Karin Slaughter | False Witness

karin slaughter false witness

The Book: 

False Witness by Karin Slaughter
Published July 20th 2021 by William Morrow
Date read: June 30, 2021

The Characters: 

Her ex Water
Her sister Callie

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Buy it on Bookshop.org | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):


Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job as a defense attorney, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilized – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be.


But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood that was far from average… a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.


Then a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest profile case she’s ever been given – a case that could transform her career, if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades running.


If she can’t get him acquitted, she’ll lose much more than the case. The only person who can help her is her younger, estranged sister Callie, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice.

Click here for book spoilers for <em>False Witness</em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read False Witness, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

The man Leigh is tasked with defending is Andrew, who Leigh had babysat as a child. Leigh and Callie killed Andrew’s father Buddy, because he had repeatedly raped both girls over the years they were Andrew’s babysitters.

Somehow, Andrew knew that the girls had killed Buddy and was back to threaten them.

The Ending:

Callie killed Sidney and Andrew, and then herself. At Callie’s funeral, Andrew’s mother told Leigh that she knew that Leigh and Callie killed Buddy. Andrew had copies of the videotapes with the proof. His mother never told anyone because she knew Buddy wasn’t a good person, and that Andrew had turned out just like him. She reassured Leigh that she would continue to keep her secret.

The Review: 

Thank you to #WilliamMorrowBooks for this advanced copy, and to #BlackstoneAudio and #NetGalley for the audiobook.

If you haven’t seen me say it already, this book was my most anticipated book of 2021. I absolutely love Karin Slaughter, especially her Will Trent series, and couldn’t wait for a new standalone from her. I am so lucky to have received an advanced copy!

This book is much heftier than all her previous novels, and the subject matter is very heavy as well. I read the first half and listened to the second, since I received the audio copy halfway through reading the physical.

This was the first book I’ve read that acknowledged Covid as just a day-to-day thing. It was post-lockdown Covid, but it was interesting that the characters referred to quarantine and thought things about whether people were wearing masks. Leigh, the main character, had contracted a fairly serious case of the virus before the story started.

As with all of Karin’s books, False Witness is very dark and full of trigger warnings. I was hooked from the incredibly disturbing first chapter, where KS sets you up to think the scene is one thing and then completely rips that out from under you.

Without spoilers: I loved this book, but it was a little different from the past few of hers I’ve read. I really love the depth of the characters: Leigh’s guilt over what happened to her sister and how she can’t help Callie, her complicated relationship with Walter, and her tenuous relationship with Maddie. I loved Callie’s love for animals, and how that was really the one thing grounding her as she struggled with addiction. The juxtaposition of their lives brought out their individual traits even more.

I’m so glad I listened to the audio of the second half, because I absolutely love Kathleen Early. She narrates most of Karin’s books, and her slight southern accent is the perfect fit for the Georgia location. Just her voice gives me so much nostalgia for listening to a well-loved series!

QOTD: What was/is your most anticipated read of 2021?

karin slaughter false witness

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