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Hostile Witness

(Witness #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  20,750 ratings  ·  1,609 reviews
ASIN moved from less recent edition

When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her step-grandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, Cal
Kindle Edition, Alternate Cover Edition, 376 pages
Published November 28th 2009 (first published February 3rd 2004)
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Lawrence Standifer Stevens Max the dog is still around in book #5, Eyewitness. He's old but still up for a scuffle when a stranger comes around. I suspect that his passing may b…moreMax the dog is still around in book #5, Eyewitness. He's old but still up for a scuffle when a stranger comes around. I suspect that his passing may be a plot point in a future book. Good dog! Good dog!(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  20,750 ratings  ·  1,609 reviews

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Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy legal thrillers and was looking forward to digging in to this novel. After just a few pages, I almost put it away for good, but being a little OCD, I couldn't stand the thought of not finishing a book, so I continued. It did start to get better about halfway through, but I don't think I will read any more of the series. I can not decide if I like her style of writing - it seemed quite inconsistent to me - some parts of the story line were well thought out and interesting while oth ...more
Dec 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
This "manuscript" is an adequate first-draft version of what could have become a good novel if the author had been willing to spend some time revising and editing. There was actually a good nugget of a plot, and the characters were interesting and fairly complex. The remainder of this review is a giant "however."

The tone of the book was very inconsistent. Some passages of dialogue and narration were written with clarity and facility, while other passages could have come from the pencil of a th
The Hook - Couldn't resist the price of this bundle a couple of years ago. It had to be a steal, probably less than $3.00. That's the power of advertising and bargain book offers by vendors like Barnes and Noble and Amazon in hopes the author will be read and reviewed favorably. I feel a bit guilty but can't say no to some of the offers. The bundled The Witness Series contains seven books, which seems to be the entire series, 1887 pages. What was I thinking? If it took me this long to get to the ...more
Robin Webster
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Josie Baylor-Bates used to be a high profile lawyer, but resigned from her law-firm after a female client she successfully defended killed her children after walking free. Josie was racked with guilt and couldn’t get it off of her mind. She then wanted nothing more than to work as a lawyer in a low profile law firm in Hermosa Beach, California. However, all that was about to change when an old college roommate turns up at her door for help. Her sixteen year old daughter has been arrested for the ...more
Debra Martin
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the moment the book opened with 16-year-old Hannah Sheraton being processed into the women's prison, I was hooked.

When Hannah's mother begs her old college roommate, Josie Bates, to defend her daughter, Josie is caught up in a complicated legal situation. Was this a simple case of a rebellious teenager acting out or was there an underlying reason for the girl's obsessive compulsive actions? These are the issues that Josie must uncover if she is to mount a credible defense for Hannah.

Lewis Weinstein
This is a terrific read, with a challenging premise and characters who are well developed, with more than enough strengths and flaws to make them seem very real human beings.

Some GR reviewers said they figured out "who done it" early in the story. I never try to do that, finding it more enjoyable to let the author bring me along for the ride. In a murder mystery, the pleasure for me is more in the steps taken to work out the solution than in the solution itself. And if I had guessed, I would ha
Stephen Clynes
Aug 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Did Hannah Sheraton start the fire that killed her step-grandfather Justice Fitz Rayburn? Josie Baylor-Bates, a friend of Hannah's mother, defends her daughter.

This story slowly unfolds in the court and with Josie's investigations outside. Very little is said between Hannah and Josie. You are unsure of her guilt and Hannah believes her problems will blow away. You do not develop an empathy for Hannah because she does not co-operate fully with Josie. This crime thriller is basically a court room
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
My first try of Forster's Witness series, with a teen heading to trial for maybe killing a state Supreme Court justice. ...more
Shelagh Rice
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Anyone looking for a Courtroom Drama needs to go no further. I really enjoyed this book, I received this free so decided to start it and see. I was hooked. It is not just a story of a crime, an investigation, a trial and a conviction, it is so much more. A sixteen year old girl with a lot of problems is accused of killing her grandfather. A mother desperate to save her child begs an old school friend to help and defend her. A defense attorney who has given up the bright light cases for peace and ...more
Joe Kovacs
Sep 15, 2013 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of legal thrillers
I have also published this book review on my blog, Please check it out and subscribe if you're interested in writing, or literary and horror fiction.

