Friday, November 10, 2023

Book Review: All The Little Truths by Debra Webb

 Evidence that could be a breakthrough in the unsolved murder of Lucy Cagle, which happened thirteen years ago, falls into the hands of police. The latest client of the legal investigator Finley O'Sullivan is Ray Johnson, the scion of the shady Johnson family, who wants her to solve the case and absolve him of suspicion. When she digs up in search of the truth, she finds out about more deaths and disappearances. She has to confront an intricate web of lies and half-truths that try to prevent her progress. What could she do when she realises that everyone involved is feeding her lies, even her beloved father?

All The Little Truths is the upcoming third installment of the crime series featuring investigator Finley O'Sullivan, written by Debra Webb. I haven't yet read any of the books in the series or any books by Debra Webb, though I noticed that she has written more than 150 novels. I received an advance copy of All The Little Truths from the publisher, Thomas & Mercer, through Netgalley in exchange for honest feedback.

Even though I haven't read any of the previous books in the series, and many incidents from them have important ramifications in the plot of this book, the author took enough care that the new reader wasn't left in a lurch. The author has left enough clues and hints in the novel without going overboard or compromising the pace, so that the readers can easily connect the dots themselves. We realise that the past of the protagonist is a tragic one and appreciate her attempts to better herself and her situation without reading the previous ones.

The author is successful in convincingly creating a maze of half-lies and fabrications that blocks Finley's progress on her journey to uncover the truth behind the gruesome murder. Every person whom she meets and interviews seems to withhold some crucial information regarding the truth. The title of the novel is very effective in this aspect. Finley has to rely on bits of little truths that are obtained by sifting through loads of lies, red herrings, misinformation, and disinformation.

The tone of the novel is very gritty. Though, for most of its length, it has the pace and style of an elaborate procedural, it never attempts to pull back the punches and gets reckless when needed. With enough grey in her shades, the protagonist, Finley O'Sullivan, turned out to be a very interesting character. Others too are portrayed pretty convincingly, especially her boyfriend Matt and Houser, the sidekick cop. The writer focuses on her plot and characters, never trying to insert unwanted subplots as an attempt at virtue signalling, which is a distracting trend that I noticed in several recent novels.

Through a loose clue hidden in plain sight, I was able to decipher one important climatic revelation before I read one-fourth of the book. It didn't hamper the suspense, though, as there were many other puzzles to be solved and many lies to be uncovered by the end. Overall, All The Little Truths by Debra Webb turned out to be a decent whodunit for me.

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