In partnership with Villa Maria and Harper Collins
Welcome to Capsule’s Book Club! Whether you indulge in a few hours of luxurious alone time each Sunday, or finish your day with a chapter or two, we invite you to relax and enjoy, and if you’re so inclined, connect with fellow Capsule readers and your own family and friends to have a yarn about the book you’ve just read.
And, thanks to our new partners Villa Maria, each book will be expertly wine matched with a bottle of Villa’s finest – this month, it’s the gorgeous EarthGarden Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon!
The reigning queen of chic lit thrillers, the aptly-named Karin Slaughter (it’s her real name, I checked) simply cannot fail.
Her previous work, Pieces of Her, will soon premiere on Netflix (starring Toni Collette no less) and she’s the one you want to turn to when you want to escape into a tense, gritty thriller on a Sunday afternoon with a glass of good, gritty red – see below for our Villa Maria wine match!
So, False Witness. My GOD, what a book. Set in 2020-2021 America during the pandemic – more on that in a minute – Leigh Coulton is an unremarkable success, and that’s just what she always wanted. She’s a defence attorney in Atlanta, a mum and is going through one of those amicable divorces you hear about but don’t actually believe exist.
All of this is going swimmingly until her boss forces her to take on a sexual assault case, defending the accused who is, of course, wealthier than God. Turns out though, there’s a twisted reason as to why Andrew Tenant specifically requested Leigh – he knows her and her sister Callie’s dark childhood secret, he has proof, and he’ll turn them both in unless she wins the case.
Only problem? Well, not the only problem, but the biggest problem? She knows he’s damn well guilty. Oh, and Callie is now struggling with addiction thanks to childhood trauma and a gymnastics accident.
Suffice to say, Karin sets quite the remarkable stage for her fast-paced, twisty-turny thriller that balances the exploration of social and political issues, as well as family dynamics and female motivations, within the fascinating confines of a legal procedural.
She’s certainly not afraid to delve into the depths of human depravity, but somehow manages to balance out the Criminal Minds parts of the show with relatability and a touch of lightness as we travel through blackmail, regret, betrayal and deceit. She’s a dark read, all right, and it does come with trigger warnings. It’s tense, it’s bold, and THAT twist is, wow.
As a very impatient person generally – I’m the type who Googles the plot of a movie before I watch it because I like to know the end game and then focus on the journey, and yes I know that makes me ridiculous – I really appreciate Karin’s writing style. She wastes absolutely no time with her words, using just enough narrative and description to engage the reader’s imagination, but also get them to where they need to be. She understands writing for women especially – and especially when she’s writing about the dynamic of sisters.
At the same time, it’s weird to be reading something set during Covid-19 – like it’s too close, or too real. I suppose we’ll all get used to seeing this particular part of our current reality in print and on the screen, but it is a little jarring at first.
So channel your inner Nancy Drew, grab your glass of EarthGarden Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon and get ready for a powerful book you can’t put down as you grapple along with Leigh’s conscience.
VILLA MARIA WINE MATCH with Villa’s Wine Expert, Jessica Bell
An intense deep and dark thriller calls for an intense deep and dark wine with the Villa Maria EarthGarden Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 being the perfect accompaniment and trust me, you need a strong, full-bodied red when you’re reading this book.
Just like False Witness, this wine has layers of depth and tannin, and just like Leigh, a huge depth of character.
This wine, which is organically grown, is nature at her finest. Rich dark fruits, a wine of generosity and intensity, this wine is as bold as the book and pairs perfectly with robust, full flavour dishes – or if you’re reading on a Sunday afternoon, a cheese platter!
If you liked False Witness, you might also like:
The Listeners by Jordan Tanahill; Count the Ways / Joyce Maynard; Songs in Ursa Major / Emma Brodie
Miss last month’s book selection? Check out our match of Legacy paired with the delicious Villa Maria Syrah 2019.