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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Witness to a Trial

Witness to a Trial

Series: The Whistler .5



Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 9/27/2016

Format: Kindle

My Rating: 4 Stars A startling and original courtroom drama from New York Times #1 Bestseller John Grisham that is the prequel to his newest legal thriller, THE WHISTLER A judge’s first murder trial. A defense attorney in over his head. A prosecutor out for blood and glory. The accused, who is possibly innocent. And the killer, who may have just committed the perfect crime.

John Grisham

My Review

John Grisham sets up an enthralling crime-legal thriller for the highly anticipated, The Whistler, coming October 25, with a fully loaded action-packed prequel, WITNESS TO A TRIAL. A conspiracy, corruption, and murder. The players are lined up and detailed for the trial, a perfect set up for what's coming next!

Plus everyone knows legal thrillers are my "top genre" and Grisham, my favorite Set in the Florida Panhandle, the book opens in the courtroom. Murders. Two miles from the Tappacola reservation. Not on tribal land, but in the local county, under their jurisdiction. Two people were dead. Found naked. A man and woman. Married to someone else. Shot in the head.Son Razko and Eileen Mace. The Defendant: Junior Mace, a full blooded Tappacola Indian, age thirty-seven, father of three, and husband of Eileen, the woman he was accused of killing. Until he was arrested he had driven a truck and delivered propane for a nearby company. For fifteen months he had been in jail awaiting this trial. Junior said he was being framed and loved his wife. He declares he is innocent. He was making deliveries when they were killed and did not own a gun. Swoboda finally believed him after 15 months. The Defense Lawyer: Larry Swoboda, age thirty-one, an aspiring criminal defense lawyer from Panama City. The Judge: Claudia McDover. 40 years old. The previous year she had defeated an eighteen -year incumbent by a thousand votes. Her first capital murder case. Before becoming a judge, she had been a small-town general practitioner. She strongly supported the death penalty. Witnesses: First, Clive Pickett, the rustic sheriff of Brunswick Country. Willard a second hick cop. Next the bartender, Spike. The bar owner was there to observe. The fourth witness was a ballistics expert, Montgomery, from the state crime lab. The fifth witness Dr. Unger pathologist from the state crime lab. Sixth witness Louise Razko, wife of the murder victim. Seventh witness Todd Short, the first of two jailhouse snitches. Eighth witness, Digger Robles, another jailhouse snitch. His criminal record was not quite as impressive as Shorts. The Jury: Nine whites, three blacks, no Native Americans. Equal split on gender. Three college degrees, two without jobs, average age 52, conservative, middle class. No problems with the death penalty. The Prosecutor: Wagner, was thrilled to be on the hunt for his first death verdict. At the time Florida had 300 men on death row and not a single one had been sent there by him. Junior Mace would put him on the map. The Brother: Wilton Mace. He was there for support. He knew the truth. They were happily married. His brother is innocent. Murders carefully staged by criminals hell-bent on building a casino on Tappacola land. Standing in their way: Son Razko and Junior Mace. Were the killers from the outside – the perfect crime? The Spectator: Delgado. He worked for a tight and well-organized gang of career criminals determined to build a casino on the Tappacola reservation. He is observing the trial Witness by Defense: First: Teenager, Heath. Second: Len McGuire owner of a nursery and garden shop. Third: Retired state trooper Taggart. The Son: Patrick Mace, age 14. Oldest of the three children. A mother now gone. A father fighting for his life. He knows his dad is innocent. Younger children not allowed in the courtroom. The tribe had voted no almost 3 yrs. Earlier when Son Razko and Junior Mace had been agitating against the casino on tribal land. They viewed gambling nothing more than another white man’s curse, and they had narrowly won. Chief: Two camps. Now, with Son dead and Junior on his way to prison, the tribe would vote again and the casino would be built. The casino would lift them out of poverty and reunite his tribe. His dream. Prosperity. Junior knew whoever killed Son and Eileen was doing a fine job of framing him. Remove them, and the casino would be built. How will this nightmare end? We will have to wait to learn what happens next in the Sunshine State (love the Florida setting)! A great teaser for The Whistler, coming October 25! Appears we have a dirty judge secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. Now there is a whistleblower. (I love Whistleblowers)! Formats: I listened to the audio first (3 stars) and two many names to keep track. (not my favorite narrator- Mark Deakins). Secondly, the Kindle version (5 Stars), which was much better (recommend). Combining for 4 Stars. I am beyond excited Cassandra Campbell (my favorite narrator) will be performing The Whistler! Yeah - have pre-ordered the audio. Can't wait!! Campbell and Grisham a winning combo. A huge fan of both. Definitely recommend reading the short story, prior to The Whistler.

Worth the $.99 and more.

Review Links:




The Whistler

The Whistler


Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 10/25/2016

Format: Other

My Rating: TBR (Pre-Ordered)

On the heels of the runaway success of Rogue Lawyer, John Grisham delivers the high-octane suspense that readers have come to expect from the master of the legal thriller.

With his latest novel, John Grisham takes his irresistible blend of legal savvy and page-turning storytelling to a whole new level. Filled with an unforgettable cast of characters and Grisham's trademark twists and turns, readers will be kept guessing until the very last page. Read More

About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988. That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991. Read More






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