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True Witness - Jo Bannister

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Jo Bannister / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 262 Pages / Book is published 2003-05-01 by Allison & Busby

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      18.07.2009 10:12
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      Reasonable suspense thriller

      ==Background:==

      When I came to pick this novel when I was looking round the library I was conscious I wanted an author I knew, liked and trusted. I was having the 'Monday Blues' and I needed a good book to pick me up, and something that I knew I would enjoy. That's why I plumbed for this one.

      ==About the author:==

      Jo Bannister was born in England in 1951 and has already written over 20 novels. She began her working career as a journalist working for a local paper. She is best known for her crime thrillers featuring Brodie Farrell as an energetic lady who by profession finds things for people, so far there have been eight in this series.

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Daniel Hood is looking after Brodie Farrell's five-year-old daughter Paddy. As it is very late at night he is surprised to hear noises from the Pier as two men are fighting in the dark. He grabs his torch to investigate, but only sees one man hit another with a large object and then push the body into the sea below.

      Daniel sees the man then run off, so he jumps in to the freezing sea but is unable to save the man. It turns out he is an 18 year old man called Chris Berry and he was hit by a wheel brace. Immediately the Police believe they know who it is as ten years before three young men were also killed with this implement. But despite this they were unable to prove that Neil Cochrane a local Farmer was responsible for these.

      However their witness Daniel is unable to identify him when shown pictures of him and he goes from hero to villain in the town. As the town's people want this evil man put away, they take their anger out on Daniel burning his house down. Only Brodie will defend him as the Police are baffled by his un-cooperative stance. Can Brodie get to the bottom of this and find out the real guilty party?

      ==My thoughts on the book:==

      Overall I did enjoy reading this in parts dramatic but always well-written thriller. This novel is the second in the series of currently eight featuring Brodie Farrell. It takes the reader back to the early days of the relationships between the three main characters Brodie, Daniel Hood and Detective Inspector Jack Deacon.

      On seeing this novel in the library I was immediately interested in it. To start with the title sounded intriguing and to my mind opened up lots of exciting possibilities. I then looked at the good length summary on the inside cover of the book. This really wetted my appetite as I liked the idea behind the story, so I could not wait to get it home to read it.

      I found the novel very easy to get into as the action begins almost immediately. Maybe it is slightly easier for me as I know the characters as I have read several of these books before and can straight away identify with their character traits and their personalities.

      However for a new reader to this book, I do not see this as a problem at all. As all the main characters are interesting and the thought behind the novel is always different for each of the Jo Bannister books. You certainly do not have to have read the first book in the series to enjoy this the second one.

      Immediately I was impressed by the quality of the author's description of the scenes and the feelings and emotions of the books key characters. For me the author is superb at tapping into the characters personality and explaining how they are feeling and why they behave as they do. This is particularly important as Daniel Hood's character will always come into conflict with jack Deacon's.

      I found the story initially very interesting. I liked the concept the author was employing of the hated man in the town that everyone believed was responsible for the murder. As he was for the killing and raping of three teenage boys ten years before. That now Daniel would be able to identity him and send him to prison for the rest of his life.

      Daniel's reaction to this is priceless and no matter what pressure is brought to bare on him he refuses to lie and say this man did the crime. However from this point I thought the story dropped down a few gears and the pace and my interest waned. I found a section quite dull, although still written well I found the story developed in a slower and cumbersome way.

      It was only towards the end of the story that I started to enjoy it and really get back into it. As the pace picked up and the truth was revealed in an exciting and tense way. I certainly did not solve the case despite feeling sure I knew the solution 100 pages before.

      I still have a problem with the explanation of the truth about this case. As I found the solution unlikely and certainly not as well thought out as the usual Bannister plots. But then I suppose no one really knows how some one will react 100% of the time given a unique situation.

      What really worked well for me in this series of books is the relationship between the novels three main characters. In this one their relationships are in the early throws and it allows the reader to see how and why they developed the way they did. These characters work so well together because they are so different from each other and all have strong personalities.

      These three characters are very strong in their beliefs and convictions. Even Daniel who is not physically strong more than makes up for it with his mental strength. Through the authors excellent writing you get to see the world differently from the eyes of each of these people. This allows you to understand their perspective and understand them better.

      The other support characters in the novel were a little disappointing. I found some of their actions really out of character with their personalities. Even Neil Cochrane I did not understand, I thought he would have done anything to protect himself and stay free apparently not, again unlikely for my money.

      The book was full of surprises and suspense. The author was very good at leading the reader in a certain direction and then hinting at something and then you make the wrong deduction from that. The author built up the suspense throughout and made you question what you already knew or at least what you thought you knew.

      The novels length was about right to tell this story. Although I felt the story did meander a little in the middle and for a while went no where.

      I think this story was not one of Bannister's best. Although all the ingredients where there at the start, I struggled to understand and be able to believe her interpretation of human nature. As a result I found the conclusion to the book unconvincing.

      ==Conclusion:==

      I thought this book is well worth a read. For me this is one of the less interesting and enjoyable books I have read from Jo Bannister. Its strength is the three main characters and their interactions with both each other and the scenes they find themselves in. It was let down by the reasoning for the killing in my view and the lack of a reasonable explanation for it.

      ==Other information:==

      Pages: 263
      Publisher: Allison & Busby Publishing
      Price: £11.95
      ISBN: 978-074-900-6013
      Year: 2002
      About the author: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/jo-bannister

      Thank you for reading my review.

      This review is published on both Dooyoo and Ciao under my user name.

      @CPTDANIELS July 2009

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