Saturday, December 2, 2017

Spare me the truth by C.J. Carver

There's nothing particularly memorable about Dan Forrester, and after watching his son die before his eyes there are parts of his life even he can't remember anymore.  The gaps in his memory aren't really a problem though - he still remembers his wife and their little girl, but the son and brother they once had is forgotten and found only in photographs.  Dan is content with his life, his job as an advanced driving instructor lets him work flexible hours and have some fun, but his carefully structured and settled world is abruptly upended when a woman walks up to him and asks him to come back to his old job - a job he simply can't remember. 

Stella Reavey is used to keeping secrets - she has kept her daughter in the dark about what she really does for a living, and she has managed to keep secrets from her work colleagues too.  When a mission goes wrong, she has no choice but to try and convince Dan to return to the life he once lived, but how do you convince a man you are telling the truth when he doesn't have any memories for you to draw on as proof?  Turning to her daughter Grace is an option, but a GP is a jack-of-all-trades and not a memory specialist.  When Stella dies suddenly Grace is thrust into a world of secrets and lies as she tries to unravel a tangled knot of secrets and coded messages that might have made sense if her mother had had the time to pass on everything she needed to know.

Lucy Davies is energetic and highly motivated, character traits that you would think would be essential for a police officer in one of the most well known police forces in the world - but when she falls foul of her superiors she is forced out of the London Met and forced to make a new start in a smaller less exciting police district.  At least, it was supposed to be smaller and less exciting, and it was until Lucy stumbled across a kidnapping victim who is still alive.  It seems like the perfect case to get her back into her old job at the Met, but first she has to prove herself and help solve the case.  Driven to prove herself, Lucy is also hiding a secret from her colleagues - it appears that the victims have a connection, they are all taking a drug that Lucy herself was taking, and if anyone finds out why she could be off the force for good.  Balancing solving the case with keeping her secret will be a challenge, but there are lives at stake and Lucy will have some tough decisions to make.

Spare me the truth is one of those rare novels that takes different stories and blends them together into a seamless whole before separating them again smoothly and without interruption.  There are few authors who can create stories where you care about the individual characters and hear their stories so clearly, even when the different characters come together into the same space at the same time.  I loved the way we discovered more about the characters, and that they became more rounded as the story moved on - and Carver managed to create characters that feel "right" and familiar, without drifting too far into the cliché. 

I picked this book up from a recommended reads newsletter from my local library, and once it was finished I was a little disappointed because I wanted more - only to discover there is a second book and a third on the way.  Hopefully I can get my hands on book two before Christmas so I have another amazing read to enjoy on the stat holidays!  Carver has managed to create an addictive read that has characters you care about and that would translate very well to the big or small screen.  There is a lot to like here, and nothing that I didn't like which is a rare thing these days.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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