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False Witness

Hardback edition released 24/06/2021

by Karin Slaughter

Thriller and Suspense Crime and Mystery Star Books

LoveReading Expert Review of False Witness

A stunning yet dark and devastating standalone thriller, we already love Karin Slaughter and think this is her best yet!

A hard-hitting, devastating, wow of a read, Karin Slaughter has hit this standalone thriller out of the park! The past hunts down Defence Attorney Leigh Collier as she takes on a high profile rape case, and it threatens to destroy her. I am still squirming with reading euphoria having finished this novel. It’s no secret that I love Karin Slaughter’s writing and regularly shout about her books, for me, this is her best novel to date. It most definitely isn’t an easy or comfortable read, it travels into the very darkest of places, including violent sexual assault and drug addiction. This is one of the first novels I’ve read that covers Covid 19, it sat in the background, there, but not overtaking the storyline. From the beginning, when the shadows sucked me down into their spiralling depths and understanding hit, I knew this would be a one-sitting read. I didn’t want to put this book down, even when flinching from the pain that transmits from the page. While it packs an overwhelming punch, it also contains Karin’s unmistakable magic touch. She knows exactly when a lighter moment is needed, when a smirk or blurt of laughter will aid the reader. Yes it made me wince, it also made me consider what makes us who we are. False Witness is powerful and provocative, it explores social issues and violence, and is all the more fabulous for doing that. A LoveReading Star Book, this is a novel that’s going to stay with me for some time.

Liz Robinson

False Witness Synopsis

An ordinary life...

Leigh Collier 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.

Hides a devastating past...

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.

But now the past is catching up...

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.

And time is running out.

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 Callie, the last person Leigh would ever want to ask for help. But suddenly she has no choice ...

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780008303501
Publication date: 24th June 2021
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 448 pages
Collections: 100+ Female Led Crime Fiction,
Primary Genre Thriller and Suspense
Other Genres:
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False Witness Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

A dark and twisting page turner.

In the very first chapter of this book, there's a twist, and it's a big one, the kind that makes you stop and re-read the pages again so you can understand what you missed. It's a rare thing to be surprised by a book so early on, but I was and I continued to be surprised all the way through.

It's hard to say you enjoyed a book when the subject matter is so horrible and I'd be lying if I didn't say that it is an uncomfortable read in parts but it's a very intricate and cleverly plotted story and one in which, were it a TV show, would have you shouting at the characters as if they could hear you.

I really loved the main characters, in spite of (or perhaps because of) their flaws and I will end by saying I have never wanted a villain to get their comeuppance so badly!

Nikki Whitmore

A gripping psychological thriller.

This book by Karin Slaughter is a real page-turner. The brilliantly written opening sequence grabs the reader’s attention from the start. The interplay of legal drama and psychological thriller worked really well. The story contains some violence but is a great tale of retribution and redemption and definitely worth reading.


Uncompromising, gritty and hugely contemporary stand-alone thriller with a social conscience.

False Witness focuses on the story of two sisters from a troubled background in Georgia and the divergent paths their lives follow after a harrowing incident. A searing prologue opens the novel in the most hard-hitting manner in 1998 with fourteen-year-old babysitter Callie. Whilst neither sister has ever recovered from that night, Leigh went on to study law and has attempted to bury her demons. Whilst both women are leading very different lives and semi-estranged, Defence Attorney Leigh’s latest client is about the unite them.

Accused of brutally raping a woman and quickly revealing himself to be a manipulative psychopath, Andrew Tennant, seems to know far more than Leigh could ever have imagined about that pivotal night. Tennant charges Leigh with ensuring he is found innocent in a courtroom or else opening herself and Callie up to mutually assured destruction and seems to hold all the power. Leigh excels at compartmentalising and from the moment she learns the identity of her client her concern is protecting those she loves.

Slaughter never shies away from depicting reality and when the denouement comes it is shocking, messy and credible. A powerful social commentary runs throughout the novel, touching on everything from sexual abuse and the everyday harassment that comes with being a young woman, to toxic male violence and it packs a mighty punch.

Rachel Hall

Dark, graphic and very powerful: one of the best books I have ever read.

