Winner of the 2000 Christy Award in suspense—designed to “nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview”—Final Witness juxtaposes characters who are evil, those who are good but unbelievers, and those who are Christian and turn to God and their faith to surmount the evil in their lives. This Christian suspense novel therefore combines the features typical of suspense fiction with Christian characters confronting evil.
When Rachel Ybarra chose a career in law enforcement, she knew that she would have to confront evil. What she could not expect as a lowly paralegal was that evil would directly confront her as well. The man she knows as Fred Stefanos not only is a physical threat to her and her loved ones but also, raised in the former Soviet Union as an atheist, seeks to destroy her faith in God and make her his sex slave. He has already corrupted Sam Zagorsky with money. Highly cultured and a fan of American jazz music, he is completely amoral, a cold-blooded killer.
One of Ybarra’s loved ones is her pastor Manny Mendoza, whom Stefanos beats to teach Ybarra a lesson. However, Mendoza never loses his faith and even in his hospital bed is more concerned about Ybarra than he is about himself. Jeff Bunnell was raised in a Presbyterian home, but he eventually fell away from his faith after becoming an adult. When he spends one night in a jail cell, he turns to God, who helps him get through the night, and decides to return to his faith. When Stefanos kidnaps Ybarra, she prays, not just for herself but also for those whom she loves. She is more afraid for them than she is for herself.
When she was in high school, Ybarra’s younger brother was killed in gang violence. She blames herself and seeks redemption through a career in law enforcement. Before Mendoza became a Christian, he was a biker and involved in the drug trade. He redeemed himself by becoming a Protestant minister and converting his former lieutenant and chief enforcer. Deanne Natale starred in pornographic films, was mistress of a crime lord, and was addicted to heroin. She turns to Jesus and redeems herself by testifying against her former lover in open court.