A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of exceptional importance that hasn't received a st"/>

FINAL WITNESS

Simon Tolkien, Author . Random $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-375-50882-0

A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of exceptional importance that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.

FINAL WITNESSSimon Tolkien. Random, $24.95 (276p) ISBN 0-375-50882-1

A British teenager accuses his stepmother of conspiracy in his mother's murder in Tolkien's absorbing if uneven debut legal drama. The book pits 16-year-old Thomas Robinson against the beautiful, social-climbing Greta Grahame, who married Thomas's father, Sir Peter Robinson, a prominent politician, soon—very soon—after Lady Anne Robinson was killed. Thomas, who witnessed his mother's murder by two armed robbers, alleges that Greta was behind the killing. His courtroom testimony alternates with Greta's, and with a third-person narrative that at times contradicts both of the witnesses and keeps the reader in suspense. As Tolkien spins his tale, he explores the tense relationship between Greta, formerly Sir Peter's personal assistant and a working-class Manchester girl, and the well-born Lady Anne. The book is fast paced and crisply plotted, with Tolkien elegantly piecing together the different perspectives and introducing unexpected twists. Yet the characterizations are quite thin and stereotyped, and Tolkien relies on elaborate physical descriptions and heavy-handed, oft-repeated epithets ("green-eyed Greta" or a police officer's "sinister smile") to fill in the gaps. Readers may also be disappointed by the ending; after all those nail-biting twists, characters turn out to be more or less as they initially seemed, and tidy reconciliations strain credibility. Still, this is a promising first effort from Tolkien; one hopes that in the future he will be able to handle his characters as masterfully as he does the plot mechanics. (Jan.)

Forecast:As the grandson of the celebrated author of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien will attract more attention than most first-time British thriller writers published in the U.S. Three-city author tour; 75,000 first printing.

Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 12/01/2002
Show other formats
FORMATS
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59086-419-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59086-421-0
Open Ebook - 978-1-58836-268-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59086-422-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-59355-798-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-59355-674-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-345-46824-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-59335-083-3
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-00-744345-1
Paperback - 342 pages - 978-0-00-744450-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4418-6102-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4418-6101-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-07642-6
Hardcover - 9 pages - 978-0-85735-420-4
Hardcover - 9 pages - 978-0-85735-419-8
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.