The Whole Truth – Book Review


Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“You know what they say – best way to get away with a lie? Wrap it up in a whole lot of truth.”

This book has to be one of my favourites of the year so far, there’s no doubt about it! I am completely in love with everything The Whole Truth has to offer its readers, and as a newbie to this series, it’s certainly made me want to read every other book by this author. It’s just the perfect book in my eyes! I’m beyond honoured to be a part of the blog tour for this absolute whirlwind of a book – make sure you check out all the other reviews from these amazing book bloggers!

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…

The beginning

Knowing this book was the fifth in a series, I did have my doubts about how quickly I’d get into it (or even if I would at all!) Thankfully, I was fully invested within the first few pages which was a lovely surprise! We’re introduced to each main character gently, but in a way that helps you to get know the sort of people they are on the job and off, regardless of whether or not you’ve followed this series previously. It felt very easy to get to know these important characters and I instantly felt a part of the action. It wasn’t long before one single phone call requesting the presence of DI Adam Fawley really did pique my interest; let the mystery begin! An incident involving an Oxford student and one of the university’s professors gets the detectives thinking, but when we learn of the details, we know this case is going to be a hard one to crack. I’m a sucker for a dark, intense mystery to solve and it looked like I’d get everything I wanted in this book! Such a great start by the author, with a fantastic tone to easily get lost in.

I think I was as shocked as the next person as we learn it was a male student allegedly assaulted by a female professor. Isn’t it worrying just how much we assume the details of a situation before learning and understanding the facts? I’m so glad the author took this route as it really does make way for an unpredictable plot that was far from anything we come across in many other books of this nature. As well as this sexual assault and getting to know the characters involved here, we also learn more about another character, Gavin Parrie. I wasn’t sure if this guy showed up in a previous book, but it seemed like he was known by many characters already, expecially DI Adam Fawley’s wife, Alex. It seemed as though she’d been affected by him before, and the thought of him coming anywhere near was particularly terrifying for her. This guy had originally been serving a life sentence for crimes against women he claimed he didn’t commit, and now that he’d been released, I suddenly felt nervous about his role in this book!

“There’s something about that night Caleb Morgan doesn’t want to admit either. To me, to his girlfriend, perhaps even to himself. I just have to find out what it is.”

I love how the book places focus on not just the text in each section, but exactly how this text is presented to the reader. We see text messages, podcast scripts, newspaper articles as well as police investigative reports that completely transform the reading experience! Interrogation scenes are written flawlessly, and an interview with Caleb, the ‘victim’ in all of this, made it impossible to stop reading; the book soon became incredibly addictive. From the start, the reader is brought into the depths of the story and really made to feel a part of everything that’s going on. It’s definitely one of the most involving books I’ve read! As the suspect, Marina, denies hurting or assaulting Caleb in any way, it left me wondering who was being truthful and who was spinning a lie. It’s clear there is much more to be uncovered about this case, and there was no way a reader could predict exactly what was in store. I really loved DC Verity Everett – her approach to the case and overall attitude was so refreshing.

I loved hearing from the perspective of a range of different characters, from the detectives in the investigation, to the suspect and her lawyer, and even those who aren’t even personally involved in the case, such as DI Adam Fawley’s wife. Each and every character has their own unique personality and brings so much to the storyline to keep it as interesting and as entertaining as possible. I also liked how we’re not just forced to focus on the main case; there was all sorts of mystery going on in the background that I just couldn’t get enough of! Ev’s first meeting with Caleb’s girlfriend, Freya, really made me think, and again, I felt there was something this character wasn’t telling us, especially after we see a back and forth screenshot of suspicious text messages. It seemed things were about to get a whole lot juicier! The beginning of this book was absolutely astonishing and I was already completely gripped – I don’t think this book will ever leave my head! I couldn’t wait to see what the detectives uncovered next.

The middle

As we learn more about Marina’s life and backstory, the layers just continue to add up and I loved how deep we got into her story. The author has completely amazed me with how detailed everything is, but also how perfectly constructed the whole plot is. It’s just beautifully and flawlessly written! As the information keeps coming about these characters, the author has included Tweets from members of the public who had heard about the Caleb/Marina case, sharing their thoughts and opinions about the direction of the investigation as it develops. This made the book seem so very real, and I sometimes had to keep reminding myself that this book was a work of fiction! Alex Fawley soon became a character I was obsessed with; her past, present and future intrigued me no end, and the author had done a fantastic job of keeping readers guessing about her story. What had she done? And why was so so worried about Gavin Parrie? My dedication to this book was already well and truly off the scale!

I always had the feeling I wanted to know more about every part of the story, but I was also loving the whole mysterious feel all the way through. I thought the balance was absolutely spot on. News of a new brutal murder is uncovered and the detectives are really pushed to their limits. Could these two investigations be linked? Did this murder have anything to do with Gavin Parrie? Every scene I read became even more thrilling than the last, and I found myself eagerly wanting the team to solve each case and bring peace of mind to the whole cast of characters. I loved how everyone seemed to work together across the board, almost like this team was one big family. Finding out that crucial piece of information about Alex and why she seemed so afraid of Gavin made way for such powerful reading, and so much slotted into place. I felt such a strange need to protect this character – I just hoped Adam would understand and not be too preoccupied with his case to not notice how much his wife needed him.

