At the peak of his legal career, Tony Lord is suddenly called to defend his friend, Sam Robb, who is charged with murder. However, Lord has regrets about returning to Lake City, where he too, was suspected of murder. Yet, knowing the pain of unjust accusation, he feels compelled to help Sam.
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In each successive novel since Degree of Guilt, Richard North Patterson has experimented with flashbacks and past tragedies to drive the present suspense of his legal thrillers. Silent Witness is, perhaps, his greatest achievement with the technique: his hero, Tony Lord, is still haunted by the murder, 27 years ago, of his high school girlfriend, Alison Taylor.
In the late 1960s, Tony is the star of the Lake City, Ohio, high school football team. But when Alison is found strangled behind her house, even Tony's closest friend, Sam Robb, suspects him. Alison's true killer is never found, and Tony flees his home town to forge a career as a high- powered, high-profile San Francisco criminal attorney and marry a movie star. Cutting to the present day, Tony is called back to Lake City to defend his old friend. Sixteen-year-old track star Marcie Calder was found dead on the shore of Lake Erie, and Sam, now the overweight assistant principal and track coach of Lake City High, is the accused. A series of scandals slowly erodes Tony's confidence in Sam's innocence as Tony comes to terms with his own troubled past.
As with Patterson's previous works, Silent Witness is a novel with subtle characters who happen to be involved in a compelling (and authentic-seeming) criminal trial. For dedicated Patterson fans, some insight into the life of actress Stacey Tarrant is a special treat. She's Tony's wife in the present world of the novel but was the lover of Senator James Kilcannon before the senator was assassinated. James was the brother of Kerry Kilcannon, the enigmatic presidential candidate at the centre of Patterson's 1998 blockbuster, No Safe Place. --Patrick O'KelleyFrom the Back Cover:
Twenty-eight years separate the crimes that link Tony Lord and Sam Robb.
In 1967 Tony Lord is suspected of killing his girlfriend Alison, but the case never comes to trail, and Tony has never officially cleared his name in a case that is still open.
In 1995, Tony is a successful San Francisco attorney and receives a desperate call from Sam's wife: Sam has been accused of the murder of one of his students. Reluctantly, but inevitably, Tony agrees to defend his boyhood friend.
At once, Tony is plunged into the unfinished business of his past. And in the merciless arena of the murder trial, he must face not only his fear that Sam is a killer, but also the dark, buried truths that surround Alison's death all those years earlier...
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