This is such a powerful read. It's very, very dark and in places, graphic. The plot is full of twists and turns and as the story neared its climax, I had to keep reading until I finished the book. Not only is the plot superbly crafted, but it is extremely well-written and the characters become part of your life as you read. This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read.

Pauline Braisher

Absolutely brilliant! I could not put it down.

Absolutely brilliant. The twists and turns that the story takes you do not see but take you deeper into the world of Callie & Leigh. There is heartbreak of a difficult childhood that shapes their future until they come back together to face their worst nightmare. Can they overcome the challenge they thought they would never face, even though it has lived dormant with them since that fateful day? And how different will life be afterwards? A highly recommended read

Cathy Small

The kind of book that sinks its claws into you and won’t let go. Just buy it.

What if you had a secret, a big bad punch in the stomach kind of secret? What if you were a lawyer asked to defend a man accused of rape? What if this man knew your secret? What if this put your family in danger? Set in the 2021 COVID pandemic, this is the kind of book that sinks its claws into you and won’t let go. Just buy it.

Rachel Aygin

“False Witness” is a standalone thriller that is so up to date with modern life, blending the pandemic and its restrictions into the story seamlessly.

I can’t remember a story written by the world popular author Karin Slaughter, that I have not enjoyed - she was one of the first authors that got me addicted to reading and I’m so pleased I’m still enjoying her fabulous books. “False Witness” is a standalone thriller that is so up to date with modern life, blending the pandemic and its restrictions into the story seamlessly. Frighteningly, the story read completely normal and Karin managed to incorporate not just the regulations enforced on people but their own personal thoughts on the everyday restricted interactions with others. Keeping a delicate balance between a riveting crime thriller and unbiased up to date social issues, are a prominent feature of Karin’s recent writing and incorporating the pandemic into the storyline but not making it totally about it, ensured that this book became realistic and very relatable.
The story contains a lot of very hard hitting themes, drug dependency, the opioid crisis, child abuse, murder and rape with a lot of often graphic descriptions. Anyone who has ever read Karin’s books before will know this is her typical writing style but if you are new to her work, take heed, she pulls no punches in her descriptions in order to hit home the distressing enormity of the topics covered.
It’s difficult to discuss the main theme of “False Witness” without giving too much away but the crux of the story evolves around a brutal act of violence that happened twenty years ago that Leigh, a respected defence attorney, has been trying to run from. Rearing its very ugly head, time is running out for Leigh to save both herself and her younger, estranged sister but she will do anything to stop the truth from being exposed, while at the same time, railroaded into defending a serial rapist she knows is guilty.
If a story that mentions Covid doesn’t have any triggers for you and hard hitting themes and graphic descriptions don’t offend, ‘False Witness’ is undoubtedly a riveting read and I look forward to continuing my love for Karin’s books in the future.

Miriam Smith

A gripping crime thriller which you really can’t put down once you get reading it.

Unlike the majority of the crime thrillers that I have read this is a standalone novel. Its central character is Leigh Collier, a defence attorney with a deeply troubled past. 

Slaughter creates the perfect level of tension to keep the reader interested at all times. Characters are reasonably well rounded and realistic. The book tackles some very sensitive topics: child abuse, drug addiction, sibling relationships. A brilliant, but unsettling work. Definitely recommend to anyone who likes a gripping crime thriller.

Rachael Anderson

This book is very hard to put down! A compelling read with a good, complex plot and very well drawn characters.

This book is very hard to put down!
A compelling read with a good, complex plot and very well drawn characters.

The story begins with a teenage Carrie. The book then picks up some years later when Carrie and her sister Leigh are both adults. The girls have very different lives and both seem set on self destruction. Leigh is appointed to defend Andrew and at first is unable to identify why she feels so uneasy and fearful when she is with him. Andrew then makes reference to her teenage years and her nightmare begins as she realises who he is and how he can hurt her.

The relationship between the sisters is really well written. They appear to be very different but their shared experience has brought them very close even if they do not see each other often. The way they work together to protect each other is a masterly piece of writing.

Kathy Howell

A great read, with well-developed characters and a plot that will have you gripped to the end!!

