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Witness to A Trial

Witness to a Trial: A Short Story Prequel to The Whistler (Kindle Single) - John Grisham

By:  John Grisham

Series: The Whistler .5



Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date:  9/27/2016

Format: Kindle 

My Rating:  4 Stars

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)!

Format: 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.

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/03/Witness-to-a-Trial