Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Legal #Thriller: EYEWITNESS by Rebecca Forster

Book blurb:

In the dead of night, Josie Bates is ripped from sleep by the sounds of an epic storm raging over Hermosa Beach and a man beating on her door begging her to help Billy Zuni who is drowning in the raging sea. She arrives at the shore just in time to see the teenager pulled from the water, battered and near death. Ready to kill Billy’s selfish, neglectful mother, Josie rushes to the Zuni house only to find someone has beaten her to it. Two men lie dead downstairs and Billy’s mother clings to life on the floor above. 

Spurred on by Hannah’s fear that Billy will be framed for the murders, Josie takes up his defense. But Billy is evasive, physical evidence points to his guilt, and the county counsel wants him committed to the state. With the clock ticking, Archer and Josie set out to find the mysterious man who can vouch for Billy’s whereabouts at the time of the murders. What they find instead is a web of intrigue and deceit that stretches half way around the world and an eyewitness who is blinded by a justice Josie cannot understand.

Josie slept alone the night the storm came up from Baja and crashed hard over Hermosa Beach. It was as if Neptune had surfaced, blown out his mighty breath, and wreaked godly havoc on Southern California with an all out assault of thunder, lightning, and hellacious wind. Yet, because she was curled under her duvet, because her bedroom was at the back of the house, it was no surprise that Josie wasn’t the one to hear the frantic knocking on the door and the screaming that came with it.

It was Hannah who woke with a start.

It was Hannah who was terrified by the darkness, the howling wind, the driving rain, and the racket made by a man pounding on the door as if he would break it down. It was Hannah who tumbled out of bed and ran for Josie, staying low in the shadows for fear that whoever was outside might see her through the bare picture window.

Hannah called out as she ran, but her shriek was braided into the sizzle of lightning and then flattened by a clap of thunder so loud it rattled the house. She threw herself into the hall. On all fours, she crawled forward, clutched the doorjamb, pulled herself into the bedroom, and felt her way in the dark until she touched Josie.

Once. . .

Twice.. . .

 Five. . .

“Josie! Josie!”

Hannah kept her voice low. If she raised it she would get more than Josie’s attention; she might get the attention of the man outside.

“What? Hannah. . .Don’t. . .”

Ten. . .

Twelve. . .

Josie swiped at the girl’s hand, annoyed in her half sleep. That changed when the wind blew one of the patio chairs into the side of the house. Josie clutched the girl’s hand, rolled over, and put the other one on Hannah’s shoulder.

“Sorry. Sorry. It’s okay. Go back - ”

“Josie, no. Get up. Someone’s out there.”

Hannah pulled hard. Clutch and pull and tap and shake and whisper. Hannah would have crawled in bed with Josie had she not sat up, reached over, and hit the light on the travel clock she preferred to the effervescent glow of a digital. Midnight. No one in their right mind would be out at a time like this, on a night like this. Josie released Hannah’s hand and ran one of her own through her short hair.

“Hannah, you were dreaming,” Josie mumbled.

Just then the small house shuddered, reverberating as it put its architectural shoulder into the huge wind that angled the drive of the rain. Beneath that, rolling in and out was something else that finally made Josie tense. Hannah pitched forward at the same time, throwing her arm over Josie’s legs as her head snapped left. She looked toward the hall. Her hair flew over her face when she whipped back to look at Josie again. Her bright green eyes were splintered with fear; Josie’s dark blue ones were flat with caution.

Josie put her hand on Hannah’s shoulder and moved her away. She kicked off the covers and swung her long legs over the side of the bed as Hannah fell back onto her heels. Josie put her finger to her lips and nodded. She heard it now: the hammering and the unintelligible screams. Josie snatched up her cell and handed it to Hannah.

“Three minutes, then call 911.”

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