Book Reviews

Can You Tell Us What You Saw: False Witness by Michelle Davies @M_Davieswrites @panmacmillan #FalseWitness #RandomThingsTours

I am connected to the world again! Hello new and super fast Internet! Thanks for helping me catch up on the poor blog tours that have suffered a big glitch!

I would like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this tour and providing me with a copy of False Witness.

False Witness CoverTitle: False Witness
Author: Michelle Davies
Date of publication: September 20th 2018
Publisher: PanMacmillan
Format: E-copy
Number of pages: 432

7.15am: Two children are seen on top of a wall in a school.
Shortly later one of them lies fatally injured at the bottom.
Did the boy fall or was he pushed?
As a family liaison offer, DC Maggie Neville has seen parents crumble under the weight of their child’s death. Imogen Tyler is no different. Her son’s fall was witnessed by the school caretaker, a pupil is under suspicion, and Imogen is paralysed by grief and questions.
For Maggie, finding the truth is paramount if she is to help the mother.
But as she investigates,
further doubts emerge and the truth suddenly seems far from certain. Could the witness be mistaken about what happened, and if he is, then who is responsible?
And how far will they go to
cover up the boy’s death?
False Witness by Michelle Davies is the gripping third novel in the critically acclaimed
Maggie Neville series, following Gone Astray and Wrong Place.

my review red

When I started False Witness, I had the undercurrent idea that it would be a straight case. Why? I can’t really tell. Call it a gut feeling inspired by the singular used in the title.

Well my gut could not have been more wrong!

Two kids climbing up a wall in the morning when they should not be. Only one will come down alive. What happened? When reading the opening, I remember thinking ‘This is blurry, what the hell just happened?’ This sentence sums up the entire set of events unfolding throughout False Witness.

First of all, cases involving children dying are not my forte, but we never really get to ‘meet’ that poor boy as his life is shortened by gravity. I loved having to rely on everyone else’s account of what Ben was like to try and picture him. You know how people are. When someone dies, they are depicted as angels. But was Ben? What on earth was he doing there without his mother’s knowledge and why was he forcing Poppy, the other kid involved, into this? As the story was told through different voices: the mother of each kid, the police, I did my best to figure out what was on the children’s minds. I am not the best when it comes to kids, so understanding them takes me twice as long as dissecting adults’ motives and behaviors. I ended up letting the novel take over and lead me to whatever the truth laid. I was not disappointed! What I had thought would be an open-close case was WAY MORE INTRICATE than this!

So, a child’s death unveils a lot of events, past and new, and ask more questions than what goes on in your own kid’s mind. This is something that, as a woman without any offspring, keeps me wondering. Their flesh and blood come from you – or not – but as parents you are the one by their side, supposedly the one who knows them best, and yet… They are human beings with a will, a personality of their own and there is only so much you can guess. I know there are lots of things I never told my mother. Why would Ben and Poppy be different?

Things get even more complicated when the police investigation unearths a background between both mothers. This is where I went ‘this can’t be!’. It was all true, it muddled the case leads, it played with memories and the truths withheld.

How far can you go to protect yourself, no matter the consequences for others? The battle between what’s good and what’s bad is heavy here and the burden of information weighs down on everyone involved. No one leaves the novel unscathed. This is one of those plots that keep you wondering, make you feel for the protagonists, and give you a realistic and authentic narrative about normal people and decisions, whether they are right or wrong. I couldn’t sympathize with everyone, and that’s how I like it! Just like in real life, you lean towards characters and your opinion on others make reading a subjective experience. I strongly felt for everybody in this tragedy, and I found myself wondering if I would have the strength to be a witness, or which choices I would make following what I thought would be the best thing to do… Lots of thinking with this novel!

This is where the character of Maggie Neville comes into light and cast its strength on the plot. She is no psychic, but quite the FLO! Her empathy and the way she quickly slips into a grieving family picture, almost unnoticed but so importantly, felt genuine and professional at the same time. This job requires a lot of self-control, the right words to say and letting your human side take over while making your job, quite the tricky position! Maggie is resilient, good at what she does, but she is also a woman, a sister, a police officer, and all of those things trigger emotions in her which play a part in how you react to this story. I truly enjoyed meeting her and while False Witness can absolutely be read as a standalone, enough hints about happened to Maggie before this novel began made me want to go back and read the previous books.

All characters have enough meat in them to keep the pace steady and the lines binding. False Witness is a big wave that you can’t control, you just have to lay on your back and let the words wash over you to deliver a very intriguing and compelling plot!

You can grab a copy here!

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Michelle Davies Author Picture

Michelle Davies was born in Middlesex in 1972, raised in Buckinghamshire and now lives in north London. Her debut crime novel, Gone Astray, was published in Hardback in March 2016 and features Family Liaison Officer DC Maggie Neville as its central police character.
When she’s not turning her hand to crime, Michelle writes as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines including Marie Claire, Essentials, YOU and Stylist. Her last staff job before going freelance was as Editor-at-Large at Grazia and she was previously Features Editor at heat. She began her career straight from school at 18, working as a trainee reporter on her home-town newspaper, the Bucks Free Press.
Twitter @M_Davieswrites

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