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Welcome to today’s TeaserTuesday blog hop, interview and review!
False Witness by Karin Slaughter
False Witness by Karin Slaughter shows why she is one of the best for writing fabulous characters. This story has two sisters’ childhoods tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence as well as one of the sister’s tragedy of addiction. She was portrayed with empathy and grace by the author. This story is brutal, honest, real, and heartbreaking at times involving issues of rape, drug use, murder, and abusive violence.
Kudos to Slaughter for balancing the strong relationship between the sisters. Readers will grow attached to the sisters Leigh, Callie and Leigh’s husband, Walter, as he becomes involved to help them. Each of the sisters have taken a different route through life. Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life after being sexually harassed as a child babysitter. She’s an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, who would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, while managing to successfully coparent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter. The other sister, Callie, is a drug addict, but sympathetically humanized. She was a child gymnast and cheerleader, who after suffering a broken neck, had constant back pain. Her childhood experience involved being groomed and regularly sexually assaulted by a violent pedophile while babysitting his 10-year-old son, and turning her into a heroin addict.
As Leigh is asked by her boss to defend a serial rapist, she is confronted with her past. When she meets the accused face-to-face, Andrew, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s specifically asked for her to represent him. They know each other. Leigh wonders how much he knows about what happened over twenty years ago. The only person who can help her is Callie, the younger, estranged sister. With the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice to involve Callie. The shocking twist at the end of the book will keep readers engrossed.
This complex plot has as its central theme, the heart of the relationship between Callie and Leigh. Both these heroines are believable, flawed, and courageous. The highly intense themes, along with the horrible graphic actions of the evil doers, makes for a riveting read.
Elise Cooper: Why write about the pandemic?
Karin Slaughter: I started with a character, Leigh Collier, who I thought about three years ago. I knew I was going to write a story during the pandemic. When the book was finished the vaccines came, so I knew I wanted to incorporate the virus into the story. It was fun and challenging for me as an author. I tried to make Covid exist, but not as an intricate part of the story. I made sure not to politicize it.
EC: There is a difference between the two sisters?
KS: Some have the luxury to keep themselves as safe as possible and some do not. To highlight this, I used the two sisters, Callie and Leigh. Callie always had to work. Because of her addiction she had to be on the streets. Having a disability made her vulnerable.
EC: Why the addiction angle?
KS: I wanted to humanize someone struggling with addiction. She had an emotional, mental, and physical addiction. Hopefully, I showed how we are really failing in how to handle addicts and help them. Callie figured out a way to help herself through maintenance doses. If only addicts could get levels that could help them function in society and eventually wean themselves off of the drugs. Instead of punishing the people into the ground we should look at ways people could get help.
EC: Drug addicts?
KS: The personality of the person must be considered. If someone is actually a good person who is controlled by addiction, they are still decent. If someone is a horrible jerk, addiction will definitely amplify it. We spend trillions of dollars on the war on drugs, which has failed miserably. Imagine if we spent that money on helping low-income students get better Internet, classrooms, schoolbooks, nutritional meals, and safe schools. This would be more useful.
EC: How would you describe Leigh?
KS: She experienced a horrific trauma with her sister when they both were younger. She is now a successful lawyer. But Leigh is a control freak, compartmentalizes people, never likes to feel powerless, and is a survivor. She presents a front to hide her guilt and deep vulnerability.
EC: How would you describe the bad guy, Andrew?
KS: My grandmother used to say, ‘if someone wants to be bad, they will find any excuse to be bad.’ He is definitely an illustration of that. Andrew is someone looking for a reason to justify the bad things he wants to do. He thinks he should be able to do whatever he wants in life because he is entitled to do it. He is cruel and likes to terrorize people. When I wrote that fish scene with him, I laid a foundation for his personality.
EC: Speaking of fish, there is some humor?
KS: I love puns and love to be silly. It was delightful time for me to make up all that stuff, such as “Anne Chovey, Genghis Karp, Mr. Dar-Sea, and James Pond.” I spent far more time than I care to admit on this.
EC: There is a quote about prosecutors and judges caring more about optics than justice. Please explain
KS: Many prosecutors only take cases they think they can win. They plead out everything else. Many overcharge to get someone to plead out to a lesser charge. As voters we need to look at how the justice system runs. For example, women in prison are limited to the number of tampons and pads they can have.
EC: There is also a quote about losing someone. Please explain.
KS: You are referring to this one, “Your relationship with a person doesn’t end when they die. It only gets stronger.” Someone told me that after I lost my 9th grade teacher who I consider my mentor. She died about five years ago from cancer. I had all these memories of her. I remember our relationship and how important she was to me. The choices I make in the present are based on what she told me in the past.
EC: Your next book?
KS: It will have a murder and be out this time next year. A couple of characters from a previous stand alone will be back.
Hello book lovers, welcome back to our Tuesday post. This includes #TeaserTuesday, #BookBeginnings, and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros. Enjoy!
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Yvonne @ Socrates Book Reviews now hosts “First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros”, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading, have read, or plan to read soon.
False Witness by Karin Slaughter
From the Kitchen, Callie heard Trevor tapping his fingers on the aquarium. Her grip tightened around the spatula she was using to mix cookie dough. He was only ten years old. She thought he was being bullied at school. His father was an asshole.False Witness by Karin Slaughter
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday, Book Beginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros are this week! Luv Sassy x
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