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False Witness is the latest installment in the Detective Cooper Devereaux crime mystery series by the author Andrew Grant.
The book is published in January 2018 and features the Alabama detective who gets a case which starts standard enough, but turns quite weird as the bodies pile up.
A woman disappears on her 21st birthday. Soon she is found dead in a graveyard, wrapped like a sick gift. At this point, Cooper doesn’t know whether it’s a serial killer at work or only someone who held a grudge against the recently murdered woman.
Before, she was sliding down a dangerous path, until she got pregnant and realized that her boyfriend is up to nothing good. When a good Samaritan came to her rescue, she finally turned her life around and seemed to have everything going for her. And then one year later she is killed.
But when a second body is found once again, Cooper knows that something more evil is at work here. This second woman was also murdered on her 21st birthday, so a pattern seems to emerge, one that doesn’t hold anything good for women who have upcoming 21st birthdays.
But then, a third body is found, this time of a woman who is only 19. The pattern seems to break, but what is the connecting thread between the three women?
While Cooper works on the weird serial-killer case, his girlfriend, Alexandra, works a case of her own. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t read the previous books in the series, but she found out something about Cooper that might jeopardize their very relationship.
While the book can be read on its own as a standalone for its murder case, the other story (Alexandra’s investigation) advancing parallel in the book can be a bit confusing if you haven’t read the previous Cooper Devereaux books. Some things are explained, but still, you will miss out on a great deal here.
The story, overall, is fast-paced and the prose, while not something that Hemingway would write, is written quite well and moves the plot along nicely. There are no glaring grammatical, spelling, or structural mistakes in the book.
The main character, Cooper Devereaux, is an interesting person. He is a good cop, but one who bends the rules every now and then to get things done. Also, he is a rebel, not projecting the usual cop image. He is driving a Porsche and living in a home that is beyond a cop’s salary. Again, you’ll have to read the previous books in the series to learn why.
There was just one thing bothering me in the book. The way Cooper conducted his interviews were very different from anything I’ve read in other novels. When a victim’s relative or close friend was interviewed, Cooper would never come out from the beginning with the truth about what happened to the victim, even though he was repeatedly asked by the witness to tell them what was wrong. He would always say “I’ll come to that” and keep on asking questions for quite a long time until the poor person would run out of steam, energy, or patience.
If I were the wife of someone who died, I would have wanted to know straight away about it, and not be led by the nose in thinking that all is well, and this is just a routine investigation about some innocent accident. But then again, I did mention that Cooper Devereaux is not the typical cop and he is known to bend and twist the rules just to get his killer.
I first picked up Andrew Grant’s books because I love Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, and Andrew Grant is Lee Child’s younger brother. I was curious to see how Andrew’s writing style is compared to that of his older sibling. I have to admit that I still love Lee Child above all. He has a well-developed writing style, one that hooks you in from the very first page.
Andrew Grant is not quite there yet. But, his books are getting better and better. False Witness is probably his best work yet.
Overall, False Witness is a heck of a great book. But you’d do yourself a big favor if you started the series with False Positive and False Friend before picking Andrew Grant’s latest novel. They might not be quite as good but they do fill in the gaps about Cooper’s history quite nicely.
False Witness by Andrew Grant
Series: Cooper Devereaux #3
Published by Ballantine Books
Genres: Crime Mystery
Source: Review Copy