There is a reason Josie Baylor-Bates isn’t a criminal defense attorney anymore. And everything seems to be working out with her life just fine, thank you very much. She’s about to be made partner in a small, inconspicuous law firm serving no one controversial, and she’s got her home and her dog to keep her company in Hermosa Beac
Shawn Davis
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Josie is a lawyer, and a very good one. So good, in fact, that she even managed to get a not-guilty verdict for a guilty client... who then murdered her own children.

Josie decided not to practice criminal law ever again.

Until her best college-friend showed up desperate, needing Josie to represent her daughter Hannah - who has been accused of murdering her step-grandfather. And that step-grandfather just happens to be a famous and politically active California judge.

Hannah is not easy to represe
Karen Perkins
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hannah is a tattooed, multi-pierced 16 year old with OCD and a mother who does not understand the concept of love. We meet her after she has been arrested for murder and thrown into prison.
Josie is a big shot defence lawyer who, after successfully defending a guilty woman who went on to kill again, has run away from her old life to practice law in a small town, where her toughest case is to defend a 'weenie-wagger' - and convincing him to keep his trousers on when in public. Josie is also Hanna
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
I got this as a free book off of Amazon.

It's been a while since I've read a page turner-- one that I had to stay up late reading just to race to the end. This was one of those novels. From the initial meeting of Linda, a past roommate with an intriguing proposal, to meeting her defendant, Hannah and to revealing the rest of the ragtag band of screwed up characters, they were all fascinating characters. I loved the fast paced courtroom drama-- I definitely have a soft spot for those. I loved the
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded this free book and found myself immediately welcomed into Josie, Hannah, and Archer's world! The characters become friends who I wanted to be in constant contact with just like family or neighbors. The dust bunnies multiplied as I finished one book in the series and downloaded the next. Rebecca's characters are very realistic and complicated, making then extremely life like. The "movie" played vividly in my head as I turned the pages andI felt like I was on Hermosa Beach! Definitely ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Another damned crime novel where the heroine/ lawyer is a beautiful, six-foot, legendary sand volleyball champ, with a hot cop boyfriend who totally adores her. The story is mundane and as predictable as rain. The writing is pedestrian and boring. The author keeps inserting romance novel dreck which is one of my pet peeves. There are more cliches than all the tea in china. (See what I did there?) Sorry, but this one is a loser.
Alan Cook
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The action and the suspense are non-stop in this courtroom drama. Sometimes you'd like to get relief from the tension, but that never happens. However, it's a difficult book to put down, and I was especially rooting for Hannah, the teenager accused of murder who was being treated badly by practically everybody, including her step-grandfather, the man who is murdered. ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mother and child?

Attorney Bates gets emotionally involved with the client. This sentence in the book says it best "You worked with what you had, you did what you could, and you made choices based on need".
Kat Collins
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Usually when a book is free for Kindle on Amazon, I'm a bit skeptical of how good it's going to be. And some I've read that were free have proven that point. Yet, Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster reminded why I keep pursuing free books - because every now and then, you'll find a gem! I fell in love with this book. It was fast-paced and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Synopsis per Amazon, "When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tightly woven plot, strong characterisation and a dramatic storyline combine to make HOSTILE WITNESS, by Rebecca Forster, a compelling, exciting read.

Other reviewers have commented on this title's page-turning qualities. This was one novel that not only did I lose sleep for, but it accompanied me to the supermarket, car repairer and was propped on the kitchen bench while I supervised dinner preparation. Its plot was well paced and did not get bogged down with unnecessary waffle, unlike other n
Lorraine Cobcroft
When am esteemed Californian judge is murdered and his home burned, his troubled step-granddaughter is the prime suspect. Attorney Josie Baylor-Bates has a hundred reasons not to take on this case, and her handling of it opens her to public condemnation and private torment, but for some reason she just can't let it go. Lawyers are supposed to be detached. For Josie, this is very personal.

I predicted the ending. What was obviously intended to be a surprise twist was a little too obvious in my op
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
I picked this book up on recommendation of another member of Goodreads. I’m always reluctant to try a new author because too often they don't deliver a good story.

That isn’t the case here. Forster tells a tale that engaged me almost from the beginning. And she kept things happening throughout the rest of the story.

I liked Josie, too. She was strong enough to never give up on what she believed in, even when everyone on her side told her she should give in. But she was also weak enough to sometime
Adele Symonds
This is a well written book with an engaging plot. It was clear to me from very early on that there were going to be some interesting twists and this was so. The plot draws you in immediately and never let’s go its grip of you.

Hannah is a character who I immediately felt for and I was with her all the way through the novel. Josie was also a very good character with her own unresolved issues which play an integral part in the plot. Most of the other characters were people who I would not like if
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story and was instantly intrigued from page 1! There is foul language through out... not something I really enjoyed. But I was way too interested in the story to stop reading or even to skip to the end. I wanted every detail!

I like how the book is told in multiple points of view. I felt like I got to know the characters much better, though some of them I really didn't like and eventually hated as things played out. But the main three women, the accused 16 year old, her mother and th
Gregg Jamback
Jun 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get past the author's motivation for her main character (Josie)...
In short, she made Josie a highly successful defense attorney who gave up defense work when she "got off" a woman who then, after gaining her freedom, killed her children. The running theme throughout the book then became that Josie could only defend someone who she believed was innocent.

No defense attorney I have ever met has had that attitude.

And then, of course, (yes, I'm going to give away the ending) Josie is prove
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Better than your average legal thriller even though it is still fairly predictable. Maybe it is because the main character is so likable or that the 16 year old girl she defends seems so messed up because of her mom. I don't know.

Forster isn't a great writer or anything. In fact, I found a number of grammatical errors (missing apostrophes mostly), but I never know if that is because I am reading a digital version or if the author and editor really missed them.

As I said the book is pretty predic
Vandana Sinha
My first by this author. There have been umpteen court room drama stories for more absorbing than this one. Here the story plays around a 16 year old, being tried as an adult, for the murder of her (step) grandfather, a reputed judge. The other critical players are her step father, her mother and Josie Bates who is defending her.
The story is interesting, but a tad too long and repetitive. Somehow I could not invest too much in the characters so could not 'live' their lives.
Read this book by al
Thom Swennes
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
HOSTILE WITNESS – An adverse witness who is known to offer prejudicial evidence as a result of adverse interest or bias.
Black’s Law Dictionary
When Judge Fritz Rayburn, California Supreme Court Justice, is suddenly killed in a fire at his home, the whole state was in mourning. Sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton, Judge Rayburn’s step-granddaughter, is arrested and charged with complicity in his tragic death. She is charged with murder and the D.A. is intending on trying her as an adult. Hannah isn
Hostile Witness is the first in a legal mystery series that I have on my “Clear My Kindle” list. It was a freebie, which I guess was supposed to hook me into buying the other books.
Josie Baylor-Bates takes on a case defending a teenage girl accused of killing her step-grandfather. The poor girl is quite psychologically damaged by her life with her gold-digging mother. It’s heartbreaking to think that the girl is being charged as an adult considering all of what she has dealt with in her short l
Maggie Thom
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story. Excellent characters - you will love them or hate them.
Linda is a mother who will do anything to protect what is hers or what she believes is rightfully hers. Josie is the lawyer and old roommate that Linda hires to defend her daughter who is being charged with murder. Their relationship is convoluted and complicated and gets moreso as the story progresses. Through it all you are going to root for Hannah, wonder about her innocence, feel for her plight in life, and just question
Margaret Wichorek
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good legal thriller about a 16 year old girl, who is accused of murdering her step-grandfather, who just happens to be the Chief Justice of the Cal. Supreme Court. Her mother turns to Josie Bates, a lawyer, who used to be her roommate-mate in college. The girl has many mental problems. Probably due to the awful childhood she went through with her highly erratic mother. She is also a very talented artist. Josie takes the case and discovers many very dark secrets in her family This is a very ...more
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Diva's Book Club: SILENT WITNESS by Rebecca Forster 2 17 Feb 18, 2014 01:00PM  

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On a crazy dare. Now, with over 33 books to my name including the bestselling Witness Series featuring Josie Bates and the USA Today Best Seller KEEPING COUNSEL, writing is my passion.

Before I began my creative career, I earned my B.A. and MBA and worked as an advertising executive. I have taught at the UCLA Writers Program, SEAK conference and other writing venues. I also volunteer with the Youn

Other books in the series

Witness (8 books)
  • Silent Witness (Witness, #2)
  • Privileged Witness (Witness, #3)
  • Expert Witness (Witness, #4)
  • Eyewitness (Witness, #5)
  • Forgotten Witness (Witness #6)
  • Dark Witness (Witness #7)
  • Lost Witness: A Josie Bates Thriller (The Witness Series #8)

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