novel aside in the wee hours of the morning just so you can get a few hours of sleep. Any thriller is best judged by the number of hours' sleep you miss, and Hostile Witness is right up there with the best of them.

Usually, legal thrillers have a few passages that are dry and boring or feature cardboard characters lacking any spark of life in them. Not so with Hostile Witness. Forster has given life to some vivid, remarkably human characters - the heroic, sympathetic lawyer who puts a painful past behind her to defend a young girl accused of arson and murder; the 16-year-old defendant, a troubled teen lost in emotional chaos and harboring shocking secrets, the girls' seriously dysfunctional mother and step-father seemingly hiding behind mysterious secrets of their own, the hard-nosed yet somehow slightly noble prosecuting attorney, even the victim himself, a man already dead when the novel begins.

The protagonist of the novel is Josie Baylor-Bates, a lawyer who finds herself back in the criminal defense game she left some years ago. Not only is she still dealing with the pain of being abandoned by her mother when she was just a young girl, she is haunted by an old case. An accused murderer she successfully defended (and truly believed to be innocent) turned around and killed again - only this time it was her own children.
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167 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Legal Thriller May 26, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I like a good deal. You know how when you go to the grocery store and you find your favorite cereal is buy one get one free, you almost feel like you've won some sort of lottery. Now, you know the store has upped the base price of the cereal, but you still snatch it up and through it your cart. There is a great feel to a two for one deal. That's how I have always felt about a good courtroom drama. You're getting two dramas for the price of one. The first drama is outside the courtroom. The incident, the lives affected, secrets, conspiracies and so much more pepper the events leading up to a trial. Then the trial, the legal maneuverings, the back room deals, the attorneys and judges, you can't get much better than that.
Recently there has been more and more legal thrillers that forgo the courtroom. The lawyer turned detective who solves the mystery without even filing a motion. While these books are often quite entertaining, I sometimes feel like I missed something. In Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster we get the whole enchilada.
Josie Baylor-Bates is a talented yet flawed attorney. Tortured by her past and by her success as a criminal defense attorney, all Josie wants now is to settle into a small neighborhood practice taking care of wills and eveyday legal problems. Then her old college roomate Linda Sheraton shows up at her door, her daughter having just been arrested for the murder of her step-grandfather, a California Supreme Court Justice. This was exactly the kind of high profile case that Josie wanted to avoid. Josie's intentions were to meet with the girl, get her through the bail hearing then hand her off to a qualified attorney, but after meeting with Hannah she can't get the image of the beautiful yet troubled girl out of her head.
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244 of 267 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes interesting / often absurd September 19, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It helped that this book was free on Kindle when I ordered it... I had very mixed feelings about this novel. Some of the characters and narrative were done quite well, but there were a number of places where key scenes made no sense whatsoever. During a trial, for example, the main character (defense lawyer) began asking a hostile witness detailed questions about things that happened to him at specific ages ("Isn't it true that, when you were 6, such-and-such happened?"). The lawyer had just been told some vague information about the witness by someone who was unlikely to have known even the vaguest of details, yet seemed to have gleaned all this information from a brief conversation.

The book is also in dire need of a spell-checker and proofreading to correct confusing sentence structure and peculiar punctuation.

The "bad guys" (and there were several) were all unbelievable. The protagonists, however, were sympathetically drawn.

All in all, I doubt I'll read any of the other titles in this series. Hopefully, the author has since started working with a better editing and proofreading team, since she does seem to have some talent for writing and is probably capable of creating a much better novel than this one.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor writing/editing spoiled a promising plot April 7, 2012
By carolyn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Luckily I downloaded this novel free so at least I don't feel I've been ripped off. I think the author had a great premise and the plot showed some real promise; but the thinly developed characters, disjointed construction, typos, grammatical errors, and hackneyed phrases finally got to me. I ceased hoping the book would improve and gave up at the 26% mark.

I read some of the other 1 star reviews and agree with most of them, except for those which found the novel flawed simply due to course language. I couldn't care a whit about four letter words liberally used in a well-constructed book. This assemblage of words doesn't appear to have even been proof-read before it was sent off for publishing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
This is a good book. I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep. It was so good that I bought book . Silent witness.
Published 2 hours ago by God is good.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thououghly enjoyed Hstile Witness
The story kept me interested and wanting to keep reading. Loved how Josie was persistent until she found the guilty person. Liked it very much.
Published 4 hours ago by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever
Well written and holds your attention for the entire read. I've already added some more of her works to my wish list.
Published 5 hours ago by JillianJames
4.0 out of 5 stars the Novel Hostile witness a short summary
very griping story line.amazing end Good job. I like especially the character of Josie. Hannah and her sufferings take your heart away
Published 6 hours ago by vijay lakshmi sharma
5.0 out of 5 stars why did I like "Hostile Witness"
because it is well written, well constructed and reasonably well researched. I particularly liked the way emotional life of the characters was approached.
Published 7 hours ago by Elizabeth Jacko
5.0 out of 5 stars I had trouble putting this book down
This is very much a who dun it book that is well written with enough detail to allow you to become a part of the story.
Published 16 hours ago by P. Johnson
1.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't good
Sorry, I bring my kindle when I work out and I just could not get into this book at all. In fact, I stopped reading it about 1/3 of the way in, and returned it.
Published 1 day ago by Inga Jahn
5.0 out of 5 stars The very first 'Witness' book
Kudos to Rebecca Forster. After reading this one, I couldn't wait to purchase more of the 'Witness' series!! The 'Witness' series is really enjoyable, past-paced reading.
Published 1 day ago by Doris M. Lovelace
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Hostile Witness was a good read. It had interesting characters and a twist at the end of the book which made for a great conclusion.
Published 1 day ago by Kate Todd
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy Good
This book had me at the edge of my seat the whole time. Just when I thought I had the story figured out, another twist or turn. So glad I took a gamble on this book.
Published 2 days ago by Melissa
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More About the Author

I marketed a world-class spa when it was still called a gym and did business in China before there were western toilettes at the Great Wall. Then I wrote a book on a crazy dare and found my passion.

Now, I am a USA Today and Amazon best selling author with more than 26 books to my name - and if you ask me where all those words came from I'd be hard pressed to tell you. All I know is that I wake up with a story in my head and go to bed the same way.

I write thrillers with an eye toward the very human element of my characters. The Witness Series follows the lives of attorney Josie Bates, her ward, Hannah, and Josie's lover, Archer. The series was voted #1 in PRG Reviewers Choice for series and Eyewitness was voted #1 in the mystery/thriller genre. I try to push creative boundaries with my non-series books. Before Her Eyes garnered a B&P Readers Choice Award for best mystery.

I have taught at the UCLA Writers Program, UC Irvine and Cal State Long Beach and lecture at writers groups, women's conferences and philanthropic events. I am most proud of the work I do with The Young Writers Conference, a program that helps motivate middle school children to explore the power of words. I am particularly drawn to kids who want to write because both my sons have always had a passion for it. Eric is a playwright and novelist (see Eric Czuleger) and Alex is in film.

When I'm not writing I'm traveling, on a tennis court, working a sewing machine or reading. Thank you so much for taking a look at my author page. You can find out more about me - and leave me a note - at

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I realize this is an old post, and i'm assuming you've found your answer by now. But in case you haven't, then the answer is yes. Download the kindle app from the app store, sign in with your amazon account, and download whatever you have in your library. Be sure to look for free books. Good luck!
Jul 29, 2013 by Onion Eaters |  See all 2 posts
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