Who Killed the Man?

My college life began at the age of seventeen. As you can imagine, I was too young to really know what I truly wanted to do with my life. And though I’ve found my calling now and have earned my B.A. in English-Tech. and Prof. Writing, I will always be enamored with the criminal courtroom scene.

I had the privilege to study law for a year and found it to be quite an intriguing profession. Ever since then, I’ve fallen in love with movies and books that transfer us into intense criminal court cases where we get to pretend to be the jury and mull over who’s culpable and who’s not. Perhaps movies make these moments seem far more exciting then they actually are, but either way, it’s an interesting world. A world I’ve been immersed inside of for the last couple days.

I got my hands on an excellent court case novel by Gordon Campbell called Missing Witness. Being a lawyer himself makes this book even better, because Campbell knows this world and can make it real. Surprisingly, this book is very- and I mean very- well written. Not that lawyers can’t write, but I wouldn’t expect them to use such vivid words and descriptions that you’d expect from a real writer with a passion for words. I thought all lawyers were pretty much technical and practical in their word choices. Campbell proves differently. His writing, his characters, his taut and suspenseful plot all combine to make one fiercely entertaining story.

Missing Witness starts right in the thick of the action. It’s 1973 in Arizona. A gorgeous woman and a twelve-year-old girl walk into a house with a gun. Shots are fired. A man is dead.

This seems like an extremely easy case for the best trial lawyer in Phoenix, Daniel Morgan, and his new assistant, Douglas McKenzie. While the only witness to the murder is in a catatonic state and unable to enlighten everyone as to the truth of what happened, the woman is judged as guilty. It seems like a pretty easy open-and-shut case. There were only two possible people who could have killed the man, either the woman or the little girl. Dan Morgan is chosen to defend the woman and ends up turning the case around in an unexpected way. Everything is going just as planned, but then some bizarre twists are introduced that cause chaos in what seemed like the easiest case ever. Soon it becomes a whodunit scenario. What started out as an easily explained case turns into a very complex case full of the bizarre. Nothing is as it appears to be.

Surprises abound in Campbell’s Missing Witness. If you’re a fan of court case dramas, you don’t want to miss this. You’ll try to figure out the case, you’ll think you have it, and then it will change on you. That’s what makes this so good. It’s truly a diamond in the stack of endless criminal case novels.

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