Friday, August 26, 2022

Sophia Rose Reviews: The Secret Witness by Victor Methos

Today Sophia Rose is here reviewing the brilliance audio version of the crime mystery, The Secret Witness by Victor Methos, narrator Timothy Andres Pabon.

The Secret Witness by Victor Methos, narrator Timothy Andres Pabon

#1 Shepard and Gray

Mystery, Crime Novel

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Published: 7.1.22

Time:  8 hours 5 minutes

Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: MP3

Source: Brilliance Audio

Sellers: Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads

GoodReads Blurb:

From the bestselling author of A Killer’s Wife comes the thrilling first installment in the Shepard & Gray series, featuring a young sheriff who teams up with a former prosecutor to stop a copycat killer.

This is Reaper speaking.

So begins an anonymous letter published in a Utah newspaper after a young couple is viciously murdered. Tooele County sheriff Elizabeth Gray leads the investigation into the double homicide, which is eerily reminiscent of a string of brutal killings years ago. When the letter leads detectives to yet another body, Gray calls on an old friend for help.

Former prosecutor Solomon Shepard is still struggling to recover from the deadly courtroom attack that ended his career. He’s been keeping a safe distance from the action, teaching criminology seminars about serial murders and psychopathology—until Gray asks for his help on the Reaper case.

As the body count mounts, Shepard and Gray race to unravel the deranged design of a copycat killer—and find themselves in a face-off with an enemy they never saw coming.


Sophia Rose's Review:

A serial killer called ‘Reaper’ and an intriguing detecting partnership in a legal thriller-style mystery by a new to me author and narrator had me tingling with anticipation.


The Secret Witness caught my eye because it was set in Tooele (too-i-luh) County, UT, and I couldn’t pass up a serial killer case investigated by a retired county prosecutor with PTSD and a fairly new woman sheriff.  Solomon Shepard and Sheriff Billie Gray’s dad worked the original Reaper case and didn’t solve it after several killings and the Reaper going silent.  Now, either the Reaper’s back for he has a well-informed copycat.


Solomon is more behavior and personality analyst than strictly a lawyer.  He was an oddity in his heyday and even more so now that’s he’s lived as a recluse since his attack and life-threatening injury that left him walking with a cane.  He is reluctant when Billie asks for help on the new case which is chillingly like the old Reaper profile.  Throughout The Secret Witness, Solomon slowly, but surely returns to the land of the living and gets back in the saddle by, first assisting Billie with the investigation, and then getting back into prosecution work. Solomon was intriguing from the start because he is vulnerable and then throughout, his character is allowed to make mistakes, feel like a failure, sometimes show some brilliance, and feel everything from fear to determination. 


Sharing the story and the point of view narration is Billie Gray, a new sheriff, who has to prove herself not just as a woman law enforcement officer, but because her deputies suspect she got the job because of her dad having been a successful former sheriff.  She’s a good cop, but she needs someone who thinks outside the box to track this killer and she isn’t afraid to go drag him out of his apartment and support someone everyone else thinks is washed up.


I used to enjoy reading legal thrillers because they show the investigation side and then the follow up bringing the case to court. I enjoyed this return to the genre and I thought the detecting team had a good friendship, mutual respect, and really clicked as a working partnership both when they’re out tracking evidence and when they’re in the courtroom.  There was a good build of tension through the story and nailbiter moments at various times during the story.  The perpetrator was chilling and a formidable, complex antagonist. 


The side story about the abuse situation going on with teenage Kelly, Solomon’s neighbor, added another layer of emotion to the story.  My heart broke for this girl and I appreciated the tough choice he had to make in regard to Kelly said a lot about Solomon’s integrity in that muddied situation.


That last chapter was a great surprise twist.  I wasn’t entirely surprised as I noted the hints dropped earlier and discounted them when other things came up. Well played!


The narration was done by Timothy Andres Pabon.  He had a smooth delivery and a subtle narration style.  He brought suspense and dramatic moments into the forefront, some variation for gender, age or personality of the characters, and let the book’s own voice do the telling.  I thought he matched both Solomon and Billie’s style in their points of view well.


I’m so glad this is the start of a series.  I will definitely be looking up the author’s backlist as I wait for the next series installment.  Legal thriller, police procedural, crime novels, and murder mystery fans should put this on the reading list.


Author Bio:

Victor Methos immigrated to the United States from Kabul, Afghanistan, at the age of nine and wrote his first short story in English at the age of ten. He is the bestselling author of over 50 novels and has been nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award for best novel for his work, "A Gambler's Jury," and is the recipient of the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for, "The Hallows."


He attended law school at the University of Utah and has been both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, having conducted more than 100 trials ranging from death penalty cases to defending the rights of Native American tribes to practice their religion freely, to suing police departments for civil rights violations.  

Methos' books have been #1 bestselling hits in the United States, United Kingdom, India, Australia, and throughout the world. He currently lives in Southern Utah.




Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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  1. I like a good twist at the end of a book. This sounds like a good read.

    1. Yes, the surprise right about then is always welcome for me, too, Mary. :)

  2. I just love your review here Sophia! I also love that its set in Utah. Not many books are. I also love seeing the investigative side. Not many thrillers or mysteries that I read have that focus so you have me intrigued. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. It was fun to see one set in UT and yes, the investigation combo with legal thriller was a neat bonus.

  3. Yay for wanting to check out the backlist

  4. Oh wow! This sounds like a keeper 👏🏼 Great review! Hello everyone 🙂