Author: Randy Singer
Title: False Witness
Publisher: Tyndale House

OK, I’ll say it. If you like John Grisham, then grab a copy of Randy Singer’s False Witness. Fans of suspenseful legal thrillers will inhale this twisty, convoluted tale involving the witness protection program, the Chinese mafia, and missionary work in India. If you can stomach a little torture mixed in with the adventure, False Witness will capture your undivided attention and likely entice you to sacrifice a few hours of sleep.

Bail bondsman Clark Shealy is blackmailed into obtaining the Abacus Algorithm—an encrypted, complicated equation that has the potential to cripple the Internet and put every user’s information at risk. The Chinese mafia proves merciless in its quest for Clark’s cooperation.

Jump ahead four years to Atlanta, where law student Jamie Brock and two of her classmates find themselves working a legal aid case in which their clients, members of the witness protection program, have been accused of fraud—and of attempting to sell the encrypted algorithm they now possess.

The two plotlines merge perfectly, and suddenly the feds want Jamie’s clients as much as the mafia does. A pastor from the Dalit caste in India possesses a key piece of the puzzle. Screaming car chases, shootouts, and conspiracies ensue, with Jamie’s life threatened and her peace of mind destroyed. Whom does she trust? Is anyone telling her the truth? Navigating the tricky path to justice could prove deadly.

Fabulous characters and memorable action scenes will keep readers engaged from page one. Deeper questions about the nature of justice and the reach of governmental power will provoke readers to think and debate. Singer has produced a masterful plot with complex characters who wrestle with weighty philosophical questions.

Why is Crosswalk reviewing a Singer novel published back in 2007? One that earned a starred review from Booklist and caused Publisher’s Weekly to dub him “the Christian John Grisham”? No, we aren’t late. False Witness is being re-released in expanded form, with additions included that better develop Singer’s original inspiration for the novel.

At the funeral of a friend, the deceased’s true identity was revealed—though known by one name with one story to most of his friends, he actually had been in the witness protection program. In his former life, this friend of Singer’s had not been the upright, generous guy he became later. The pastor, who knew the whole story, concluded his sermon with these words, “The government can give you a new identity, but only Christ can change your life.”

That phrase inspired Singer to write False Witness, but in this revised version he has added material that directly communicates this philosophy. The catchy phrase appears word-for-word in the new book. An even greater emphasis is given to the oppression of the Dalits of India—the lowest Hindu caste. In the story, the creator of the algorithm originally intended profits from its sale go toward his missionary passion, the education of Dalit children. The original novel mentions this only in passing. Singer gives more background information on the plight of the Dalits in this revised edition. He desires to be part of the growing influence that Christians are having on these enslaved people. Through exposure in the pages of a novel and the profits from its sale, he hopes to share the love of Christ.

The 2011 expanded version includes helpful background and greater spiritual emphasis. The additions only improve on a fabulous read.