True Witness

Out star-gazing one night, Daniel Hood hears running on the derelict pier nearby and watches in horror as one man chases another, smashes his skull with a wheel-brace and tips him into the sea. Daniel gets one glimpse of a face by torchlight before the killer flees. Detective Inspector Jack Deacon has a prime suspect – a man who was questioned about the murders of three teenage boys ten years earlier. The MO is almost identical, the victim a prominent young athlete. The police couldn’t make the case then, but now they have a witness hopes are high. So Deacon is furious when Daniel fails to identify the man. So are the frightened townsfolk- when another boy is found dead, anger mounts until Daniel is roughed up and his house burned down. but that doesn’t worry him as much as the thought that he made a mistake which cost another life. Brodie Farrell wonders if the killings were made to fit the pattern by someone who wanted to send Deacon off on a wild-goose chase, if someone used the earlier crimes to disguise his own. Daniel is desperate for her to be right, Deacon equally anxious that she should be wrong. As their inquiries start to converge, the questions mount faster than the answers and even things they thought they knew become less certain. Not only the identity of the killer, but whether Daniel actually witnessed the crime at all. The truth finally comes when eight look-alikes instead of the expected seven turn up at the police station for an identity parade, and one has a shotgun and a score to settle.

Reviews:

‘as much a character study as it is a mystery. … Jo Bannister is a talented writer who gives equal weight to plot and characterisations so that the audience receives an engagingly balanced crime thriller’ Harriet’s Book Reviews

‘Bannister…skilfully moves her characters through an intriguing tale of tragedy and death in a small town…Brodie makes a refreshingly realistic sleuth.’  Publishers Weekly

‘In a novel full of well-developed, interesting characters, Bannister builds a complex case with plenty of surprises that will keep readers guessing about what really happened until the very end.  An intricate psychological puzzler.’  Booklist

‘The raw emotions, the fear, and the true horror of the story are redeemed by the integrity and loyalty of Daniel and Brodie, and the evolving character of Jack Deacon.’  Mystery News