Breakups are never fun, but rarely do they lead to the disastrous chain of events that John Brighton finds himself caught up in after being dumped by his girlfriend, Ashley. Instead of going the getting drunk route, John decides to turn to his ex-girlfriend, Michelle.
Problem is, Michelle is involved with a new guy, Frank, and John’s convinced Frank is cheating on her. Thinking he can kill two birds with one stone, prove the cheating and get Michelle back, John sets out to follow Frank to what he believes will be a secret rendezvous with another woman. Well, he was right about the secret rendezvous part, anyway.
As John follows Frank down to some waterfront apartments along the Hudson, he notices Frank actually appears to be tailing a group of men in trenchcoats. As John’s trying to puzzle out what’s going on, a gunfight erupts between Frank and the men. Before he knows it, all five of the men in trenchcoats are dead, Frank is dragging him away from the scene, and life as John knows it will never be the same again.
You see, John has inadvertently stumbled upon a covert operation involving rogue arms dealers, terrorists, the Department of Homeland Security, in-fighting between the New York and New Jersey mobs, and one very, very dysfunctional family…of which his ex-girlfriend, Michelle, happens to be a member. Now John isn’t just trying to salvage his relationship, he’s fighting for his very life, and the lives of countless others.
Author Dave White has crafted a top-notch thriller in Witness to Death. The action jumps off right from the first page and never lets up, overflowing with fist fights, car chases, a daring escape from a police station, double-crosses, and torture, all hurtling the plot to a race against the clock finale. And yet, for all the pulse pounding action there is more going on. A lot more, actually. White has quite boldly decided to address some very serious issues of personal character, responsibility and morality, elevating what would otherwise be a straightforward thriller to a higher level.
As John fights to get clear of the events he finds himself caught up in, he’s forced to reevaluate his motivations and resolve. A man haunted by a tragic event in his past, John had fallen into a pattern of never quite addressing things head on, always seeing only the potential negative consequences of situations but never proactively taking steps to resolve them. In Witness to Death he’s thrust into a situation where his actions – or inaction – will decide whether he and many others live or die, and John has to dig deep and see what he’s really made of and how far he’s willing to go not only to save himself, but to protect the one he truly loves.
Similarly, in one particularly brilliant scene a U.S. government agent is tortured, and is forced to watch someone he loves being tortured, by people who want information they think he has. He honestly doesn’t have it, however, and as the scene unfolds the agent has flashbacks to a situation where he was the one committing the torture in effort to extract information. Now knowing firsthand what it feels like and what he’d be willing to say to make it stop, the agent is forced to reconsider both the morality of his own actions, as well as to question the value and reliability of information obtained from someone under such duress they’ll say anything to make it stop.
In Witness to Death White has put together not only a very entertaining thriller, but one with both heart and a conscience as well. Right to the very end White never takes his foot off the pedal, bringing the book to a conclusion that while somewhat unconventional, is wholly honest to the tone he sets from page one. But don’t just take my word for it, come bear Witness to Death.
Be sure to check out Dave’s previous guest posts I Had to Stay Dark and It’s No Sin to Love a Kindle.