Source: Review Copy
7.15am: Two children are seen on top of a wall in a school.
Shortly later one of them lies fatally injured at the bottom.
Did the boy fall or was he pushed?
As a family liaison offer, DC Maggie Neville has seen parents crumble under the weight of their child’s death. Imogen Tyler is no different. Her son’s fall was witnessed by the school caretaker, a pupil is under suspicion, and Imogen is paralysed by grief and questions.
For Maggie, finding the truth is paramount if she is to help the mother. But as she investigates, further doubts emerge and the truth suddenly seems far from certain. Could the witness be mistaken about what happened, and if he is, then who is responsible? And how far will they go to cover up the boy’s death?
False Witness by Michelle Davies is the gripping third novel in the critically acclaimed Maggie Neville series, following Gone Astray and Wrong Place.
The DC Maggie Neville series is one that I have followed since I read the first novel Gone Astray. After I read the last book in the series Wrong Place, I was left gobsmacked by the ending and I wanted to know how Maggie was going to fare in the next book. You can see just how much she is reeling after that ending. Once again Michelle Davies has written an intricately plotted novel that is very cleverly crafted. If you haven’t read her books before, I would highly recommend that you check them out.
The third book in the series False Witness opens with a school caretaker witnessing two children climb the scaffolding on a building site at their school, and an eleven-year-old boy subsequently plummeting to his death. But what he saw chills him to the bone. Maggie is assigned as the family liaison officer to the boy’s mother, Imogen. And as she and the police investigate what happened, they discover that there is history between the mothers of the children, and that something sinister has been going on at the school which some people are desperately trying to hush up.
This is a novel that you can easily lose an afternoon to. Michelle Davies’ writing is so engaging and I think that this is because she includes a lot of dialogue which keeps the pace up. It kept me engaged in the characters and in the plot as the story unfolded. The opening chapter does make you sit up straight. I could sense that something terrible was about to happen. As in both of her books, Michelle leaves plenty of room for thought, and I was thinking as I was reading, is there something that I’m not quite seeing here.
The story switches from Maggie’s viewpoint to the parents of Benji and Poppy and Alan who is the caretaker who witnesses the shocking events that happen in the first chapter. I thought that there was some strong characterization when Maggie told the story from Benji and Poppy’s parent’s point of view. Benji is the boy who is killed in the opening chapter. As we get to know more about the history between the two mother’s, the tension turns up a notch, I wondered what would happen if they were to come across each other, how would they react.
There is a real addictive quality to Michelle Davie’s books that makes you think, I’ll just read one more chapter, and then another, before you realise that you’ve gulped down more than half the book in one sitting. Her books can be read as standalones, but I would definitely recommend reading the rest of the series. I found False Witness to be an unpredictable, shocking and totally gripping read that delves into the lives of troubled families hiding secrets. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review.
Publication date: 12th July 2018 (kindle) 20th September 2018 (paperback)
Print length: 432 pages
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