Tell Me the Truth by Matthew Farrell
6/22/21; 336 pages
Thomas & Mercer
Adler and Dwyer #2
Tell Me the Truth by Matthew Farrell is a highly recommended murder mystery featuring investigators Susan Adler and Liam Dwyer.
Noel Moore returns home at 2 AM from a business trip to find only
his 13 year-old son, Charlie, asleep in his bed. When he sees a light
out the window in the woods behind the house he goes outside to
investigate. What he finds is horrific. His wife, Mindy, is covered with
blood, holding a knife, and says their 18 year-old daughter, Jennifer,
is dead in the woods. After seeing Jennifer's dead body, stabbed, in the
woods, Noel immediately takes charge. He takes Mindy inside, cleans her
up, and cleans up the mess. Charlie, woken up by the commotion,
witnesses the bloody mess but is told to go back to bed. Finally, at 8
AM Noel calls 911 to report his daughter's murder. Mindy is catatonic
and Charlie is instructed to say he was asleep and saw nothing.
York State Police investigator Susan Adler and consultant partner Liam
Dwyer, a forensics specialist, are assigned the case to assist the local
authorities. Dwyer immediately feels that something is being left
unsaid or information is being hidden by the family. As the crime scene
is processed and more information uncovered, the story the family told
is increasingly suspect. The family is being protected from further
questioning by their high priced attorney, Charlotte Walsh. The whole
family is suspect, but there are also several other suspects that have
been uncovered along with an increasing number of secrets.
This is the second book with Adler and Dwyer, but it works fine as a
standalone novel. Enough of their history and backstory is explained to
easily follow their relationship. This is good, because you have a
handful of other characters which require closer observation and
consideration in this procedural. As the evidence points to falsehoods
being told and misdirection happening, almost everyone is a suspect as
they are all keeping secrets from each other as well as the
investigators. The characters are all believable as they are introduced
to the story.
Chapters alternate from the point-of-view of Adler, Dwyer, Noel, and Charlie. and also give a look into the personal life and burgeoning relationship between Adler and Dwyer. Honestly, while I appreciate a glimpse into the personal lives of the investigators, I like my professionals in procedurals to act like professionals and not develop a burning desire for each other, so I could have done without that story line. I will grudgingly admit that it acted as a pause between new suspects emerging and new information being exposed, but that could have been accomplished without the hidden desire. It detracts from the case, which is why I would be reading the novel.
Cudos must be given to Farrell for keeping the plot moving at a
steady pace and the intrigue high. The chapters are short which assists
in the steady pacing.
(Admittedly, I quickly read over the chapters featuring Adler's personal
life because they added nothing to the plot.) This is a novel that is
hard to predict the outcome because the investigation keeps uncovering
new suspects as well as new discoveries. This writing strategy works
well as it keeps your interest high and the pages turning. The ending
was a surprise for me.