09 June 2014

Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock

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When truth doesn't make sense, will lies prevail?

Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on high-profile homicides. When she finds a threatening note warning her that she's about to experience the same kind of judgment and speculation that she dishes out in her blog, Cathy writes it off as mischief… until her brother's wife is murdered and all the 'facts' point to him. The killer has staged the crime to make the truth too far-fetched to believe. Working to solve the murder and clear her brother's name, Cathy and her two sisters, Holly and Juliet, moonlight as part-time private investigators. Juliet, a stay-at-home mom of two boys, and Holly, a scattered ne'er-do-well who drives a taxi, put aside their fear to hunt down the real killer.

Stakes rise when their brother's grieving five-year-old son is kidnapped. As police focus on the wrong set of clues, the three sisters and their battered detective friend are the only hope for solving this bizarre crime, saving the child, and freeing their brother.

Terri Blackstock’s Truth Stained Lies opens with intrigue and suspense. Immediately, the plot pulled me in, leaving me eagerly wondering how the sisters would ever clear their brother’s name. It seemed such a daunting conundrum. However, as the plot continues from there, I found my hooked interest waning bit by bit for a couple reasons – primarily because, throughout the novel, Blackstock uses six different characters to tell the story. To me, this felt overloaded at times, and with each transfer of perspective, it became a bit more of a challenge to continually and truly connect with the characters. Additionally, Blackstock introduces the culprit, as well as most of the motive, relatively early within the plot, so from there, much of the suspense seems to dissipate, in my opinion, as the novel neatly wraps up.

Yet, even though Truth Stained Lies did not keep me as riveted as I expected, I still did enjoy reading it. As a whole, the novel is interesting, as Blackstock offers more than just crime and mystery in her fiction, sneaking in a bit of romance and reflective spiritual discussions. It is a fun, light, well-rounded read, and I plan to check out more from Terri Blackstock, when I have the chance. Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley, I received a free digital copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. 

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