Book Reviews

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter came up at book club a few months ago. I had only read The Good Daughter, so I didn’t have a huge frame of reference. However, the ladies all spoke about how uncomfortably graphic she is in her writing. After reading False Witness, I get it.

The Story


Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She has a good job as a defence attorney, a daughter doing well in school, and even her divorce is relatively civilised – her life is just as unremarkable as she’d always hoped it would be.


But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood which was far from average… a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and finally torn apart by a devastating act of violence.


Then a case lands on her desk – defending a wealthy man accused of rape. It’s the highest profile case she’s ever been given – a case which could transform her career, if she wins. But when she meets the accused, she realises that it’s no coincidence that he’s chosen her as his attorney. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he knows what happened twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades running.


If she can’t get him acquitted, she’ll lose much more than the case. The only person who can help her is her younger, estranged sister Calli, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice…

My Thoughts

I almost put False Witness down multiple times. MULTIPLE TIMES. There absolutely should be a trigger warning or PSA on the book about how graphic the portrayals of sexual assault are. I was physically recoiling, and skipped a lot because it was just too much for me.

While that was the biggest reason I almost put the book down, it was not the only reason. False Witness takes place in “current times.” Unfortunately, this meant that I was reading a book about the pandemic…talking about mask mandates and social distancing. I’m someone who reads to escape, and that was not an escape for me.

I think I would have liked the progression of False Witness a lot more if the defendant wasn’t so creepy. I have never read a book with a character that I loathed quite so much.

When I posted about this book on Instagram, I said that I would not recommend this book to anyone (especially women). I stand by that. It was just too graphic for me.

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