Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell

November 11, 2007
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Missing Witness
Gordon Campbell

Morrow
11/11/07
Hardcover/428 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-133751-2
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". . . simply stunning."

Missing Witness : A new and breathtaking legal thriller.

Rita Eddington and her twelve year old daughter Miranda go into to the irrigator’s cabin one morning. A few moments later, shots are fired. Rita comes out, drops the gun and slumps to the porch steps. Inside, a man lies dead. Juan Menchaka, a sheep man working for Ferris Eddington, sees it all. But nothing is more shocking than Ferris Eddington, father of the murdered man, Travis Eddington, hiring legendary defense attorney Dan Morgan to defend his daughter-in-law Rita.

Dan Morgan chooses Doug McKenzie, new to the firm, as his assistant in defending Rita Eddington. They must move quickly and get Rita to trial before Miranda comes out of her catatonic state. The stakes are high. Morgan must prove to a jury that Rita is innocent and Miranda, who has been in an out of mental hospitals most of her life, is guilty. But who actually fired the gun that killed Travis?

When you think of legal thrillers, authors like Scott Turow and John Grisham leap to mind. That is about to change with Gordon Campell’s Missing Witness. Campbell, who is also a lawyer, offers up the sand, heat and tangled relationships of Phoenix, Arizona in 1973 with exacting and loving detail while constructing the setting for his first novel. What could be just another legal thriller is far from ordinary. Campbell balances suspense, intrigue and legal information like a master, never allowing the pace to drag or the characters to become merely pawns.

What is so surprising about Missing Witness isn’t just its premise of a mother accusing her daughter of murder, but the deft way in which he handles such an emotional aberration without lapsing into parody. Campbell’s amazing feel for the world in which his characters live and work and his simple, honest prose produces fully realized characters with subtle intensity. Missing Witness is simply stunning. There is no doubt in my mind that Hollywood will soon have Gordon Campbell in their sights.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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