False Witness follows a lawyer named Leigh who has a past that she has tried to keep buried since an horrific incident that happened when she was 18. Leigh has been successful in keeping her past hidden from all who know her for almost 2 decades but suddenly someone from her past hires her to get him off some serious charges that have been filed against him. Her world is turned upside down and she is forced to find her drug addict sister. So, she can protect her and their secrets once again!!

The writing in this book was really well done, yes a little long but and a bit repetitive in places but the plot was brilliant. I was drawn in from the very first page and couldn’t stop thinking about the story and characters. I a just wanted to finish the book so I could find out what would happen next, while at the same time not wanting to the book to end.

What I liked most about False Witness is the way Slaughter has taken challenging and sensitive topics and written a story around them, yes some of the details were a little difficult to read but at the same time I thought they made the book feel more realistic. I also liked how Slaughter has included details of the impact that Covid has had and is currently having on society. This may be off putting to some but I think it was a nice touch as this the “new normal” at present time.

The characters are well-developed, some not as likeable as others but after learning about their past you do get a better understanding of the decisions on certain actions and behaviours throughout the book.

Overall I thought this was a great read and look forward to catching up with reading Slaughters previous books as well as looking forward to seeing what she has instore for her readers next.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of gripping thrillers! However, I would like to point out that there are topics and a lot of graphic and violent scenes in this book which some people may find extremely triggering so I please pick this book with caution.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Rape, Paedophilia, Child Pornography, Murder, Rape, Violence and Drug Abuse


A real page turner with unique character unpicking. One night can change who you are but can you be redeemed?

A unique story that makes you question why people are how they are, how just one night can change the lives of many and what secrets can do to you! A real page turner.

This book immediately draws you in and keeps you captivated until the end. The main characters, Callie, Harleigh and Andrew each have their own secrets and the impact of it has shaped their lives. The sisterly relationship between Callie and Harleigh continues to grow in its protective nature when just one night changes their lives. This story highlights that circumstances can change who you are as a person and shape your future path. But can you be redeemed?

I loved the character development in this book. At times the storyline was a tad gruesome but the stepping stones to unravel the plot were definitely unique.

Cat Hogwood

Karin Slaughter Press Reviews

Praise for Karin Slaughter:

'Gripping, gruesome and emotionally powerful, this is Slaughter doing what she does best' Mail on Sunday

'As sharp and absorbing as ever' Guardian

'Slaughter's novel is both a page-turner and a protest about how often sexual violence is overlooked' Sunday Times

'Tightly written, gritty and wonderfully gripping' Woman's Own

'Gritty and taut, it's an expertly crafted novel' Woman's Weekly

'Another violent cat-and-mouse game in Slaughter's dependable, long-running series' Sun

'I'd follow her anywhere' Gillian Flynn

'One of the boldest thriller writers working today' Tess Gerritsen

'Her characters, plot, and pacing are unrivalled' Michael Connelly

'Passion, intensity, and humanity' Lee Child

'A writer of extraordinary talents' Kathy Reichs

'Fiction doesn't get any better than this' Jeffery Deaver

'A great writer at the peak of her powers' Peter James

'Karin Slaughter has - by far - the best name of all of us mystery novelists' James Patterson

'Raw, powerful and utterly gripping' Kathryn Stockett

'With heart and skill Karin Slaughter keeps you hooked from the first page until the last' Camilla Lackberg

'It's big, dark, rich, satisfying, and bloody - like a perfectly cooked steak' Stuart MacBride

'The best yet' Lesley Pearse

'Amongst the world's greatest and finest crime writers' Yrsa Sigurdardottir

'Smart, gripping and packed with enthralling characters, this darkly addictive tale will reel you in from the get-go' Heat

'The queen of the explosive thriller' Good Housekeeping

'Buckle up for an exhilarating read' Prima

'Slaughter skilfully juggles her twin time frames and delivers a taut, complex and unusually thoughtful thriller' Mail on Sunday Event Magazine

'A great read' Daily Mail

'The best suspense novel of the year' Daily Express

'Fierce, savagely well-written' Metro

'Slaughter judiciously keeps the characterisation of her imperilled protagonists to the fore' Guardian

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780008303501
Publication date: 24/06/2021
Format: Hardback

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About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NEW YORK TIMES bestselling novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project--a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels PIECES OF HER, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and COP TOWN are in ...

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