Prime Witness

About The Book

Prime Witness coverOne night Caro witnesses the brutal murder of her friend and teacher, Vicky Redpath, in the Centre for Advanced Behavioural Studies. Her wing of the building is in flames but a traumatised Caro escapes.

Mark Rees, professor at CABS and Vicky's supervisor, explains to a sceptical DCI Draper the nature of his research - exploring the linguistic and cognitive abilities of great apes - and introduces Draper to the remarkable Caro, a bonobo who can communicate using hieroglyphic symbols and intellectually is on a par with a five-year old child.

Rees reveals the centre has been the target of hate mail. Draper suspects animal rights activists might be behind the murder and arson, attempting to sabotage the research and release the animals.

The truth, far darker and malevolent, begins to emerge when Darwin, also a bonobo and Caro's penfriend, is killed in California.

DCI Draper, grappling to understand the true extent of Caro's abilities, develops a special relationship with her and feels protective of her. As he tries to unravel the mystery that lies at the heart of the attacks upon the apes, he realises that he faces a powerful and implacable enemy.

Can Caro identify the killer? Would that endanger her still further? Would her testimony count?

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He turned his head slowly, eyes trying to adjust to the chiaroscuro of light and shadow. At the far end was a door, hopefully locked; to the right, an archway to another section of the museum; above, a gallery with Victorian wrought iron railings, displaying yet more exhibits, encircled the room.

He slowed his breathing. Silence, not even traffic noise, just the thick viscous air, heavy with the weight of human history and diversity, smothering all sound. Masks, frozen in their grimaces, stared threateningly back at him from their dusty glass cabinets.

A massive blow hit him between the shoulder blades, propelling him forward to smash into one of the display cases, knocking all breath fom his lungs. The glass exploded around him, fragments catching the beams; a billow of thick dust mushroomed from the cabinet, enveloping him.

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