Sunday, September 30, 2007

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell
William Morrow, 2007
Mystery; 431 pgs

Completed: 09/29/2007
Rating: * (Good +)

First Sentence: Dan Morgan had a tattoo.

Reason for Reading: I put my name in for this book through Harper Collins First Look Program and was selected to review it.

Comments: Douglas McKenzie returns to his childhood home in Arizona to take a position in a well-respected law firm after being promised a chance to work along side the legendary defense attorney, Daniel Morgan. It soon becomes clear his presence is more likely a political move by the firm’s senior partner, Paul Butler, hoping to maintain one of the biggest and wealthiest clients the firm represents.

Paul Butler has positioned himself to reap the most financial gain and wants Dan out. As a defense attorney, Dan’s cases bring in little money, often costing the firm in the end. Dan needs a big case that will bring in the money if he is to keep a solid footing in the law firm.

When Travis Eddington, son of that most important client, Ferris Eddington, is shot to death, his wife Rita and twelve-year-old daughter Miranda witnessed walking out of the trailer after the shots were fired, and Rita holding the gun, that big case falls right in his lap. Ferris Eddington hires Dan Morgan to represent his daughter-in-law, believing full heartedly in her innocence. Doug finally gets his chance to watch the master at work, joining Dan in the defense of Rita Eddington.

It is no wonder Dan Morgan is one of the best at his job. He puts his all into his cases and adeptly maneuvers through the legal system to reach the outcome he seeks. He is sharp and on top of his game. He does, however, have a tendency to get too close to his clients, something that sometimes weighs heavily on his shoulders. The narrator, Doug McKenzie, is a young attorney just getting his feet wet. He looks up to Dan and is eager to learn all the tricks of the trade. He has a strong sense of justice and ethics, which is challenged more than once during the trial.

In his debut legal thriller, author Gordon Campbell takes readers into the heart of the courtroom and behind the scenes of the defense. With the more minor details about the inner workings of a law firm, including case assignments, billing, and office politics, Mr. Campbell creates a credible setting for his book. Although set in 1973, it is easy to forget at times as the story could very well have been written in the present time. The little historical tidbits sprinkled here and there are what set it apart.

While the whodunit becomes obvious fairly quickly, there are still enough plot twists and surprises that add to the intensity and suspense of the novel. Missing Witness is a very good start to a promising writing career. I will be keeping my eye out for future novels by Gordon Campbell.


  1. Arrgghh!

    I do wish you'd stop writing about books in a way that makes me want to read them!

    Especially another book where the main character is a defense attorney! As a member of law enforcement, defense attorneys are a subspecies of human...

    It does sound like a very good book. *sigh*


  2. Sounds interesting. Not the sort of book I would usually go for, but it's always more interesting when you get an inside view into a profession you aren't involved in. I like the first sentence too!

  3. CJ - LOL I doubt this book will improve your impressions of defense attorneys, but it is an entertaining thriller. :-)

    Rhinoa - With all the TV shows, movies and legal thrillers out there, it's hard not to form an idea in our minds--even knowing that these mediums are probably far more dramatic than reality. I've had some experience working with attorneys throughout my career as well as inside the courtroom. I think that's partly why I enjoy legal thrillers so much.

  4. Just when I think I'm making a dent in my TBR pile, here you go, enticing me with a new book :)

    BTW, could you possibly email me through my website? I've got a question for you...

  5. So glad you're getting books through their book program, I'm hoping I get to in the future. Sorry you guessed the culprit early on but glad you enjoyed the book so much still. I'm the same way. Even if I hazard a guess and win, if the books good I still dig it.

  6. I have this on my TBR list! I love legal thrillers and I'm glad to read that you liked it.

  7. I agree with cj, you really need to stop making books sound so enticing! As it is, this got added to my queue.

  8. Karen - It's only fair considering how many authors you have recommended to me that are now in my TBR pile. :-)

    Erin - I've been really lucky with the First Look Program. I don't get a book every time, but often enough to keep me putting my name in for one or two now and then. I hope you get picked this next round!

    Figuring out who the culprit is rarely spoils my enjoyment of a mystery, but as it turns out in this case, it's pretty obvious after awhile even to the characters in the book. It's more of a straight thriller than a mystery, in that regard, you could say. :-)

    Joy - I hope you will enjoy this one!

    Carrie K - It's a fault of mine, I know. ;-)

  9. Hi Wendy! You always write good reviews. Most of the times I checked out the books you read at the bookstores and most of them usually ended up in my TBR pile, hehe. And of course I meant it as a's always a joy to see my stacks piling up, LOL.

  10. Melody - Thank you so much! Blogging has done little to help in reducing my TBR collection, that's for sure. :-) Instead it's growing my leaps and bounds. Like you though, I'm not complaining. :-)


Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.