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ISBN 0345404769 / 9780345404763 / 0-345-40476-9
Publisher Ballantine Books
List price $7.99
› Find signed collectible books: 'Silent Witness'
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 [via]