Book Review: Leading The Witness by Carsen Taite
When a predator returns.
Catherine Landauer is a local attorney who keeps to herself. Starr Rio is a star prosecutor who has plans to become the next District Attorney. The two women face off right from the start while negotiating a deal that would give Catherine’s client a reduced sentence much to Starr’s dismay. Soon after, Starr is assigned to lead an investigation into the abduction of the Mayor’s daughter, Hannah. Catherine catches wind of the incident and is not at all convinced that Starr is the right person to bring Hannah home safely. She’s been through this before and she doesn’t want Starr to let the girl down the same way she was let down 20+ years ago.
This was an enjoyable read. We gradually learn about Catherine’s past and how it relates to the disappearance of the Mayor’s daughter. She has spent her life trying to overcome the trauma endured and has mostly been successful at it. If successful means great at your job but a recluse that feels safest behind her security system.
The romance between Catherine and Starr is non-existent for a majority of the book. It takes a long time for them to go from adversaries to allies. But it is believable because of what Catherine has been through. On the flip side, once they cross that forbidden barrier, things happen pretty quick. Love comes at lightning speed. But stressful situations can really move things along, right?
Side characters are used to move the plot rather than given any depth. Most characters we just never hear from again and that made me feel like I didn’t get closure. Starr’s mom? Assistant Doris? The much-too-close lawyer to the Mayor? The husband and his brother? Even the jerk who is also vying for DA. It would have been nice to see him get his in some fashion.
This ended up being somewhat anticlimactic for me. I was reading along and excited. Things are being uncovered and I think I know where this is going. I just know there is going to be some big dramatic reveal or event. But not really. Taite tries to deliver some action toward the end, but I was pretty let down already so it didn’t have the impact I would have liked.
I’m not a huge fan of epilogues. And this ended fine enough. But I wanted to see more Catherine and Starr. This is mystery/suspense first and romance last.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. Sure, it did’t have the great exciting reveal I was hoping for, but it was super well written and engaging.
I recommend this to those who like mystery, suspense, prosecution, investigations, romance, and Balcones bourbon.
I received an ARC from Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.