Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza

Today I am absolutely thrilled to share my thoughts on Fatal Witness, the brand new and long awaited book in the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, and to wish the author the very happiest of publication days. I love this series and was so happy when he announced that Erika was coming back. My thanks to the author for the advance copy for review. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Publication Date: 07 July 2022
Publisher: Raven Street Publishing

About the Book

Detective Erika Foster is back in FATAL WITNESS – with a chilling new serial killer case in Robert Bryndza’s multi-million bestselling crime thriller series!

How do you find a killer who has destroyed all the evidence?

Detective Erika Foster is on a late-night walk near her new house in Blackheath when she stumbles upon the brutal murder of Vicky Clarke, a true-crime podcaster.

Erika is assigned to the case and discovers that Vicky had been working on a new podcast episode about a sexual predator who preys on young female students around South London, staking out his victims in their halls of residence before breaking in at the dead of night. When Erika discovers that Vicky’s notes and sound recordings were stolen from her flat at the time of her murder, it leads her to believe that Vicky was close to unmasking the attacker, and she was killed to guarantee her silence.

The case takes on a disturbing twist when the body of a young Bulgarian student doctor is discovered in the same building, and this makes Erika question everything she thought she knew about Vicky. With very little evidence, the clock is ticking to find the killer before he strikes again.

My Thoughts

Oh happy day, Erika Foster is back! And what a case she is faced with in this long awaited return. High stakes and high threat, this is one investigation that could prove quite costly for our favourite Detective. Never fear folks. If any of you were wondering whether, after a four year gap, Robert Bryndza could recapture that Foster magic, let me reassure you that the answer is a resounding yes. Stepping back into the world of Erika, Peterson, Moss and the team was like greeting old friends. After all the hellos you just fall back into stride with them and away we go.

Which is just as well really as we find Erika has to hit the ground running, faced with an unexpected case almost literally on her doorstep. Whilst settling (?) into a new home and a new neighbourhood, she happens upon the scene of a brutal murder as true-crime podcaster, Vicky Clarke has met a very violent and sticky end. We’re present during the time of the attack. We get the full force of the what, but not the why, and believe me when I say that in this most twisted of cases, absolutely nothing is as it seems. The case leads Erika and the team in a direction they really weren’t expecting, bringing them into the world of a well known drama school, Vicky’s former school, which is nursing more than the odd secret of its own.

Full of tension and packed with mystery this gave me all the thrills of a classic Erika Foster story, but with a brand new feel to it too. There is a sense of this being echoed in Erika’s own story as she is starting afresh in a new home, putting herself and her relationship with the team back on track, especially with Peterson which, anyone who has read the earlier books in the series will understand. There is a quiet awkwardness between them, but not one that hinders the case. The uncertainty through, that hesitation, helped to join those dots for me between where we left them in Deadly Secrets to where we are now. This is a fresh start, for everyone, including us readers, but it is also vintage Erika Foster, and if you think that her tendency to get herself into trouble may have waned over the break, think again. Towards the end of the book she finds herself in a real pickle, leaving me wondering how she, and the author, would work her way out of it.

I loved the pacing and the flow of this book. There are moments of real tension, those pulse pounding scenes that the author is so good at creating. Moments where the sense of jeopardy is off the charts. Characterisation is, as always, excellent, and I have to wonder whether, given the author’s own history, there might not be echoes of people he has met in the past within the characters he has created. Only partial of course, as, murder aside, there is a darkness at the heart of the novel, one which is almost too believable. But amongst all the intensity of the investigation there is the human side. The grief of the bereaved, the vulnerability of the victims and, more importantly for fans of Erika, a fresh outlook on life courtesy of a face from the past. It brought a smile to my face and to Erika’s too. After all her heartbreak and drama, is a glimmer of something positive on the horizon?

I can’t wait to see where Robert Bryndza takes us next. It’s been so good reuniting with this series and these characters. I’d say I hope Erika gets an easier time next time too, but not too easy. It wouldn’t be the same if she didn’t rush in, giving the investigation her everything – where would the fun before readers in that anyway? Tense, action packed and with that oh so familiar, if not quite comfortable, feel, fans of the series will not be disappointed.

About the Author

Robert Bryndza is best known for his page-turning crime and thriller novels, which have sold over five million copies.His crime debut, The Girl in the Ice, was released in February 2016, introducing Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Within five months, it sold one million copies, reaching number one on the Amazon UK, USA, and Australian charts. The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1.5 million copies in the English language, and it has been sold into translation in 30 countries. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller (2016), the Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle in France (2018), and it won two reader-voted awards, The Thrillzone Awards for best debut thriller in The Netherlands (2018) and The Dead Good Papercut Award for best page-turner at the Harrogate Crime Festival (2016).Robert has released five more novels in the Erika Foster series, The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets, which have all been global bestsellers. In 2017 Last Breath was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Mystery and Thriller.

Most recently, Robert created a new crime thriller series based around the central character Kate Marshall, a police officer turned private detective. The first book, Nine Elms, was an Amazon USA #1 bestseller and an Amazon UK top five bestseller, and the series has been sold into translation in 18 countries. The second book in the series is the global bestselling Shadow Sands, and the third book is Darkness Falls.Robert was born in Lowestoft, on the east coast of England. He studied at Aberystwyth University and the Guildford School of Acting and was an actor for several years but didn’t find success until he took a play he’d written to the Edinburgh Festival. This led to the decision to change career and start writing. Before switching to writing crime, he self-published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. Robert lives with his husband in Slovakia and is lucky enough to write full-time. 

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