I normally publish a post about the latest brilliant crime thriller by my talented friend Cara Hunter when I’ve returned from the launch party.
But these (I write this in Sepember 2021) are not normal times. The Whole Truth, the fifth in her remarkable Oxford-set DI Fawley series, was released without a launch in January, and instead I was invited to the ‘not a book launch’ earlier this month.
More of that below, but first the book that wasn’t launched:
If you’re familiar with Cara’s work (and if not, why not?), you’ll know what to expect: the unexpected.
In this latest book, a university student accuses a professor of sexual assault. The police think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong: this time the accused is a middle-aged woman and shining star of the department, while the student is a physically strong male rugby player.
Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. And, while that plot twists and turns, there’s an equally puzzling – and even more shocking – storyline involving Fawley himself.
A topic of conversation over the fizz and canapés at the non-launch in Oxford was how she comes up with these plots and all the twists. What kind of mind does this woman have?
None of us had an answer (apart from ‘a brilliant one’), but there were many fascinating conversations among the friends and associates, who have helped with (or featured in) the books. And what an interesting bunch they were in the equally interesting surroundings of the 18th century Radcliffe Observatory at Green Templeton College.
I met lawyers, university academics and administrators, a tree surgeon, a yoga instructor, a musician – it was almost like the cast of an Agatha Christie novel.
And, while Cara would hate me mentioning her in the same breath as the world’s best selling novellist (and Torquay’s finest), Cara’s books have enjoyed fantastic success themselves, commercially and critically.
The first, Close to Home, was nominated for the Crime Book of the Year in the 2019 British Book Awards. Next came In The Dark, which narrowly remains my favourite so far, and then No Way Out [featuring a character named after me!] which was listed by the Sunday Times among the best 100 crime novels since 1945 [without being unduly modest, I don’t think the inclusion of PC Andy Weltch was a factor].
Number six in the series is due out in summer 2022, and I hope to report from the launch (or non-launch).
You can order The Whole Truth here.
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