Vaclav and Lena

fifth witness book cover

In her first novel, Haley Tanner takes us to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn and introduces us to Vaclav and Lena, two best-friend Russian immigrant kids who, even as youngsters, recognize that they’re in love with each other. The pair dreams of performing a magic show on the Coney Island boardwalk — Vaclav is a hard-working aspiring magician and Lena is his shy assistant — but just as they’re set to make their debut, Lena vanishes. In the years that follow, Vaclav never stops wondering where Lena could be. Then, on her seventeenth birthday, the truth is revealed. Page after page, Tanner pulls us into their story of love, loss, friendship, and the sometimes-harsh reality that goes along with it all.

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Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

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Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


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Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


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My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
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“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

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My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

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Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.