The Necklace by Matt Witten
ABOUT THE BOOK
The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice
Susan Lentigo’s daughter was murdered twenty years ago—and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way from Upstate New York to North Dakota to witness the killer’s execution.
She discovers shocking new evidence on her journey that leads her to suspect the condemned man is innocent—and the real killer is still free. Even worse, her prime suspect has a young daughter who’s at terrible risk. Susan sets out to uncover the truth before an innocent man gets executed and another little girl is killed with no money and no time to spare.
But the FBI refuses to reopen the case. They—and Susan’s own mother—believe she’s just having an emotional breakdown. Reaching deep, Susan finds an inner strength she never knew she had. With the help of two unlikely allies—a cynical, defiant teenage girl and the retired cop who made the original arrest—Susan battles the FBI to put the real killer behind bars. Will she win justice for the condemned man—and her daughter—at last?
I was contacted by Mr. Witten to review this very gripping and intense novel about a mother’s quest for getting closure for her young daughter’s brutal murder.
After twenty years of waiting for justice, Susan Lentigo raises money to take a trip to North Dakota where the Monster who murdered her baby will be executed. On the way, her old car breaks down, she is robbed of her money, and after visiting her ex-husband who left her and began a new life soon after their loss, she discovers something that places doubts in her mind about her crusade to see the Monster die. But time is not on her side.
Susan’s story smoothly switches from the present to the past as the reader slowly finds out the tragedy that led up to Susan’s trip to North Dakota. From the death of her daughter, Amy, to the search for suspects, to the conviction of the Monster, and to the doubts raised by Amy’s favorite necklace that was never found, my heart breaks for Susan as her guilt and grief eat her alive. With the kindness of strangers and the help of retired FBI Agent Pappas who was part of the original investigation, she is in a race against time to provide evidence that will break the case wide open.
Susan’s unending determination against all odds makes for a powerful story. There are a couple of unbelievable spots such as breaking into the home and being pursued by a man with a gun in the middle of the night without consequences and Susan’s sudden aha moment at the end, but the story held me captive from the start.
I recommend this riveting murder thriller countdown with family dysfunctionality and corrupt criminal justice systems. Triggers include child abuse, graphic violence, and descriptions of public execution.
Thank you to Mr. Witten for giving me the opportunity to review this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Witten is a TV writer, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who has been writing for television for the past twenty years, including such shows as House, Pretty Little Liars, Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Medium, JAG, The Glades, Homicide, Judging Amy, and Women’s Murder Club. He has written four mystery novels that were published by Signet: Breakfast at Madeline’s, Grand Delusion, Strange Bedfellows, and The Killing Bee.
His novel The Necklace will be published in September 2021, by Oceanview Publishing. The novel has been optioned for film by Appian Way and Cartel Pictures, with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer.