Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: "False Witness" by Randy Singer

Summary from Amazon.com: Clark Shealy is a bail bondsman with the ultimate bounty on the line: his wife’s life. He has forty-eight hours to find an Indian professor in possession of the Abacus Algorithm—an equation so powerful it could crack all Internet encryption.

Four years later, law student Jamie Brock is working in legal aid when a routine case takes a vicious twist: she and two colleagues learn that their clients, members of the witness protection program, are accused of defrauding the government and have the encrypted algorithm in their possession. After a life-changing trip to the professor’s church in India, the couple also has the key to decode it.

Now they’re on the run from federal agents and the Chinese mafia, who will do anything to get the algorithm. Caught in the middle, Jamie and her friends must protect their clients if they want to survive long enough to graduate.

If you're looking for a fast paced, suspense thriller that takes you across the world and deals with torturing this is the book for you. Ok there's not that much torturing but the book also involves dead animals and someone having to wet their pants in a truck. Now that I've gotten your attention, Randy Singer has penned another law suspense novel that will probably keep you turning pages. There's an algorithm that is being hunted down internationally, one that will change the way Internet security is run forever. A bounty hunter and his wife are caught up in this as well as several law students. It was really interesting to see what they went through in order to prevent the mafia and other hit men from getting what was not rightfully theirs.

While I enjoyed most of the story, I felt that there were several bits that really dragged the plot down. I have read several of Singer's law suspense books in the past and really liked how he blended the two together. However in this story, I just got really bored with any scenes dealing with lawyers or the courtroom. I honestly had to force myself from skimming through a lot of these passages. They weren't written bad, I just found them boring this go-round. It's not that I'm not interested in law proceedings. I just thought what was written in the book seemed to keep going on and on. The same goes for a lot of the suspense scenes. I had to reread several chapters over because somehow I had glazed over them and completely missed what was going on.

There also wasn't as much going on in India as I thought there would be. This is a new version of the book which was originally published in 2007. I haven't read that version so I am not really sure about what parts were changed or added. According to the author's note at the end of the book, he spotlights more about the plight in India. However very few of the scenes take place in India and what is mentioned isn't really that noteworthy, at least in my opinion. I felt like the whole algorithm thing seemed to be a red herring. While it was a main focal point of the story, it didn't really feel like it truly mattered.

Overall though, the story is interesting and suspenseful at times. I preferred reading more about Jamie's character than anyone else in the story because she seemed like the only one who got thrown in unexpectedly and then suffers for it. I wouldn't say that this is Singer's best work but it is a good law suspense novel and those who are fans of the genre will enjoy it.

False Witness by Randy Singer is published by Tyndale (2011)

This review copy was provided by a publicist

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