The Last Witness – Book Review

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The Last Witness, by Joel Goldman, has flattering blurbs on its cover, from Jeffery Deaver, among others.  In my opinion it’s not bad, but has several notable flaws, one of them major.

I’m giving mystery/thriller writers the benefit of the doubt and assuming that at least most of them are normal, law abiding citizens who never have and never will murder anybody.  That makes it hard for them (us) to develop a convincing motive for a murderer, but that’s no excuse for what Goldman has done.  I hate it when I get to the end of a murder mystery and find out that the villain is a seemingly normal character who suddenly starts frothing at the mouth and becomes a caricature of a homicidal maniac.  Even I, a minor mystery writer if ever there was one, haven’t been lazy enough to do that.

The plot involves corrupt politicians and awful weather in Kansas City and features brave and talented trial attorney Lou Mason.  The sex interest is provided by a beautiful woman who keeps throwing herself at our hero, but, perhaps in the interest of believability, she’s psychologically disturbed.

In another sign of author laziness, lawyer Mason has an all-purpose sidekick, a multi-talented but nevertheless destitute young man who can do everything from computer hacking to sharp-shooting.

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