Witness to Death by Dave White

Dave WhiteIf he’d just gone out and gotten wasted like a normal guy, none of this would have happened. – John Brighton

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.

Witness to Death is available for only $0.99 on Kindle and Nook.

Dave White is among the youngest winners of the Derringer Award. He has contributed to many anthologies and collections, including The Adventure of the Missing Detective and Damn Near Dead. His two novels featuring Jackson Donne, When One Man Dies and The Evil That Men Do, were both nominated for the Shamus Award. He recently released a collection of short stories featuring Donne, More Sinned Against. Dave lives in New Jersey, where he teaches middle-school English. You can catch Dave blogging at Do Some Damage and On the Banks.

Be sure to check out Dave’s previous guest posts I Had to Stay Dark and It’s No Sin to Love a Kindle.


  • Dave White

    May 17, 2011 - 3:55 PM

    Thoughtful and engaging review Elizabeth. Thanks so much!

  • Josh Stallings

    May 17, 2011 - 2:31 PM

    Great review! Made me move Witness to Death to the top of my every growing list, (thanks to you) of books to read.

  • Sabrina Ogden

    May 17, 2011 - 10:50 AM

    Wait! New Jersey has a mob family???

    Excellent review, Elizabeth. With all the talk on twitter your review sheds some light on the story that I wouldn’t have guessed to be inside. Sounds like an amazing book and I really can’t wait to read this one. I need to start a Dave White collection on my Kindle. He’s clearly worthy!

    • Elizabeth A. White

      May 17, 2011 - 2:43 PM

      It would have been a perfectly engaging thriller with just the big picture plot, but he’s brought some depth to it with the introspection of several of the characters as things unfold. He really did a nice job with it. But, hey, what do you expect…he’s a White. 🙂

      • Elizabeth A. White

        May 17, 2011 - 5:07 PM

        Just to clarify, Dave and I are not actually related. There’s no nepotism going on in my review. The book would still kick ass even if he was Dave Finkelstein. 😉

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