I’ve said it before, for me Carsen Taite is a sure bet, I’ll grab almost anything she writes, knowing I’ll probably like it. She knows what she’s talking about, and she’s very good at creating the right atmosphere. So I knew there would be legal stuff (I love legal stuff) and romance in Leading the Witness. What I didn’t expect was to be sucked into the case so quickly.
Starr Rio is a prosecutor who is not above getting creative with rules if it helps her bring justice, or so says her reputation. Catherine Landauer is an attorney who, for personal reasons, won’t touch any case dealing with child abuse. She’s also not a fan of Starr’s methods and very much a by-the-rules kind of gal. When a little girl is abducted, Starr is put in charge of the investigation and Catherine tries hard to keep her distance. Until she can’t anymore.
It’s not easy to write about this novel without giving too much away, which would be a shame as Taite did a great job of hinting at what Catherine’s secret is, revealing her story gradually. She kept me on the edge of my seat for the longest time. I could feel Catherine struggling not to lose control (and her sanity), and how Starr was making an effort to stay professional while trying to protect Catherine – a woman she barely knows and who, until very recently, was an adversary rather than a friend – from her own fears as well as actual threats.
While both main characters are lawyers, there’s not as much legal talk and court scenes as in other Carsen Taite books, this one falls in the thriller or crime category. Despite the race against time aspect of the story, the romance is of the slow burn kind, and I was almost ready for it not happen at all (yet still hoping it would, since Taite’s quite good at romance too), as Catherine had so much to deal with already. But when it finally did, it flowed.
Like most of my favorite Taite books, Leading the Witness is a standalone.