Witness by Caroline Mitchell


Length: 338 pages

Note: As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

The Review:  You’ll remember I read The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell (read review here) and loved it, saying I had to get onto her other books. I’m afraid that didn’t go to plan, but this book has only cemented that I’m going to be reading her amazing thrillers for some time to come!

Now before I start I need to make sure you’ve read the blurb above. Impressed? Excited? Ready? Okay-let’s go!!!

We begin this tale in 2005 where a girl, Rebecca, is cradling a severely injured man on her lap. When the police say they’re there to help, she says they can’t, because the attacker’s father is one of them (jumps around the place excitedly!)  …

The book moves between diary extracts from ten years ago to a non diary narrative of modern day in a small Welsh town of Ponty Ferry where Rebecca is now married with a young child. The diary extracts contained some beautiful details about Rebecca and her mother and we were introduced to Solomon, her ex boyfriend. Back to modern day and Rebecca receives a message saying she has to nominate a person for a crime, and then witness it. This will happen a further nine times …
The story revolves around the ex, Solomon, and what a character he is! If I’m honest the only other character of this nature that remains as memorable to me is ‘Oliver’ from ‘Unraveling Oliver’ by Liz Nugent. Solomon has a back story that stays in your mind and makes you realise the impact a lack of parental love can have on someone. His thought processes are horrendous but pure genius, as is his revenge.

I highlight as I read, and make notes too, and as I went through this book I highlighted line after line, passage after passage, totally engrossed in every single detail but then, as soon after the crimes that Rebecca is forced to witness began,  I stopped as I was too engrossed.

The storyline was a great experiment on what someone will do to keep themselves and their family alive, although I have to admit there were so many things I’d have done differently(!) The drama builds and builds, the pages turn, and the numbers on the chapters, which I found to be deliciously short, climbed. There was also the nice touch that at times the diary extracts interrupted you, you had been notified as to who the person and the crime was, and just as you were ready to ‘see’ the crime, you got the diary extract with an equally important and riveting backstory. Saying all of this I have to warn you that although it’s not the toughest out there there is violence and a theme of domestic abuse. And, well that’s all I’m going to tell you except Id be shocked if this wasn’t in my top ten books at the end 2017.

Excellent plot, pacing and characters, a mesmerising book that has got me ready to work my way through all of Caroline Mitchell’s books.


The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell


What they say:

I’m alone in the dark, please can you find me …

Nine-year-old twins Abigail and Olivia vow never to be parted. But when Abigail goes missing from Blackwater Farm, DS Jennifer Knight must find her before it’s too late.

Twin sister Olivia has been mute since Abigail’s disappearance. But when she whispers in Jennifer’s ear, Jennifer realises it is Abigail’s voice pleading to be found.

A damp and decaying house set in acres of desolate scrubland, the farm is a place of secrets, old and new – and Jennifer must unravel them all in order to find the lost girl. But could Olivia’s bond with her twin hold the key to finding Abigail? And can Jennifer break through her silence in time to save her sister’s life?

A darkly gripping, page-turning thriller that will enthrall fans of Rachel Abbott, Alex Marwood’s The Wicked Girls and Mark Edwards.

The Review: The book begins with an atmospheric introduction into a game of hide and seek being played by two sisters, Abigail and Olivia. We are shown the stuff of every parents’ nightmares, and then Abigail is gone. You know when you’re reading and you just know that a book is going to take over your existence for the set time it takes to read? Well I got that straight away here!

From the off the descriptions were haunting and captivating. We watched as the police arrived and then were thrown straight into the investigation where there were multiple viewpoints, some a mystery, others not, some characters twisting their actions and thoughts so you were thinking the whole time, trying to read into them. Evidence was nicely done so it incriminated some and hinted at others.

One aspect of the story I was particularly taken by was the fact that the DS involved, DS Jennifer Knight, was assigned to the case because of the paranormal aspect to it. I liked that straight off the bat she was accepted and we didn’t have to hear the sceptics as I think it would have slowed down the story (this is part 3 of a series so perhaps this was dealt with previously). I actually rarely read anything near paranormal and I think this book was excellently done in that it had the exact mix of this and ‘normal’ detective work(made even better by the fact that Caroline Mitchell’s bio tells of her previous job as a police detective, which obviously gives the reader the reassurance of being able to accept all protocol etc as truth). What was also expertly done was that you also had no idea what had happened to poor Abigail (can’t say any more on that one, you’ll just have to read!)

Characters-brilliant-all facing the horrific scenario that everyone dreads and all dealing with it in very different ways, hence any of them could have had a guilty conscience going on. Pacing-perfection. As  for everything else there were some scenes that I suppose people could find a tiny bit disturbing, more because they insinuate things,  but other than this I have to say most people will really enjoy this. It is part 3 of the Detective Jennifer Knight Crime Thriller Series but it can most definitely be read as a stand alone. That being said I’ll be going back to the start. Really enjoyable. Thanks to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5