THE WITNESS by Sandra Brown


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 Brown's romantic suspense/adventures (Charade, 1994, etc.) are sharpening in pace and punch, as evidenced in this tale of a public defender, a young mother, who sees something unspeakable in the South Carolina woods. In a freak car accident, a female passenger lies dead, while lawyer Kendall Deaton and her three-month-old son, Kevin, are alive and well. Also saved--rescued (regretfully) by Kendall--is husband Matt, now lame and amnesiac. As Kendall sneaks from the hospital, followed by Matt, flashbacks tell part of her story. Kendall had been granted the job of public defender in the small town of Prosper, South Carolina, where she met and married handsome Matt Burnwood, with the enthusiastic support of his jovial father, Gibb. Here and there, Kendall detects whiffs of something nasty about town (a cruel hog killing is a night's entertainment; a local knuckle-dragger whom Kendall defends is given an unusually severe sentence and dies), but she's reasonably content and delighted to find that she's pregnant. Then two events open her eyes--wide: Matt's erotic reunion with an old flame, and the truly horrible something she stumbles across in the woods. Kendall makes the mistake of rushing in to inform the local FBI agent--and now, marked as witness, she's on the road. How long will her ``husband'' remember? What of their former love-life? There's an unexpected meshing of emotional and erotic compulsions before the baddies slime their way to the Tennessee hideout to murder and proclaim. The Calvary comes in the nick, thanks to Kendall's pal Ricki Sue, a jolly nymph who ties up two naked Prosper locals by their pant legs. And in the switch of identities: Who's the real FBI agent? The real Matt Burnwood? The real Kendall Deaton? With identity puzzles and a chase, plus all the grue and woo: an entertainment bound for bestsellerdom. (First printing of ??; Literary Guild main selection; author tour)

Pub Date: July 5th, 1995
ISBN: 0-446-51631-7
Page count: 422pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1995


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