I have followed Cara Hunter from her debut for good reason – she’s brilliant. One of my favourite thriller writers does it again, and she delivers another police procedural with her police team that we grow a deeper and deeper connection with. The Whole Truth is captivating, full of mystery, tension, moral dilemma and outstanding in its observational power that urges you to think profoundly about very sensitive issues.
DI Adam Fawley and his team are investigating a rape charge where a male student has accused his female professor of rape, using her position of power to control submission. There are so many reversals of direction throughout the story that you never quite know the truth, but it does illustrate the challenging perceptions of rape when it’s just one word against another and the evidence appears consensual or inconclusive.
In stark contrast, in terms of brutality and an evil calculated psyche, the ‘Roadside Rapist’ – Gavin Parrie, is released from prison and has vowed his revenge on the main detective who hunted him down. Adam Fawley was the detective who built the case against him and used evidence from one of his victims to guarantee the conviction. That victim is now Adam’s wife, Alex, and the suspicion is that the evidence was planted, which is what Parrie has claimed. The twists and surprises in this revenge laden mystery create an atmosphere that is full of menace, drama, fatigue and fear, all while Alex is almost at full term with her pregnancy.
Once again Cara Hunter uses modern storytelling mechanics to deliver her story including the use of podcasts (which plays a big role in this novel), social media, text conversations, interview transcripts and voice recordings. I have wondered if this would get too much and start becoming a distraction but so far it hasn’t, however, I did feel the graphic image of a smartphone with the text conversation laid out started to go that direction. Maybe I’m too traditional but I would hate to see the overuse of graphics in a fictional thriller novel.
While major investigations are solved, other supporting plots and rivalries are not fully resolved and tied up in a pretty bow, which is a more realistic conclusion. There is always the next book to take these relationships further. I thoroughly enjoyed the development of the team members as their personal lives are drawn with greater depth and circumstance as they face difficulties and challenges with private issues that start creeping into their police work.
I think this was a challenging subject illustrating the horrendous crime of rape, but Cara presented a range of scenarios without being insensitive or graphic. I would like to thank Cara Hunter, Penguin UK and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in return for an honest review.