The Truth Will Out
by Jane Isaac
Well, everything isn’t going to be OK for Eva, one of two main characters in Jane Isaac’s new detective thriller. And it’ll be especially not OK for her friend Naomi, who is murdered in the first chapter.
Eva and Naomi travel from England to Italy to collect a car for Naomi’s friend Jules. When they discover by accident that the door panel is stuffed with mysterious brown packages, they are horrified. But their knowledge puts them both in deadly danger.
Chief Inspector Helen Lavery takes charge of the murder case and immediately discovers that Naomi’s killer has entered her home from an unoccupied property nearby via the common attic space. However the identity of the attacker and his motive are unclear. Both Eva and Jules are missing.
Helen is a single mother of two teenage children and juggles her private life, not always successfully, with her very stressful job. She is hung up over her former affair with a married detective, Dean Fitzpatrick, and when he turns up at her station to assist in solving cold case shootings, Helen’s life becomes very complicated indeed. Jules is found hanged and though the circumstances point to suicide, Helen is not convinced. Both Dean and her superior officer are eager to wrap up the investigation and the latter takes her off the case.
Eva has meantime fled to Scotland. She knows her friend has been attacked but does not realise she has been killed. She is afraid to go to the police because she and Naomi have broken the law by smuggling drugs or guns into the UK.
Lurking in the background are the sinister Nate and his gang-boss uncle Chilli Franks, who is responsible for most of the serious criminal activity in the fictitious county of Hampton – drugs, guns, prostitution and all the rest. However, the police can’t prove Chilli’s involvement. Helen is dedicated to putting him away.
Nowadays, detective stories are not my first choice in fiction. The criminal world of Agatha Christie and more modern British writers like Caroline Graham is too sanitised, and in Val McDiarmid’s work the violence and sex is too graphic and, I think, somewhat gratuitous. The Truth Will Out falls somewhere between the two extremes.
Jane Isaac, in her second novel, has written a fast-paced thriller with some well-drawn characters, and it carries the reader along to the very end. It helped, for me, that the settings were places with which I am familiar. Nate and Chilli are maybe a bit stereotypical but Helen and Eva had my sympathy throughout. I instinctively disliked Dean! The resolution of the murder mystery and its connection with organised crime is predictable and not too much of a surprise. Nevertheless, the climax when it comes is cliff-edge and nail-biting.