Tomorrow I’ll be putting up a review of my year for 2015, running through my favourite books of the year, but I have one problem. One of the books I read was stunning, was thrilling, and I should have mentioned it … except I couldn’t, really. The damn thing wasn’t published last year!

Caroline Carver is a writer of modern thrillers who has been quiet for a while. This book will change that, with luck.

SPARE ME THE TRUTH starts out with a short, brutal scene. We don’t know the reason, but a case is stolen from a man and two women. A shot is fired, there is a death. The writing is stark and precise, and you just have to read on.

From there we move to a pleasant domestic environment, a couple with their daughter in a supermarket. Gradually the reader learns that the family has a secret. A son has died in a horrific accident. As the father moves around the shop, he becomes aware of a woman watching him. He wonders who she could be, and as he leaves the shop, he becomes anxious when she introduces herself to him and his daughter. He is shocked, alarmed, and complains about her harassing him, eventually calling the police. He doesn’t know her. In fact, he knows very few people, because he suffers from amnesia. But the police can do nothing after the woman shows them her ID. She drives away, but she has given him her number and asked him to call her.

from there we move on to develop the story from the point of view of the woman, and there is (was for me, anyway) a sharp turn in the story from being a simple imitation of a Ludlum/Bourne story to being a much more involving, character-driven tale of modern espionage and medical science being used to develop arms. I want to tell more of the story, but I’m terrified to give away too much of the plot. So instead, let me just say that this is as good as Bourne or Baldacci. In fact, it’s a great deal better than Bourne, in my opinion.

The great thing about this story is, Caroline has taken a number of disparate characters and has tied them seamlessly into a plot that at first doesn’t seem credible, but by the time you reach the last chapters, it all makes perfect sense. It is like a crime book in which the author has set up a chain of events that are too outrageous to be believed, but which, by a simple change of perspective in the last pages, the author makes perfectly credible or, rather, utterly convincing. This book manages that trick with simplicity and, I would say, with real skill.

I have a problem. Because I am a writer, I tend to find that my reading is hugely restricted. I find spare moments to read for pleasure, and they are invariably just as I am dozing off, exhausted. Sometimes a book grabs me so strongly that I cannot put it down and have to defer my own work as a result. This is one of those books.

In short, I loved it. It works as a crime novel, as a thriller, and as a warning of medical advances and how they could be used by unscrupulous men and women. It is also a novel with great heart at its core. The depiction of the family in the middle is nothing short of brilliant. Caroline Carver has created a wonderful story here, sort of Jason Bourne meets Silence of the Lambs. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series. There had better be a next book in the series!

Highly recommended.

3 Responses to “Review: SPARE ME THE TRUTH”
  1. Badlymademan says:

    Sounds like a good ‘un! Will certainly check it out.

    On the subject of Bourne, I have to remind myself that they were really written from the 1970’s on (I have all and more Ludlum in paperback), and as you will know the originals differ significantly from the films. Many modern authors have jumped on the Bourne “movie” bandwagon for obvious reasons, with most trying to write like a movie which, in my view, is just plain tiring for the reader and off-putting in the long run. Two hours at the cinema or on the telly is fine but 4-600 pages can feel like an “assault”! Movei script-writers are doing a totally different job.

    That Caroline Carver has impressed your good self, I can only take as a fine recommendation :-)

    (And politely suggest you write another modern tale your good self!! :-D )


    • Hi, and thanks for the comment. Caroline is a brilliant observer of people, but this book is startlingly good, I thought. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try. Meanwhile, yes, I’m finishing a new novel that is very much present day. With luck it’ll find a publisher soon!


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