Spare Me the Truth, C.J. Carver

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Australian readers will probably remember C.J. Carver as Caroline Carver - writer of a series of Australian set books <cough> years ago. Recently, she's returned to notice writing under the name C.J. Carver - with a series of thrillers built around Dan Forrester, recently bereaved father, spy, sufferer of amnesia.

There are now three novels out in the series - all of which have been recent entries in the Ngaio Marsh Awards. The opening novel, SPARE ME THE TRUTH, introduces Forrester, and the background to the death of his young son; Grace Reavey, accosted at her mother's funeral with a demand for money; and ex-cop Lucy Davies. How all these people's stories interact is the point of the novels, with a complicated storyline that pulls together everyone's loss, past and present in a conspiracy that will test them individually and as newly formed colleagues, friends, combatants. Your guess.

There is much fodder for Carver to work with here. Forrester as the "main" focus is a man who is struggling to rebuild his life after a family tragedy that scrambled his memory and blacked out huge parts of his past. An unusual encounter leads to a mystery, that leads to a multi-threaded conspiracy, each of the main characters in the novel being drawn together, entangled in their own part of the puzzle.

Strong pacing, and populated with good characters, SPARE ME THE TRUTH is perfect summer thriller fodder, and the good thing is for readers who really like Dan Forrester there's two more novels out now (TELL ME A LIE and KNOW ME NOW).

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Dan Forrester, piecing his life back together after the tragic death of his son, is approached in a supermarket by a woman who tells him everything he remembers about his life - and his son - is a lie.

Grace Reavey, stricken by grief, is accosted at her mother's funeral. The threat is simple: pay the staggering sum her mother allegedly owed, or lose everything.

Lucy Davies has been forced from the Met by her own maverick behaviour. Desperate to prove herself in her new rural post, she's on the hunt for a killer - but this is no small town criminal.

Plunged into a conspiracy that will test each of them to their limits, these three strangers are brought together in their hunt for the truth, whatever it costs. And as their respective investigations become further and further entwined, it becomes clear that at the centre of this tangled web is a threat more explosive than any of them could have imagined.

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Karen Chisholm
Friday, December 14, 2018
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