The Barnes & Noble Review
When successful lawyer Alan Benning -- tormented by the thought that he may have committed a murder 15 years earlier -- returns to the scene of the crime, he realizes that justice, however delayed, has a way of always being served. When he was a teenager, his family rented a camper for a few weeks during a summer vacation and traveled to Cape Cod. During that brief stay on a quiet stretch of sandy beach, Alan -- whose adolescent life was characterized by "bewilderment and self-loathing" -- stumbled across a young girl trying to get a kite out of a tree. But instead of helping the girl, he sexually assaulted her. When the girl started screaming, he panicked and silenced her with an act of violence. He ran back to his family's camper, and they eventually returned home as if nothing had happened. Now Alan is assailed by guilt: Did he kill the girl or not? He has to know
More than a half century after Shubin's crime fiction classic Anyone's My Name (1953), this novel takes a decidedly restrained look at pulp mystery. The brutal sexual crime -- which is the linchpin for the whole story -- is quickly glossed over in a few paragraphs and hardly ever mentioned again. As a result, the story line loses much of its knuckles-to-jawbone intensity, and instead of developing into an adrenaline-fueled whodunit, Witness to Myself becomes more of a psychological study in guilt, paranoia, and, ultimately, redemption -- a rare bullet-free Hard Case Crime release that is as melancholic as it is disturbing. Paul Goat Allen
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