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Missing Witness

by Gordon Campbell

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1488145,649 (3.89)3
In this electrifying debut thriller, a brilliant defense lawyer takes on a murder case with ingenious twists Phoenix, Arizona, 1973. A beautiful woman, armed with a gun and accompanied by her twelve-year-old daughter, enters a house. Shots are fired. The woman and her daughter leave the house. Inside, her husband lies dead. The case seems open and shut. The cops, the attorney general's office, and the media are certain the woman is guilty. The only witness to the shooting is in a catatonic state and cannot testify. But the murdered man's wealthy father believes he owes the woman something and hires Dan Morgan, the best lawyer in Phoenix, to defend her. When the legendary criminal attorney takes on a case it's to win, no matter what the odds. But for Morgan and his young prot#65533;g#65533;, Doug McKenzie, there are no easy answers, only mysteries, and the question of innocence and guilt take on profound new meaning. Combining the riveting suspense of Presumed Innocent with the raw ambition and power of All the King's Men, this full-bodied novel introduces a writer of great skill and insight into the human character.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Wealthy Phoenix rancher Ferris Eddington has hired nationally renowned lawyer Dan Morgan to defend his daughter-in-law, Rita, who has been accused of murdering her husband, Ferris' son, Travis. Mr. Eddington insists that Morgan allow Doug McKenzie, a new hire at Morgan's law firm and an Eddington family friend, to assist in Rita's case. The facts are that Rita and her 12-year-old daughter, Miranda, had been doing some target shooting with a handgun that Rita had recently purchased. The two then went to the house in which Travis, Rita's now estranged husband, was living. Ranch hands saw the two enter the house, heard gunfire, and when the two left the house Rita dropped the gun in the dirt. Rita was quickly arrested and since Miranda was with her mother at the time of the arrest she was also taken to the police station until her grandfather could come get her. While awaiting the arrival of Mr. Eddington, Miranda crawled under a bunk and wrapped her hands around the steel bars. Miranda, who had a long history of mental problems, slipped into a catatonic state so severe that the bars had to be cut with a welder's torch to remove her. Not knowing if it was Rita or Miranda who committed the murder, Morgan and McKenzie took Rita at her word that she herself did not fire the gun six times into her husband. Since the hospitalized Miranda was still in her catatonic state the lawyers rushed to go to trial before Miranda might awaken and dispute her mother's story. Morgan, a seasoned trial lawyer, pulled out every trick in his arsenal to have Rita acquitted, while McKenzie, at first on board with his mentor's methods, begins to have doubts as to who the guilty party really is.

What a well plotted legal mystery this is! I don't think I have enjoyed a 'who-done-it' quite so much in a very long time. I was constantly wondering if Rita did it? Did Miranda? Did Rita set it up to look like Miranda murdered her father? I was mostly sure I knew the answer but the final courtroom showdown was very interesting indeed. Unfortunately, it seems as though this is the only book this author has written. I certainly would love to read more of his work.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Doug McKenzie joins his law firm just to get a chance to work with one of the greats in questioning witnesses at a trial. Dan Morgan knows everyone in the legal area in Pheonix.
One of the firm's clients, Ferris Eddington hires Dan when his daughter-in-law is arrested for killing his only son, Travis.
Dan accepts and Doug assists. This is a benefit for Dan since, Doug's father and Eddington were friends and Doug almost grew up at the ranch.
Rita and her 12 year old daughter, Miranda went into a ranch house, shots were fired and a ranch hand saw them leave with Rita holding the gun.
Rita and Miranda are brought to jail and Maranda becomes catonic.
The trial begins. The prosecutor is a sterertypical bungler, Maximilan Hauser who is cold hearted and out to make a name for himself.
The preperation for the trial and the trial itself were dramatically done. With the murder taking place on a ranch and the trial in the west, it is reminiscent of "Lonesome Dove" where Blue Duck meets his end at the courtroom.
The writing style is precise and in tune with the characters who are well drawn and likable. It is a story that will win your heart and then choke you. The author provides some excellent and totally unexpected plot twists and the courtroom drama is well done. ( )
  mikedraper | Jun 30, 2009 |
This was a great first book for Gordon Campbell. It is full of twists and turns, but it stays totally believable. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a legal mystery. ( )
  kingsportlibrary | Jul 10, 2008 |
While this book started off slow, it was a very clever legal drama about a young lawyer who walks off an amatuer golf championship to try a case with a lawyer he admires. The case seems open and shut. A woman and her daughter visit her husband, shots are fired and a witness watches mother and daughter emerge. There are some twists and although it was a long book it was worth the time ( )
  bkladyatl | Nov 23, 2007 |
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In this electrifying debut thriller, a brilliant defense lawyer takes on a murder case with ingenious twists Phoenix, Arizona, 1973. A beautiful woman, armed with a gun and accompanied by her twelve-year-old daughter, enters a house. Shots are fired. The woman and her daughter leave the house. Inside, her husband lies dead. The case seems open and shut. The cops, the attorney general's office, and the media are certain the woman is guilty. The only witness to the shooting is in a catatonic state and cannot testify. But the murdered man's wealthy father believes he owes the woman something and hires Dan Morgan, the best lawyer in Phoenix, to defend her. When the legendary criminal attorney takes on a case it's to win, no matter what the odds. But for Morgan and his young prot#65533;g#65533;, Doug McKenzie, there are no easy answers, only mysteries, and the question of innocence and guilt take on profound new meaning. Combining the riveting suspense of Presumed Innocent with the raw ambition and power of All the King's Men, this full-bodied novel introduces a writer of great skill and insight into the human character.

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