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It's fair to say that Peter James's writing career took a few twists and turns before he discovered his real sweet spot with the Roy Grace series of crime novels set in Brighton. The Truth which was actually first published in 1997 is one of those twists. It's an occult thriller based on the classic scenario of making a deal with the devil to get out of what seem like dire personal straits.
It actually includes some of the things I like about the best Grace books. There are deliciously twisted villains with views of reality that drive them in different ways to the rest of the world. This alternate reality is not left vague and enigmatic but carefully constructed in some depth. They are given true character in an excellent performance by Matt Addis who channels his inner Michael Caine to bring the villain Mr Kuntz to life.
The weakness in the book is the main character John Carter, I found it hard to sympathise with him given some of his actions and words but otherwise although possibly longer than it needed to be I found this a very entertaining listen. Parts of it do seem a little dated but it's a decent story at heart. There are some gruesome scenes which James excels at and a couple that will have most people squirming.
The acid test of course is that even though it's slightly longer than most thrillers the time seemed to pass fairly quickly to me. It's actually a relief in one way because while I love the Roy Grace novels when I've tried James's other work in the past I've come away unimpressed. This is better and in a way fascinating as it shows distinct signs of his genesis into the author of those Roy Grace novels.
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