When 16-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her step-grandfather, and the DA decides to try her as an adult, her mother turns to her old college friend Josie Bates for help. Once a top defense attorney in the big city, Josie has chucked it all and moved to a small town to work on less demanding legal cases. She’s reluctant at first to take the case, but when she meets Hannah, she’s drawn to the girl and decides to give her the best possible defense.
Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster follows Josie as she is mired in a dysfunctional family’s problems and begins to uncover secrets that are best left unknown. This is a chilling legal thriller, with what appears to a layman like me to be credible and suspenseful courtroom scenes. But, the thing about story that sucks you in and never lets you go is the human drama that the author handles with consummate skill. From Hannah’s struggle with OCD to Josie’s unresolved angst over being abandoned by her mother, human emotions are revealed layer by layer like peeling an onion, and like peeling an onion, it’ll bring tears.
Bit by tormented bit, the reader is taken through a case that has more twists and turns than a roller coaster, and an ending that sneaks up and smacks you in the kisser with the force of a sledgehammer.
I received this book as a gift, and just had to review it. Forster is a master of her craft. I give it five stars.