• Title: Witness
  • Author: Simon Maltman
  • Publisher: New Pulp Press on October 25, 2020
  • Genre: Crime Noir
  • Pages: 314
  • Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
  • Rating: 4/5

Trigger Warnings: Graphic Violence, Murder, Mention of Pedophilia, Mentions of Child Abuse

Many thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours, Simon Maltman, and New Pulp Press for providing me with a digital copy of Witness in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

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Witness Blurb

God created the world in one week. In six days Pastor Tom destroyed his own. On the seventh day he rested. Post-Troubles Belfast. One flawed pastor believes he can still make a difference. Hardened, ageing paramilitaries make a last grab for power. Murder, kidnapping, corruption. Pastor Tom strives to make a positive difference in his community, but secrets from his past still haunt him. One bad decision follows another as he tries to do “the right thing.” Will he soon be shackled to a path leading him far from redemption?

Provided by Blackthorn Book Tours for purpose of the tour

My Review

Simon Maltman tells us a story that is equal parts brilliant and disturbing. What do you do when you have utterly despicable characters? How can you enjoy a book that delivers crooked religion along with a couple of thugs? I don’t know how to answer that question except to say that it is a great read.

We are first introduced to Tom, the pastor, while he is leading a theatrical church service. After which, he goes straight to his office to have a couple slugs of whiskey. I hated the man from the church service, and it only got worse from there. I had no sympathy for him and couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to see his comeuppance.

Tom tries to play family man. Knowing he has misappropriated church funds causes him to go to dirty lengths to get the money to cover his ass. This leads to one dastardly deed after another, culminating in death and destruction.

What bothered me most was that Tom used his faith in God as a bridge to excuse his mistakes. He marks it down as God’s will or God’s plan. He takes no responsibility for his actions. It made me sick to my stomach to be subject to this fake religious zealot.

Despite the insincere and despicable things in this novel, it hooked me. The book is riveting, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I had to know what happened next. It was sort of like a train wreck where you can’t look away no matter how horrifying things get.

I award Witness 4 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy the gritty underbelly of the crime world, you will love this book. I wish you luck in putting it down if you do pick it up.

About the Author – Simon Maltman

Simon Maltman is the ‘Irish Noir’ author of novels, novellas and short stories. His recent books include ‘Witness’ and ‘The Mark.’ An Amazon Bestseller, he also splits his time working as a musician and as a tour guide on his ‘Belfast Noir’ tour. He lives in County Down with his wife and two daughters. 

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