Book Review: “Star Witness” by Lia Matera
The Truth is Out There
Reviewed by G G Collins (Copyright 2015)
***** Willa Jansson was all set for a three-week no-brainer holiday when she made the mistake of answering the telephone. In a few moments, visions of idyllic beaches and languid hours vanished. Psychiatrist Fred Hershey called in a favor and Willa is hard-pressed to say no in this delightful romp through the strange.
For the past year Willa has been coasting along as a multimedia attorney—mostly because she thought it sounded cool and she’d been unemployed when the opportunity came along. Hershey wants her to defend a client accused of manslaughter in a hit and run accident with bizarre extenuating circumstances.
In this case of tabloid proportions, the accused, mushroom authority Allan Miller, maintains he can’t remember the accident happening. Under hypnosis he confessed to being kidnapped by aliens where he underwent gross experiments. Even he would rather he be guilty of the crime than admit to what his subconscious maintains happened during a period of missing time. (Cue eerie music.)
As Willa reluctantly investigates the earthly possibility that her client committed this crime, the other world of UFOs and alleged abductions comes to the forefront. A crop circle is found in a field by a local citizen who attracts believers to Santa Cruz from all over. Shades of Roswell! Even Willa experiences missing time and struggles with trying to explain it to herself.
It appears the provincial law has not done a compelling job of examining the evidence. Certainly tire tracks were not found in the Brussels sprout field. The car in question had to sail off the cliff adjacent the growing cruciferous veggies in order to land atop the car below. Willa is determined to look for terrestrial evidence to clear her client.
To offer a balanced defense she requests the least kooky UFO specialists she can find. Unfortunately they can’t agree among themselves just how to explain, let alone prove, UFO abductions.
Other witnesses are afraid to testify due to the financial and social ramifications. Willa is fired when the firm catches on to the shenanigans going on in Space People’s Court.
Further complications arise because of a well-known columnist who has been sitting in on the testimony. He exposes Miller’s long ago doctoral thesis which posed the theory that mushrooms may be an alien life-form, opening the prospect of Spore Wars. Well, you get the idea.
Willa’s fruitcake mother shows up ready to organize a demonstration. She has a long ago connection to one of the UFOlogists, but to avoid upsetting the trial her daughter scuttles her back home before she can cause anymore hullabaloo.
Matera doesn’t draw any conclusions regarding the legitimacy of UFO reports or abductions, but getting there is a hoot. As we all know, the truth is out there.
Star Witness (A Willa Jansson Mystery, Book #6)
Simon & Schuster ♦ 255 pp ● June 1997 ♦ Now available on Kindle
Posted on March 18, 2015, in Books, Editorial, Reviews and tagged book review, G G Collins, Legal Thriller, Lia Matera, Mystery, Reluctant Medium at Large, Simon & Schuster, Star Witness, The Truth is Out There, UFO, UFOlogists, women sleuths. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.