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Seventeen -year-old Brittany Morgan’s infant daughter was taken from her car—an apparent kidnapping. Brittany’s young mind is quaking in attacks of hope, fear, guilt and desperation. Why would anyone take little Ivy from her? Where can Ivy be by now? Is she being held for ransom? Is she still alive?
Detective Matt Finn hopes so. As a recent transplant from the mean streets of Chicago, where experience taught him to expect the worst, to the relative innocence of a small town in the Pacific Northwest, where everyone already has an Ivy-fate theory, he knows that this investigation is not going to go smoothly. His clue file is empty and the clock is his enemy. If only he could find a witness to the crime! Well, Dr. Grace McKenna over at the “Talking Hands Ranch” just left what she hopes was an anonymous tip that might be able to help the investigation. It seems that one of her charges witnessed the snatching of baby Ivy.
In The Only Witness author Pamela Beason employs knowing doses of drama, humor, adventure and romance to polish her clever premise into a sparkling jewel; a friendly persuasion of plot and character development that maintains a high level of reader interest and fascination.
Beason’s linguistic skills are evident in the often endearing scenes in which Dr. McKenna is patiently trying to coax some useful testimony from the agitated Neema who has a story to tell. Neema is the endearing gorilla that Dr. McKenna is teaching sign language to at Talking Hands Ranch. She is a dangerously strong and potentially aggressive “witness” with the IQ and attention span of a human five-year-old. Nevertheless, Neema knows how to negotiate for a banana and steal your heart while doing it.
Beason manages to plunge deeply into the hearts and minds of her main characters without creating any interruption of narrative flow. Brittany Morgan’s teen angst, Matt Finn’s dealing with his wife leaving him as he adjusts to being a cop in a rural town, Grace McKenna’s worries about the future of her underfunded project, Neema’s feverish need to communicate: all intriguingly support and contribute to the smart pace of Beason’s hip and socially relevant who-done-it. Indeed the author has a good time taking well-aimed shots at some of the peculiarities of our priority-challenged culture.
The Only Witness is a marvel of story-telling. Pamela Beason’s novel is one of those rare gems that is intelligent and informative but also embracing and charmingly accessible. The Only Witness is the Grand Prize Award winner of Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Novel Contest.