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HOSTILE WITNESS (Thriller/legal thriller): A Josie Bates Thriller (The Witness Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Rebecca Forster
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,143 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships create a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth is uncovered it can save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.

"This story was inspired by a case my husband handled. As a superior court judge he had to sentence a minor to life in prison. It made me wonder how I felt about minors arrested for violent crimes. Are they most vulnerable among us - capable or horrible violence, perceived as adults and yet emotionally still children?" Rebecca Forster

"An enthralling read, with colorful, well-developed characters and the unique atmosphere of the California beach communities." Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

"Blending complex psychological character portraits with spot-on accurage courtroom drmaa, Forster's riveting legal thriller keeps the plot twists coming until the last, satisfying page." - Alafair Burke

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 538 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002Z7G0QO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #368 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I marketed a world class spa when it was still called a gym and did business in China before there were western toilettes at the Great Wall. Then I wrote a book on a crazy dare and found my passion.

Now, I am a USA Today best selling author with more than 25 books under my belt. I love everything about the law and my Witness Series, introduces readers to a beach town in Southern California and Josie Bates, a beach rat, volleyball playing attorney and her ward, Hannah Sheraton. I also like to stretch the thirller genre a bit. Before Her Eyes, for instance, has a tinge of fantasy along with the murder mystery and it's all wrapped up with a twist on the very last page.

I teach at UCLA Writers Program and work with The Young Writers Conference, a program that helps motivate middle school children to explore the power of words. I am particularly drawn to kids and writing because both my sons have always had a passion for it. Eric is a playwright and Alex is in film. I am long married to a Superior Court judge

When I'm not writing I'm traveling, on a tennis court, working a sewing machine or reading. Thank you so much for taking a look at my author page. You can find out more about me - and leave me a note - at

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
213 of 221 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Central character has potential 17 Dec. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have read by this author and I believe is the first in a series of stories with lawyer Josie Baylor-Bates as the central character.

Josie is drawn into defending Hannah Sheraton, the 16 year old daughter of Josie's former friend, Linda Rayburn. Hannah has OCD and is charged with the murder of her grandfather, Supreme Court Judge Fritz Rayburn.

I'm glad I gave this author a try and found it a reasonable read if a touch tedious and predictable in parts. The character of Josie does have potential and while I won't be desperately raking about to ensure I obtain other books in the series, I may well consider giving them a go to see if the flow of subsequent stories is taken up a notch or two.

It provided a satisfying enough read but I didn't find it a particularly avid page turner hence the mediocre three star grading.
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140 of 147 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Legal Thriller 3 Dec. 2011
By Maria
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first I have read by this author, & it won't be the last. Several legal thrillers have left me cold, but this was engrossing. fast paced, complex, with only a couple of minor gripes, (just occasionally too much unnecessary irrelevant description ).I guessed the who, but the point was proving it. Most unusual characters, very well researched. I will buy more . This was free and an excellent marketing strategy that was.
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157 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Page Turner! 8 Jun. 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading the same old authors for many years, I thought I would try someone new. I picked this book mainly from the customer reviews. What a surprise! The book is excellent and I was rivetted all the way through. I shall be reading more Rebecca Forster. I hope they are as good as this one was. Definitely recommended!
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138 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely riveting from start to finish 24 Feb. 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I haven't read many legal thrillers in the past few years, but I think I am going to have to add more books of this genre to my future reading list - especially those written by Rebecca Forster. Hostile Witness is just a fantastic, completely absorbing read, the kind of book that makes you hate your job because having to get up early for work means having to set the novel aside in the wee hours of the morning just so you can get a few hours of sleep. Any thriller is best judged by the number of hours' sleep you miss, and Hostile Witness is right up there with the best of them.
Usually, legal thrillers have a few passages that are dry and boring or feature cardboard characters lacking any spark of life in them. Not so with Hostile Witness. Forster has given life to some vivid, remarkably human characters - the heroic, sympathetic lawyer who puts a painful past behind her to defend a young girl accused of arson and murder; the 16-year-old defendant, a troubled teen lost in emotional chaos and harboring shocking secrets, the girls' seriously dysfunctional mother and step-father seemingly hiding behind mysterious secrets of their own, the hard-nosed yet somehow slightly noble prosecuting attorney, even the victim himself, a man already dead when the novel begins.
The protagonist of the novel is Josie Baylor-Bates, a lawyer who finds herself back in the criminal defense game she left some years ago. Not only is she still dealing with the pain of being abandoned by her mother when she was just a young girl, she is haunted by an old case. An accused murderer she successfully defended (and truly believed to be innocent) turned around and killed again - only this time it was her own children.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hostile Witness 26 Nov. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This was my first free e-book so I really wanted to like it.

There were some bits of good writing. The courtroom scenes are exciting & there are plenty of twists that keep you guessing. Unfortunately, the book is let down by a number of small faults, (starting every chapter with a soundbite got very tiresome), and two major faults:

1. Every character is described as an athlete/supermodel. They'd make Cameron Diaz sound short, fat & ugly. It's completely unrealistic and that makes the story unrealistic.
2. IT'S TOO LONG. The first dozen chapters could've/should've been condensed into about 3 chapters without any difficulty. Other pages you cannot help but to skip because they are irrelevant. Very bad editing.

I wanted to give up so much but I didn't. I read through to the bitter end. A properly edited version might be OK but I'd never read this version again.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Damn this book;) 21 Mar. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn't want to like or even finish this book as I read the first few pages. Why? Because it needs a darn good edit. It needs trimming of some of the `fat', the unnecessary descriptions etc., that would normally be trimmed by a publisher's team. And there are scores, if not hundreds, of punctuation errors, which I eventually did my best to ignore. There are inconsistencies in the plot - e.g. one character inspects her nails, even though we were told on the previous page that she is wearing gloves - and there is much evidence of weak writing e.g. `He had a wonderful face.' Ouch! That's one basic writing rule out of the window! And the plot resolution is dodgy, when near the end the heroine finds a clue that would have been readily picked up by even the most unobservant forensic team on page one. The identity of the perpetrator is also a tad predictable from early on. The characters are okay - the flawed heroine is a touch irritating, but at least she is consistent.
So why `damn this book'? Because at first I found myself continuing to read it to look for `editing issues' (I know, it's my cursed editor's eye!) but then I felt compelled to continue as I became interested in the resolution and wanted to read on. In that sense, the author has done a good job, pulling me in despite the problems.
I wouldn't recommend people not to read this, it's just that you will need to accept that, if you do, there are flaws. Even better if you don't mind glaring punctuation gaffs, and can accept it for what it is.
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