Frank Testimony written by J. Walt Layne and published by Champion City Press Ohio is a legal thriller at 291 pages long.
A veteran of the United States Army, a full time student at Urbana University studying business and human services, and working a full time job, J. Walt Layne has written for years. He has co-authored a science fiction novella titled The Coming Of T’Loal. Mr Layne currently resides in Springfield, Ohio with his wife and two children.
The cover art is red and black depicting what appears to be a field of thorns. The title in white bold lettering stands out in the top centre against the backdrop and the author name in small white lettering sits snug in the bottom right hand corner.
The synopsis is short but carries with it a half page excerpt which in its self sounds interesting but having been brought up watching court room dramas doesn’t sound to be my cup of tea since I never liked them.
Bedford Mississippi is home to some dark goings on and dangerous people and claverns (KKK). When Paul Whitaker and his daughter Mae are savagely murdered evidence points that Frank Burchill having recently been fired from his job is to blame for the deaths of his boss and the girl he loves. Sentenced to death Frank’s life changes in many ways, when he inherits the plantation he has been working on. Will Frank’s testimony save him? Will the real culprit be caught and receive his comeuppance by revenge? or the sword of justice?
The font is smaller than most novels and the chapters are unnumbered each having their own title and even though this can leave you bewildered for how many chapters remain they are at times short meaning you can get through quite a few in one sitting.
Though admittedly I am not a legal thriller fan I did enjoy reading this book if not only to find out what happened at the end. The synopsis I believe gives a little away to the story but it’s not until you’re over half way through the book that certain parts of the synopsis begin to materialise. The legal jargon appears professional and left me feeling I was both there but also wanting out. The period portrayed here in Frank Testimony in Nathan County Mississippi in 1958 is one to be carefully handled but I believe Mr Layne has done a wonderful job in his use of language and image portrayal.
There are three stories to this book, that of Frank Burchill and his love Mae Whitaker; that of Bobby Lee Russell, Mae Whitaker and Frank Burchill and the plot thickener and base of the book the involvement of the Ku Klux Klan within society and how though highly struggle some and with casualty’s, society fought back.
Writing this review has really taken me out of my safety zone that I just haven’t known how to structure this review for a book which deals with something completely foreign to me, and that still even to this day goes on somewhere in this world. I know law rushes for no-one in seeking the truth but I was glad having finished reading the book even though I did enjoy it. I think perhaps a larger font could possibly have given this book a fairer chance as often you would find yourself struggling to continue reading it’s a good job that Mr Layne has such an amazing story here to tell otherwise the legal jargon and font would be a black hole.
I would recommend Frank Testimony to anyone aged over 18 years as there are strong impressionable political views and strong offensive language unsuitable for younger generations. I give Frank Testimony by J. Walt Layne 4 out of 5 stars
By R.N. Hadley