“And what if they aren’t just digging about in the past? What if they’ve actually found something? What if they know what she did? What then?

The amount of times I was completely STUNNED by a character’s actions or how a section of the book ended were just too many to count. Those cliffhangers!! There was one one moment in the book where we hear one character address the reader directly, telling us that “nothing happened” when he paid another character a visit. I was taken aback by how direct this was, and my trust for this character developed a few cracks. Was this character hiding something, not just from the other Detectives and his wife, but also from the reader too? Or was it a red herring?! I didn’t know what to think! Once again, there were so many specific details that made this book so unique and a memorable, immersive experience. This author will certainly stick in my head for this reason alone! When a character we’ve grown close to is arrested for murder, I knew we’d start to learn some details that would be so significant to the case. With so much going on, it became impossible to take a break from this book!

I loved how as the story picked up pace between the two different cases, the snippets of text flicked between each of them, sometimes in quick succession, which felt very intense! My opinions of different characters continued to change, and the one significant character I had doubts about before seemed to redeem himself in a way. Interrogation scenes are once again written to perfection, allowing a reader to make up their own minds about the truth and the accused, but there was one particular podcast episode that just blew me away completely. Things were slotting into place and as I understood what was potentially going on here, the excitement was almost too much to take! The author had crafted this plot flawlessly and I was dying to see how the book ended. Would we see one character being framed for murder because of something similar that happened in the past? It’s taking all my willpower to not ruin this book for anyone else wanting to read, but all I will say is you will NOT be disappointed.

The end

The tables quickly turn in the Caleb/Marina case, so much so that we’re once again left wondering who is telling the truth and how this ‘sexual assault’ took place. Who was to blame here?! The author has the exceptional skill of effortlessly making a reader think in a certain way, and in all honesty, I can’t explain this in a way I will do it justice! She twists and shapes our thoughts as if we’re puppets on a string (in the best way) and I LOVED the experience this created. Not only was this part of the story just as gripping as everything I’d read so far, but it really does enhance the importance of finding out the truth, not only for the safety of others, but also for the sanity of certain characters. Emotion is brought into the picture delicately, but that’s all we need to see the impact false allegations can have on a person’s life. There were many characters that impressed me at this point in the book, and I could really feel the determination to solve these cases. That’s if the detectives even could! Things were just impossible to predict here.

A brand new character is added to the mix which really did change things in the sexual assault case involving Caleb and Marina! My views seemed to be going back and forth a lot, and each time they did so, I was even more shocked. Things aren’t looking good in Marina’s corner, but that question still remained in the back of my mind; just who was telling the truth?! Could Marina and her young son be working together in such a shocking way, or are these yet more lies? I could tell things were heating up here and the pace was quickening with each section we read, and I wanted more than anything for the right people to be sent down. There was yet another podcast script we read about Gavin Parrie, and after the previous one ended on such a big cliffhanger, this was a highly anticipated part of the book for me. Was Alex in any immediate danger? Would all her fears and nightmares about Gavin come true? We were so close to those final few scenes, and I knew the author would end the book in a show-stopping way.

“There’s a look on her face that’s hard to read. But it’s not fear. Not this time.”

Multiple scenes play out at the same time which I thought was such an effective way for the ending of the book to go, portraying a sense of urgency to get to the bottom of all this before someone else gets hurt. This was so effective and succeeded in making me read faster! Once again, Ev’s character shines through as another arrest is made, and we finally make our way through the information, coming to solid conclusions that were so deeply satisfying to read. The author has delivered all this seamlessly, from the very beginning right to these intense final interrogations. However, with one sexual assault case coming to a close, there was another investigation that I was dying to hear more about… I felt there was more danger to come, and wasn’t 100% certain how DI Fawley would navigate this one.

We finally find out what happened to one particular victim on the night of 9th July, and I was shook! And even more so when we learn of who was behind the whole thing. I loved how the author chose to reveal all this information, from the dangerous and shocking, all the way to the birth of Adam and Alex’s child. I got a little teary and I’m not afraid to admit it! I am so pleasantly surprised with just how attached to this bunch of Detectives I became, even when joining this series late on. Without giving the ending away, all I will say is that if you’re a fan of a good crime/thriller, this is sure to become your new favourite series! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to anyone – a truly gripping and unforgettable novel.

Overall thoughts

Well, one thing is for sure upon ending this book – this author has just gained one more dedicated fan! This book is one of the most impressive detective thrillers you’ll ever come across. It’s clear this author doesn’t just focus on perfecting the story, but also the overall experience for a reader. It’s full of sneaky twists, perfectly developed characters, and is so involving that I had to remind myself that these cases weren’t real life news stories. I am so eager to read the rest of this series after thoroughly enjoying The Whole Truth, and I can’t wait to catch up with these characters again! It sounds cliché, but I genuinely could not put this book down. Absolutely phenomenal!

A huge thank you to the author, Cara Hunter, and Viking Books UK/Penguin Books UK for my copy of this book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of The Whole Truth now, available at your favourite bookseller! Make sure you’re following the author over on Twitter and Instagram for more updates.

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