Penguin | 2021 (29 April) | 432p | Review copy | Buy the book
Marina Fisher is one of Oxford’s most celebrated professors, leading the way in AI research as well as being a popular teacher. DI Adam Fawley isn’t alone in being surprised when Caleb Morgan, a rugby-playing student, accuses the professor of sexual assault. Morgan’s mother is also a powerful and influential woman. This unusual case, which soon attracts the attention of the media, is not going to be an easy one for Fawley and his team. Fawley has other matters on his mind. The so-called Roadside Rapist, whom Fawley put away, is about to be released. It’s not easy to forget the threats made against Fawley at the time. His wife Alex is heavily pregnant and she, too, has good reason to be afraid.
This series, of which The Whole Truth is the fifth, has become one of the very best that I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read the others, it doesn’t really matter but you’ll want to after reading this. I still have the first two to read and I’m off out this afternoon to buy them!
There are lots of reasons why this is such a good series but one of them is its Oxford location. It’s my hometown and, while it’s often the location of thankfully fictional murder, this is the Oxford that I know and love. I recognise buildings, streets, the feel of the place. The University plays its part but so, too, does the rest of the city. One novel actually got very close to home! Cara Hunter knows Oxford inside out and she puts this fabulous city on the page.
I love the style of The Whole Truth. Like the other novels, it’s clever and engaging. A range of perspectives are used, including the first-person viewpoint of Adam Fawley who, at times, even seems to address us. But we also spend time with members of his team and his wife, Alex. All of them seem preoccupied with something and I like that, it’s how life is. Mixing with these are extracts from all kinds of things – tweets, newspaper reports, police interviews, texts. I love it! There are no chapters, everything pushes on with immediacy. It’s extremely difficult to put down, not just because it’s so good but also because there are no pauses.
The Whole Truth has an excellent and involved plot and much of it is character-driven. I found the character of Marina Fisher, and the insight into her world, fascinating. This could well be my favourite of the series. To put it simply, I think it’s utterly brilliant.