In the book If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney, a family has been torn apart by the youngest member. First, when Tristan was in-utero, their mother found out she had cancer. She made the decision to forgo treatment until after his birth, leaving her little time to fight the cancer, and ultimately to her death. The older three siblings have varying feelings about Tris, however, they all pitch in and try to help their father keep life going on.
Enter Aunt Cheryl, who isn’t really anyone’s aunt, but their mother’s halfhearted stepsister for about two years. However, Aunt Cheryl is determined to find her way into the heart of the family, or the house, since she seems more concerned with how things look than how things are. Unfortunately for the children in this family, another tragedy befalls them as their father is killed, and it appears by the very son who, in some ways, is responsible for the death of their mother.
Each child reacts in a different way. The youngest daughter, Smith, removes herself completely from the family by going off to boarding school. The oldest sibling, Madison, goes to live in another town with her godparents. Jack is the only one to stay with Tris and Aunt Cheryl, doing his best to keep things normal for the little boy the newspapers say is a double murderer.
The anniversary of their father’s birthday, or what would have been his birthday has all the siblings thinking, and one makes a startling discovery. Something that has her replaying her father’s death and looking at it with a new light. What did happen in the driveway that day?
As all three of the older children come back together, they begin to put aside their own troubles and focus on the youngest member of the family. Is he really responsible for the deaths of both of their parents? Or might someone else have had a hand in at least one?
Fast paced suspense story good for students grades 6th and up.