I wanted to read this book before embarking on the author’s new one, Before It’s Too Late.
The Truth Will Out is the second novel in the DCI Helen Lavery series. It is a welcome addition to a sub-genre of novels by female authors, featuring a strong female protagonist. I really warmed to Lavery. She comes across as capable, caring and human, someone who a lot of women will relate to. She’s a single mum, and is recently back at work from maternity leave. Bored with being given unimportant tasks for two weeks, she can’t wait to get stuck into a proper investigation when her boss assigns her to a new case.
Eva witnesses an attack on her friend, Naomi, while on a skype call. Scared for her safety, Eva calls an ambulance and flees. Lavery heads up the investigation. Unfortunately, with no witnesses except Eva and no signs of forced entry, the lack of leads results in slow progress at first. Via a series of flashbacks the reader is drip fed information about what might have happened, and the past re-emerges for all the characters, including Lavery, in the form of DI Dean Patrick. Things become tense when it appears that someone is out to get Eva … and also Helen.
I liked the imaginative and contemporary nature of the plot. The use of technology as the means through which a crime is witnessed gives the book an up-to-date feel, and it reminded me of a Sophie Hannah plot (in a good way, I mean, not an actual SH book). It deals with some interesting themes: police corruption, personal responsibility, abuse, work-life balance.
What I particularly enjoy about Isaac’s writing style is that it is tight while at the same time taking the reader by the hand and leading him/her through the story in a delightful way. I don’t mean to suggest by this that the book is ‘cosy’. It isn’t. It deals with some hard-hitting themes and doesn’t shy away from representing the violence of the crimes. What I found was that chapters whizzed by and I quickly realised that I had read half the book. The pacing is excellent. The twists and turns in the plot worked well, and I cared about the characters and how things would end. In addition, the book comes across as well researched. There is just enough detail on procedures to make it a thoroughly believable police procedural without getting bogged down in irrelevant minutiae. I enjoyed the way that scenes are dramatised so you can visualise and imagine the characters in your mind. Isaac does this very effectively.
I hope that Lavery returns. I understand Isaac introduces a new detective in Before It’s Too Late. It is courageous to leave a successful character and is indicative of an author who is prepared to take risks and challenge herself. And I have to confess – I’ve already started the next one.
Vicky Newham © 2015