In The Witness, it is spring in London, but Jenny can’t see or experience it. The survivor of a brutal assault, she has been confined, for her own safety, to a small flat since September — seven long months of confinement with police officers whose job it is to protect her until she has given her testimony. She is not allowed to open the curtains or look out the windows and certainly not permitted to leave the flat.
In this setting she and the senior investigating officer on her case, Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sinclair, discuss the nature of freedom. During her first few months in the flat, she was recovering from severe injuries and didn’t mind the restrictions. Now, however, she feels locked in. Sinclair points out that although her physical freedom is restricted for a time, her thoughts and feelings aren’t locked in.
There may be times in our lives when we feel imprisoned, perhaps by duty or obligation, perhaps by health, finances, or the expectations of others, times when only our minds bring us the freedom we seek. Armchair travelers can see the world. Small children can soar as Superman. Imagination can give us temporary release from our constraints.
Must we always, however, lie beneath the horizon? No, the horizon is not a fixed point; it changes with our perspective. Sometimes imagination can take on power and become a tool we can use to free ourselves from what is holding us back. Imagination can give us wings.
Visualization, however, is the wind beneath those wings. It uses the mind to precede and guide the body. Examining our mental images can help us live into the new reality that we envision. We think of possible courses of action, decide how we feel about them, and then choose what to do. The more specific we can be about each stage in the process, the better. When the opportunity comes for us to act, we will be ready.
Take the first step: Use your imagination to look outside yourself. Take the second: Embellish the pictures you see. Take the third: Identify your purpose. One more: Prepare. Our physical bodies may run the race, but our will and our discipline in training will carry us across the finish line.
Here’s what was said about The Witness in a recent review:
Brit Books: The Witness by Naomi Kryske
February 6, 2013 By Julie Moore
I’ve never been much of a reader of mysteries or police procedurals or any of those types of books, though I sort of like watching them on TV – especially when the characters are good. That said, I have just finished reading The Witness by Naomi Kryske, and am looking forward to more!
It follows Jenny, a young American woman from Texas, through her ordeals as the victim of a gruesome crime. Jenny must heal physically, mentally, and spiritually as in the aftermath of her beating and rape by the prominent son of a diplomat.
The only victim to survive his attacks, Jenny must stay alive to testify – hidden in witness protection apartment and guarded by policemen. Her recovery is gradual, but her courage remains strong as she learns to trust the men who have been entrusted with her care. I loved the development of these characters – the British policemen that make up her protection team.
Although it is hard to imagine being in her shoes, Kryske does a great job of conveying the emotions that govern Jenny’s life – the perpetual fear and deep suspicion that accompanied the introduction of any new character. Nor would I know what it would be like to be in witness protection, but the description of the days and days of confinement to a small apartment – prohibited from even looking out the one window – endless games of poker, reading and watching television… I got a good sense of it. That the story takes place in London is hardly an issue, as you remain, with Jenny, in the sad little flat.
It was interesting and emotionally taxing – and satisfying – to follow Jenny’s progress as she worked with a medical officer, a psychiatrist, and also a minister to regain herself after the devastating attack. I don’t know how many crime novels delve into the spiritual, but I love how this book has strong Christian characters and themes throughout.
It was also fascinating to learn about British systems of law and order – for instance, only a select group of specifically trained police officers are authorized to carry and operate firearms. And the trial was so well-recounted that I felt like slapping the rapist’s lawyers! (“They’re not real,” I kept having to remind myself.) It would make great TV.
The Witness is a long book, but not TOO long. In fact, I was completely engrossed in this fascinating, sensitive story of a courageous young woman pushing through the damage of trauma to recover her life.
Julie Moore is a graphic designer, mom, blogger and avid Anglophile living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.