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 www.rebeccaforster.com
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
The plot was refreshingly surprising in a few areas. While I thought I knew where it was going, it differed just enough to deliver that mild "Oh, okay, that's not quite what I expected" moment.
I have to admit that I knew who the killer was halfway through the book. That didn't really bother me as I still had enough doubt to make me want confirmation at the end.
I found the novel wanting in the interactions between Josie, the attorney and main character, and Hannah, the young defendant. There just didn't seem to be enough conversation between them. I understand Josie, as a defense attorney, not wanting to ask, or even know, if her client is guilty, in order to give a good defense. However, I would have thought that she would have at least wanted to hear Hannah's account of the events of that night. If nothing else, she would need to hear it to decide if Hannah should testify on her own behalf. But, the conversations between them were kept to a bare minimum, so much so that I found it very dubious that Hannah felt such a connection with Josie.
The book goes off course a few times when it switches to other people's viewpoints. I found that completely unnecessary to the story. It appeared to be a very forced way to try to keep up the suspense. Unfortunately, when portions of a story are told from other viewpoints in a mystery, I always feel like those sections are `fake'. For instance, if a novel switched to the viewpoint of a killer, telling you all of his or her thoughts, and the person never thinks about the killing at all, well, then, we didn't really get all of their thoughts, did we? I don't think people drop little clues to themselves in their own thoughts.
The switching of viewpoints was not done smoothly, either.Read more ›