I rated this book with 5 Stars
It should have been a no-brainier for Michael Crane. He knew Darlene Turner didn't kill Johnny Reed, because she was with him not Johnny at the time the murder occurred. He could be absolutely certain of the date and time referenced in the case, because that was the day he'd asked Darlene to marry him. A proposal of marriage is one event that's cemented in a person's mind no matter how many years intervene. The case against Darlene probably shouldn't even have been resurrected at all, but a task force had been assigned to close cold cases in an effort to show the constituents that local government wasn't soft on crime. If the DA's office and the sitting Mayor didn't make a solid effort to show the citizens they aggressively were trying and sentencing criminals, chances are the current administration wouldn't be re-elected.
After her arrest for Reed's murder, Darlene had been in jail for a year before her trial ever was scheduled into the system. This is only the third trial for Barry Nash, Darlene's attorney, so even though he's sharp and ready for the challenge, he doesn't have the courtroom experience Darlene will need for her defense to succeed. In addition to that, Darlene suffers from a condition called Pugilistic Dementia. She and her brother were continually sexually and physically abused as children; as a result Darlene would not be a good witness in her own defense. She has trouble remembering events, and no one knows until she speaks what she may say in her confusion and from her muddled memories. Michael Crane has 31 years experience as a Federal Prosecutor, so it doesn't take him long to realize that this case is going to be an uphill battle throughout the trial. However, Crane is able to offer advice here and there, and because he was engaged to Darlene years ago, he does know what kind of person she is, or perhaps that should be what kind of person she was. What Crane did not expect was that his word and recollection of what took place July 4, 1976 would come into question. But that's exactly what the DA's office planned to do: cast doubt upon Crane's testimony thereby opening up the possibility that Crane could be hit with a perjury suit and ultimately be disbarred. Quickly the case switched from being a no-brainier to the possibility of Darlene's being found guilty with backlash for those who supported her.
What made **The Alibi Witness** by Patrick Grant such a good courtroom drama was the way in which doubt starts to creep into what had seemed so obvious and easily dismissed as having no merit. There were some big surprises and twists I did not see coming because I was lured into believing all could be handled with the simple truth. Turns out nothing about this case was simple, and the truth will not always, contrary to popular belief, set a person free. Which sets up an interesting dilemma for the defense: what if the truth is all you've got only most of the participants have a different version of what constitutes the truth?
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys courtroom drama and mystery. The characters are well defined, and the surprises, when they show up, are unexpected and well placed within the story. For those who enjoy reading John Lescroart and Steve Martini, **The Alibi Witness**, in my opinion, ranks right up there with what those two authors have written. There was also a satisfying ending. I look forward to reading more from Patrick Grant. I encourage anyone who likes this genre, as well as readers who like exploring titles not necessarily on the Best Seller lists, to give Patrick Grant a try.
I received an ARC of this book from StoryCartel in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to them and to Patrick Grant for making this book available to me.