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The Last Witness
By W. E. B. Griffin
A Book Review

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The Last Witness

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The Last Witness
(Badge of Honor 11)
By W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
Thorndike Press - Large Print Edition, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4104-5979-4
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - September 5, 2013

The Last Witness is the eleventh and newest book in the best-selling Badge of Honor series written by W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV. Unfortunately, it is one of the weakest books in the series.

In this installment, we find Homicide Detective Matt Payne investigating the death of a woman from the swanky, Philadelphia Society Hill area. Her death occurred as a result of a horrific home invasion, and as Payne delves deeper into the case he finds himself embroiled with not only the Russian Mob, but also with a Mexican drug cartel. Somehow the murder and the underworld figures are tied in with sex traffickers who are not only importing foreign girls into the US, but who are also luring young American women into this sordid underground where they disappear never to be heard of again - at least not until their dead bodies turn up. The key connecting all these diverse clues is a single witness who has gone into hiding. Payne must find this witness if he is to have any hope of solving the case.

With so much going on, you would think that this book would be a fast paced, sure fire hit. Sadly, it is not. The writing is bland, the characters are one dimensional, and glaring spelling and editing errors abound. And, overall, I found the story to be rather boring. In short, this book is defiantly not up to W. E. B. Griffin standards, and based on the writing, I would be very surprised if he had a lot to do with this book other than adding his name.

In addition, this book has a complicate and somewhat incoherent plot that is interwoven with a dozen or more subplots. The worst thing of all is that most of these subplots are left unresolved, leaving you with the feeling that the book was never actually completed. Or perhaps, you are suppose to simply wait around for the next installment in the hope that they wrap things up then.

This is not to say that there are not a few exciting bits in the book, or that the overall story line is totally bad. It is just that this book is not as well written or exciting as I would expect from a book that carries W. E. B. Griffin's name. If you are just looking for something to read and you don't have very high expectations, you might enjoy this book. However, if you are expecting a Griffin blockbuster, you will be disappointed!

I'm a huge fan, but I think rather than wasting my time with these 'new' books like The Last Witness, I think I'll simply go back and start re-reading his older books. There I'm sure to find a solid story that will keep me up reading well into the night....

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