#BookReview: False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Today, I have a book review for an author I’ve read and enjoyed previously, Karin Slaughter. When I saw False Witness on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance of a free ARC  >>>

About the Book:56402557

He saw what you did … He knows who you are. The stunning new standalone from the no.1 international bestselling author


Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job as a defence attorney, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilised – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be.


But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood which was far from average … a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.


Then a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest profile case she’s ever been given – a case which could transform her career, if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realises that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades running.


If she can’t get him acquitted, she’ll lose much more than the case. The only person who can help her is her younger, estranged sister Calli, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice …


My Review:

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for a free eARC of this book.

Having read and enjoyed other books by this author, I felt somewhat disappointed with this one. It wasn’t a bad read, but neither did it blow me away as her others have done. And, on a personal note, it just did not work for me reading all about COVID-19 over and over and over and over and over again. You get the point. Not to mention that the MC kept taking off the mask when she really ought not to have done and leaving it on when she didn’t need to … so, seriously, what was the point? I like my fiction to take me away from the pandemic, not throw me into it’s nonense. Also, it got so much attention that it detracted from the plot and took up word count that may have been better employed to develop the MC and her sister a little more.

Technically, this book is plagued with spelling mistakes, lines missing words, and lines containing extra words as if from a partial edit. I know this is an advanced review copy, but seriously, it needs a lot of revision before going to final press. As an ARC reader, I have to take it on trust that this will be taken care of by then. Additionally, the writing reads as passive in the extreme and is not as polished as I have come to expect from this author.

In spite the above, some lines did stand out for me as particularly well done. Here are a couple …

‘He had nearly two feet and at least 150 pounds on her. The heft of an entire second human being existed inside of his hulking body. Scratch him? Bite him? Pull out his hair? Die with his blood in her mouth?’


‘She groaned worse than Dr Jerry when she stood up. Bad knee. Bad back. Bad neck. Bad girl.’

I felt that Callie would have made for the more compelling main character than her elder sister Leigh. Callie has sass and grit and cunning. Leigh comes across as too reserved and held back to connect with and just didn’t respond to situations. Instead, she withdrew even further, and–quite frankly–I found her more annoying than engaging. Callie, on the other hand–bad girl though she is–I could get to grips with and enjoy.

Because of the amount of repetition in this book, even repeating already twice repeated information from earlier in the narrative, and the amount of wasted space listing things and describing surroundings, as well as all the COVID-19 references, the plot and pacing suffered enormously. I laboured through this book over 12 days instead of devouring the read as I normally would. Add to that a lack of connection with the characters, it made for a slog of a read for the most part.

All the descriptions of the violent assaults, rapes, and murders were incredibly graphic, which may upset many readers. I’m fine with it, but do feel more emphasis could have gone into character and plot development. I came across no surprises in this story and no twists or turns. It played out as I expected it would.

As I said at the start of this review, False Witness isn’t a bad read, but neither did it blow me away as other books of Karin Slaughter’s have done. I give it 3 stars, which means: Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. Worth a read.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links … (the eBook releases on or around June 24th at the moment in the UK)

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/


18 Comments on “#BookReview: False Witness by Karin Slaughter

  1. This book grabbed my attention because of the author. I got to meet Karin at a conference several years ago and found her to be one funny lady. She could work as a stand-up comedian. Sorry, the book didn’t deliver. I would agree with you. I don’t want to read anything that is going to throw me into the pandemic. I want to escape!

    • She’s always struck me as a great lady. Just a shame this book missed the mark. Thanks, Jan 🙂

  2. I’ll pass on this one. I read murder mysteries and thrillers, but graphic descriptions of rape and murder are a turn off for me. Throw in the pandemic and nothing about it appeals to me.
    I gave one of my NetGalley reads earned a 2.5 stars. I know it’s hard to continue with a book when you’re not invested.

    • Agreed on all points. I feel the graphic detail was over emphasised and gratuitous in places. Thanks, Mae 🙂

  3. Harmony, that is an even more detailed review than usual, but after I’d read it I thought it equated more with your 2-star rating ideal than a 3-star. Twelve days to read a book? You must have put it aside often, and what you’ve said put me right off, whereas the blurb had me wondering about buying it when it’s published.

    • I couldn’t discount because of the errors as this was an ARC. With those included, it would definitely have been a two star read. I agree, the blurb is great. Thanks, Sarah 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing your review, Harmony. That’s a long read for a book you weren’t that invested in.

    • It sure was a long read. Had I not had the commitment to review, I probably would have shelved it halfway through. Thanks, Denise 🙂

  5. I bought one of Karin’s books last summer. Couldn’t get past the multi-page author note that was at the beginning of the story. If it hadn’t been past Amazon’s 30-day return policy, I would have asked for a refund. Since I have it, I may go back and try to read it again.

    I’ll skip this one. I’m like you, I want books to take me away from the pandemic, not put me in the middle of it. (I’ve had enough of that, thank you.) Not sure why some fiction writers feel compelled to write about it.

    Thanks for your honest review, Harmony.

    • One or two mentions, I could have lived with. But not this amount of immersion. Thanks, Joan 🙂

  6. With all that you mentioned. I think this would be a pass for me. I do not want to read about what I lived through. Thanks for sharing, Harmony.

  7. I guess even best-selling authors don’t knock it out of the park every time they’re up to bat. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Harmony.

    • I’ve read more good indie books lately than I have traditionally published. It makes me wonder what’s up. Thanks, Priscilla 🙂