cover image TRUE WITNESS


Jo Bannister, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-30817-9

Daniel Hood, a sweet bachelor math teacher who's still recovering from his last encounter with danger (in 2001's Echoes of Lies), finds himself once again dealing with the consequences of a crime, in this poignant and chilling psychological thriller by British veteran Bannister. Daniel has befriended Brodie Farrell, single mom and owner of the search service, Looking for Something?, and he invites her daughter, Paddy, over to look at the stars and planets to celebrate her fifth birthday. But the telescope shows Daniel more than Jupiter—he witnesses a murder on the pier in front of his house. DI Jack Deacon recognizes a pattern in the crime and immediately identifies a suspect, a serial killer who escaped a murder conviction 10 years earlier. Daniel, on the other hand, is uncertain. Brodie, knowing Daniel won't settle for anything less than the absolute truth and fearing that he'll get himself into trouble, decides to begin her own investigation. Bannister (Changelings, etc.) skillfully moves her characters through an intriguing tale of tragedy and death in a small town, exploring their thoughts and motives. Brodie makes a refreshingly realistic sleuth, Jack an appealing detective, but it is Daniel, with his obsession with truth and honesty, his sensitivity to the human condition and his determination, who stars here. (Dec. 2)

Forecast:Hints that the relationship between Brodie and Jack will develop into something more significant in later installments should attract mystery readers who like a little romance.