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Silent Witness (Random House Large Print)
ISBN 0679774165 / 9780679774167 / 0-679-77416-5
Publisher Random House Large Print
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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: his hero, Tony Lord, is still haunted by the murder, 27 years ago, 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 marry 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 works, 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 centre of Patterson's 1998 blockbuster, No Safe Place. --Patrick O'Kelley [via]