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With No One As Witness
By Elizabeth George

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With No One As Witness

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With No One As Witness
By Elizabeth George
Harper Large Print, (2005)
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 0-06-075940-2
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - July 11, 2005

Elizabeth George once again proves that she is Queen of the psychological thriller with her new book, With No One As Witness. When the nude body of a murdered teenager is found arrayed on top of a tomb, Acting Superintendent Thomas Lynley, Detective Sergeant Winston Nkata, and Detective Constable Barbara Havers are called in to the track down the boy's killer. It quickly becomes obvious that this is the fourth victim of a diabolical serial killer. The case puts New Scotland Yard in a potentially bad light. The first three victims were all non-whites, and the police investigations into those cases is called into question when they pull out all the stops to catch the killer only after the fourth, and first white victim, is found.

The team of Lynley, Havers, and Nkata are skilled, but the task ahead of them is complex and the trail left by the killer is obscure. Before they catch their serial killer, more will die, and the charges of institutionalized racism within the police force will grow louder. This is a phenomenally intricate story that is embellished by George's detailed characters.

This is the thirteenth Lynley book by George, and it follows on the heels of A Place of Hiding. Like the other Lynley books, this is technically a police procedural, with much attention paid to forensic evidence, investigative techniques, and police procedure and bureaucracy. However, this is predominantly a character-driven story that delves deeply in the psyche and motivations of the characters. The main characters all have their own demons that they must deal with, while also tracking down the serial killer. For Lynley, it is his personal life and his relationship with Helen, as well as his new job as Acting Superintendent - which means that he must deal directly with the Assistant Commissioner, David Hillier, with whom he is often at odds. For Havers, she is still dealing with her recent demotion from Sergeant to Detective Constable, as well as the permanent chip on her shoulder due to her lower-class upbringing, and due to her inability to keep her mouth shut - even when it is for her own good. For Nkata, his demons range from melding into the Lynley - Havers team, being judged for his color rather than his skill, and he must deal with Havers' resentment, whom he now outranks.

With No One As Witness is a gripping story filled with unexpected twists, turns, and red herrings that lead up to a shocking and unforgettable ending that is both violent and unexpected. The hunt for the serial killer is thrilling, and the investigation into the gruesome crimes is shown in vivid detail. By the end of this book, the lives of the main characters are changed forever, and one can only wonder what George has in store for her characters in her next book. I cannot say that I like the way George ended this book (and I can't say why without giving away the ending) but what I can say is that With No One As Witness is an action-packed, complex thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat as the book races to its shocking conclusion.


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