My amazing friend Rocky sent me Where the Truth Lies almost two years ago, with a note indicating he'd read this book a couple of times, thought I would enjoy it, and encouraged me to give it a read.
It's not that I don't trust his judgment. Rocky knows me pretty well - better than most, I'd venture - but for some reason the cover didn't entice me, the story blurb on the back didn't grab me, and the rest of my TBR pile was filled with paranormal romance or Nora Roberts, the "safe" reads I'd come to lean on when time was of the essence.
I should have listened to Rocky.
Where the Truth Lies is one of the most compelling books I have ever read, and O'Connor, an up-and-coming journalist tasked with writing a tell-all book about a handsome showbiz team, is likely the most memorable protagonist I'll ever meet.
This isn't a complex plot. In fact, as Rocky and I discussed just last night, the story threads are pretty lightweight - an unexplained death, two potential killers, an interesting love triangle, and a sexy romp through show biz in the 70s.
On the other hand, the characters are anything but simple.
In O'Connor, author Rupert Hughes, has portrayed a tart, gutsy protagonist who will do just about anything to get her story. Not that I approve of everything she does - as a former Journalist, I was shocked, and sometimes disgusted, by how deeply O'Connor is compromised. But this is fiction, and O'Connor's moral code doesn't have to mirror my own.
Similarly, singer Vince Collins and comic Lanny Martin, are living the high life - on the edge. Holmes doesn't pull any punches with dialogue, scene description, even general attitude. I blinked in shock more than a few times at the sheer guts of some of the words.
But I kept reading. I read past the discomfort. I pushed through the saggy taffy middle (albeit small). I swallowed any debate about "broken" writing craft rules. Why?
Quite simply, Rupert Hughes IS the master of voice. I'll never question its importance again. I might even actually "get it" now - because O'Connor's is so distinct, so deliciously sassy and real, that I was utterly seduced from the very first page.