Last week I was jonesing for a dark romance… to be specific for Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive, by Ann Mayburn, but since it has not yet been published, I was out of luck. After turning to the Goodreads gods, I stumbled across His Witness by Vanessa Waltz. It was the fourth in the Vittorio Crime Family series, which I’ve never read, but from the reviews it seemed fine to read as a standalone and I was desperate so I gave it a try.
And I am so glad that I did!
Introducing His Witness, by Vanessa Waltz
From the synopsis (short version: girl is reluctantly involved in mafia business, threatened by the FBI, turns state’s witness, gets kidnapped by the mafia from a safe-house, and needs to be convinced to change her testimony), I expected the plot to be very similar to others I have read but the reviews were compelling enough to give it a try. The quality of researching Ms. Waltz put into understanding the psychology of her heroine was impressive and its emphasis in the novel brought me out of my usual comfort zone.
Here is a copy of the review I posted on Goodreads.
I thought this book was really well done in many respects. The basic plot premise is becoming a little trope at the moment, I’ve read others with a similar story, but I thought the author wrote the psychological aspects best. “His Witness” turned out to be less of a dark romance and more of a psychological thriller than I was expecting, but in this case it was a good thing. She understood the Stockholm Syndrome experienced by Melanie and how aspects of this would continue to dog her long past the last page of the book. Even though the reader gets to experience both Melanie and Tommy’s points of view, at times I felt like I had Stockholm Syndrome right along with her, the mark of a great author. Also, I really liked how her mafia characters stayed despicable through the story. A common weakness among writers is that they soften their bad guys and the story feels less genuine because of it.
The weakest part of the book, unfortunately, was the ending – based on other peoples’ ‘OMG plot twist!’ comments, I expected to be surprised but it was the same ending I’ve seen in other books. Up until that point, a great read though.
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