In each successive novel since Degree of Guilt
, Richard North Patterson has experimented with flashbacks and past tragedies to drive the present suspense of his legal thrillers. Silent Witness
is, perhaps, his greatest achievement with the technique as his hero, Tony Lord, is haunted by the 27-year-old murder of his high school girlfriend, Alison Taylor.
In the late 1960s, Tony is the star of the Lake City, Ohio, high school football team. But when Alison is found strangled behind her house, even Tony's closest friend, Sam Robb, suspects him. Alison's true killer is never found, and Tony flees his home town to forge a career as a high-powered, high-profile San Francisco criminal attorney and marries a a movie star. Cutting to the present day, Tony is called back to Lake City to defend his old friend. Sixteen-year-old track star Marcie Calder was found dead on the shore of Lake Erie, and Sam, now the overweight assistant principal and track coach of Lake City High, is the accused. A series of scandals slowly erodes Tony's confidence in Sam's innocence as Tony comes to terms with his own troubled past.
As with Patterson's previous work, Silent Witness is a novel with subtle characters who happen to be involved in a compelling (and authentic-seeming) criminal trial. For dedicated Patterson fans, some insight into the life of actress Stacey Tarrant is a special treat. She's Tony's wife in the present world of the novel but was the lover of Senator James Kilcannon before the senator was assassinated. James was the brother of Kerry Kilcannon, the enigmatic presidential candidate at the center of Patterson's 1998 blockbuster, No Safe Place. --Patrick O'Kelley
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Like its predecessors, Patterson's latest novel (after The Final Judgment) evinces endless admiration for the ornateness of the law, and is crowded with complex characters whose troubles will draw readers deeply into their story. This hypnotic tale revolves around a friendship that begins on a high-school football field and is tested half a lifetime later in a Lake City, Ohio, courtroom. Tony Lord, a noted California criminal lawyer, returns to the home of his youth to defend his oldest friend, Sam Robb, against the charge of murdering his 16-year-old mistress. Lord takes the sordid case in part because his own life was nearly shattered when, as a teenager, he was suspected of murdering his own girlfriend. Because he wasn't formally charged, he was never "acquitted" by his neighbors of the brutal killing, which remains unsolved 28 years later. Lord isn't ready for the feelings that assault him in Lake City, or for the resurrection of memories both cherished and hated-like those of his brief affair with the cheerleader who became Sam Robb's wife, or of Sam's past questioning of Lord's innocence. Moving back and forth in time with metronomic patience, Patterson grants these two homicide cases an almost epic grandeur. He examines, in sometimes painful detail, the ways in which the friendships of youth can pass into personal mythology and skew adult judgment. But he is at his dramatic finest when, at last, he gives the emotions of these characters, who are connected by a lifetime of love and resentment, full reign in the courtroom. These are the scenes that his fans will anticipate most eagerly, and they are as explosive and revealing as anyone could wish. 400,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; simultaneous Random House Audio.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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