The Compulsive Reader: If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney

The Fountain family has been the focus of major media attention three times: when mother Laura Fountain made a decision that changed her family's life, when she died, and when her husband died. Now the four remaining Fountain children live scattered, fifteen-year-old Jack living and two-year-old Tris with their aunt Cheryl, and Smithy and Madison living at boarding school and with godparents. Jack has reformatted his life so his only job is to protect Tris, but when attention-seeking Cheryl invites the media back into their lives once more, it becomes impossible. Now the three older siblings will have to face their pain and grief and come together to not only protect Tris, but discover the truth.

Caroline B. Cooney's latest suspense novel has contains her trademark fast-paced, blunt style that makes her books so easy to absorbed in. Her third person, present tense narrative allows Cooney to character hop, which always keeps things interesting. Though the mystery is a bit simplistic, its tight time line is wrought with tension and never lags, making If the Witness Lied an excellent novel for reluctant readers.

The characters in the novel are also well done; Cheryl is truly intimidating, and her power makes her a character you love to hate. Though the Fountain parents are deceased, Cooney has a talent for weaving in small and surprising details that make them seem three-dimensional and real, also making their children's loss more meaningful. The older siblings are also very interesting as Cooney explores their memories and how their loss affects them all in different ways. Despite their pain and issues, you can't help but admire the way Madison, Jack, and Smithy come together to protect Tris.

The conclusion comes together rather quickly and easily, but it is a very satisfying one. Cooney's latest book is inventive and excellent, with a mystery that is unconventional and fascinating.

Cover Comments: I like this cover a lot! The color scheme is good, and this design won't seem dated after a while, which is always a plus. Though the candle doesn't really pertain to the story, it's a very attractive cover, and it conveys the appropriate feelings. Very nice.

Review copy received from Random House.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I liked Wanted by her. I want to read this now.