Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 Book 58: Final Witness

Book #:58

Book Title:Final Witness

Author:Simon Tolkien

Publisher:Random House

Pub. Date:2002

Started:June 20, 2008

Finished:June 22, 2008

Time to Read:3 Days

Back Cover / Inside Flap:"One summer night, two men break into an isolated manor house and kill Lady Anne Robinson. Her son, Thomas, convinces police that his father's beautiful personal assistant sent the killers, but Thomas is known for his overactive imagination, and he has reasons to lie.

Thomas's father, Sir Peter Robinson, the British minister of defense, refuses to believe his son. Instead, he marries his assistant, Greta Grahame, and will be giving evidence for the defense at her trial. He will be the final witness.

Author Simon Tolkien successfully combines legal suspense and psychological tension in this sharply etched portrait of four people whose lives are changed by a murder. Alternating between the trial in London's Central Criminal Court and private moments among characters, Tolkien expertly describes the art of the trial, the class between Britain's social classes, and, most notably, the complexity of family relations.

Who is telling the truth - the new wife or the bereaved son? What will Sir Peter tell the court? With tantalizing ambiguity, Tolkien keeps readers guessing about the true motivations of these characters until the final witness."

Review:I enjoy the writing of Simon Tolkien about as much as I enjoy the writing of his grandfather, J.R.R. Tolkien. Young Tolkien is very proud of his heritage and wants you to know about it right on the flap of the book, but doesn't want to be judged by his name, only his work. Admirable. Unfortunately, the judgment, from me, will be harsh.

I suppose my harsh judgment even starts with the flap writing. Isn't that some of the worst you've seen? Seriously. Just so you know, I got this book as a present (dear, Christopher...he saw the genre and figured I'd like it) and so I read the flap only just before starting the tale.

The story is choppy. The characters are ill-portrayed. Despite the fact that Tolkien is both British and a barrister, there are inaccuracies both in how British culture is depicted and the British legal system. By the end of the novel, I was hoping the murderers would come back for a few more shots. All around, just did not enjoy. It's a shame...written differently, the basis of the story could have been compelling. As it stands...go ahead and take a pass on this one.

If you have read or are planning to read this book, please make sure to stop back by and leave me a comment to let me know your own thoughts!

From my library to yours,


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