Book Review: Material Witness: The Drew Smith Series (Book 3)
Publication Date: Sep 17, 2018
List Price: $15.99
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Imprint: Windmill Books
Publisher: Windmill Books
Parent Company: Windmill Books Ltd.
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Book Reviewed by Robert Fleming
In this third installment of Norwood Holland’s acclaimed Drew Smith Series, Material Witness, there are a few wrinkles in both characterization and plot. When the body of attorney Smith’s friend, David Chang is found nude and stabbed, fingers point to another of his barrister pals, Edward Miller. To complicate matters, signs of same-sex sexual activity are discovered at the murder scene, with David’s woman, Lian, indicating Edward and her man probably were intimately involved.
Holland adds a prickly love triangle offer made by TV personality Stephanie Gilchrist to Smith, noting Edward is bisexual and she wants to share her bed with both men. Plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder, Smith is confused by her wantonness and her “freakish request.” David’s lady, Lian is raising hell with her suggestion that Edward killed her man after surprising him with another suitor. Then there is the loan of $50K to Edward, but Lian wants the money repaid. It seems Lian was with David just for the sake of appearances.
The Feds get into the act when they find David was hired as a lawyer for an Asian firm, a shadow outfit with shady dealings. They connect the company’s officials with one of the six major Chinese Triads, organized crime syndicates profiting from gambling, prostitution, drugs, extortion and human trafficking.
Using his legal knowledge, Holland navigates that world of law enforcement and probes with a flair worthy of top drawer authors John Gresham or Scott Turow. He plunges into the determined mind of Smith as he peels back the layers of deceit, betrayal and murder involved in the David Chang case. A fresh slant throws Smith into a sexual tizzy when he thinks about a serious relationship with the frisky and ambitious Stephanie Gilchrist.
Smith, Holland writes, thinks he would feel humiliated and degraded watching another man making love to her. He feels their relationship is too intimate to handled “being cuckolded.” However, Stephanie wants what she wants and that is two studs making passionate love to her.
“Watching a woman have sex with another man is a common sexual fantasy among many heterosexual men,” she explains. “A male-female-male threesome is about two men that are interested and willing to please the woman at once.” She concludes that situation with two naked men does not mean that they are bisexual or homosexual.
While the proposed love triangle is at the center of the story, it has more than its share of surprises and twists. Lian, “the Dragon Lady,” and her sinister father are involved in criminal activities. David was an unfortunate dupe. But Smith, principled and a little irreverent, is a dogged figure once pointed to a logical conclusion to the case amid corrupt FBI agents, double-dealing rivals, and seductive vixens.
Deeply engrossing and insightful, Holland’s Material Witness is a provocative, witty legal tale that will keep you off-balance and guessing to the final page.