Monday, June 6, 2011

False Witness by Randy Singer

Mr. Kumari, a Christian from India, has possession of the Abacus Algorithm. With it, one can factor very large numbers into their primes with ease. This computer program would make most encryption useless.
The Chinese mafia is willing to do anything to obtain this program. The wife of Clark Shealy, a bail bondsman, is kidnapped. The mafia uses her life as the price: Shealy must find Kumari and get the algorithm within 48 hours or they will begin to torture his wife.
Amazingly enough, he manages to find the man. They make a convoluted plan to fool the Chinese mafia into releasing Shealy's wife and yet retain the algorithm. She is released but Kumari is taken and is killed. Kumari had given Shealy the algorithm, promising that the key would be sent to him soon from India.
Move ahead four years as the Shealys are now in the witness protection program. Clark appears at a legal aid office and begins to involve students in a dangerous game of avoiding the Chinese mafia and the FBI. The focus of the story at this point switches to the students and their irritating professor.
The FBI thinks the Shealys (now the Hoffmans) have violated their witness protection agreement and are trying to sell the algorithm. The Chinese mafia are still after the algorithm and manage to find the Shealys.
Kidnappings, threats and clandestine meetings drive the action in the book as the Shealys and the students try to stay one step ahead of the FBI and the mafia. The students don't know who they can trust as they try to save the Hoffmans' lives and their own.

This is the first of Singer's novels I have read. I found the plot to be complicated and the action permeated with long sections of background material. I learned lots about law school and perhaps that was the intent. I felt the book could have been reduced by about 100 pages without losing any of the force in the plot. I would have rather seen those hundred pages used on character development. At the end of the book I would not say that I felt I really “knew” or had compassion any of the characters.
For me, the ending was unsatisfactory. The driving force in the book was the algorithm yet at the end of the book we find its potential unleashed but its future unknown. Perhaps Singer plans a sequel.

Singer wrote this book to highlight the state of the church in India. The royalties from the sale of this title will go to the Dalit Freedom Network. The gospel message is very clear in this book - the government can give one a new identity but only Christ can change a life.

I received an egalley of this book from The B&B Media Group on behalf of the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Tyndale House Publishers, 409 pages.

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