Source: Audiobook review copy
Publication: 29 April 2021 from Penguin Audio
Narrators: Lee Ingleby, Emma Cunniffe and Roy McMillan
Listening time : 12 hours 22 minutes
My thanks to the publisher for an advance copy for review purposes
An attractive student. An older professor.
Think you know the story? Think again.
She has everything at stake; he has everything to lose. But one of them is lying, all the same.
When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department and the student a six-foot male rugby player.
Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.
And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good….
I’m a fan of this series and when the opportunity arose to listen to it on audiobook, I grabbed it. Readers of this series will know that Cara Hunter uses social media, e-mails, TV reports, newspaper headlines and reports to underline parts of her stories and I wasn’t sure how this would translate to the listening experience. I need not have worried. In fact this aspect works really well and helps to make it a really good listen.
I really enjoy this series. As with the best of all such series, it is the fact that you can connect with the characters, understand their vulnerabilities and enjoy the interactions with their teams that makes them feel like people you know. And in case you’ve forgotten any of them, Cara Hunter provides a very useful run down of the key characters at the beginning of this story.
As the book opens, Alex Fawley is heavily pregnant and somewhat uncomfortable as she awaits the imminent arrival of their baby. It’s a difficult time for them both, having lost a child – their ten year old son, Jake – in very sad circumstances a few years earlier. DI Adam Fawley is doing all he can to support his wife, but as it transpires, that’s not going to be easy because their past is about to rise up and bite them – hard.
But before that happens Alex has an unusual case to deal with. There’s been an accusation of sexual assault at Oxford University. This accusation is from a student against a Professor, and a high profile Professor at that. One who draws a great deal of business support towards her College. The complainant is a male student.
Caleb Morgan, is no wallflower. He’s a six foot well-built lad with a steady girlfriend and he is claiming that Professor Marina Fisher sexually assaulted him when she returned from a College dinner and he was in her home, babysitting her son. Morgan’s mother is an MP, so the team are faced with 2 high profile antagonists and they have to work out which one is telling the truth. It’s a beautifully presented case of ‘he said: she said’ and Cara Hunter does an amazing job of keeping the reader on edge not knowing who is the unreliable narrator as the evidence does not help them one iota. You really feel for DC Gareth Quinn, just demoted after getting involved with a suspect and now put in charge of this case in the absence, on holiday, of DS Chris Gislingham.
Then a friend of Alex Fawley’s is found murdered on the railway tracks; initially thought to be a suicide, she has been brutally raped. This happens just as Gavin Parrie, the Roadside Rapist is released from jail on licence. Alex Fawley has been listening secretly to the true crime podcast, The Whole Truth, which campaigns on miscarriages of justice. The Whole Truth is supporting Parrie’s claim that he is innocent, and is examining all aspects of the case in the podcast.
Suddenly, Adam’s life goes into meltdown. Not only is Alex about to give birth at a difficult age (she’s 44), but now evidence has been uncovered that seems to suggest Adam could be implicated in the young woman’s murder.
Cara Hunter really does flesh out all her characters very well and as a result you feel invested in them and their welfare. She really does highlight the interdependency of the team and I enjoy getting to know them, their partners and learning about their lives inside and out the police station.
In this book, we know at least who Adam can rely on, and that’s clearly not everyone involved in investigating the murder. As things start to look very bleak indeed, Adam believed he’s being set up, but with no way of proving it, the tension is mounting as things start to get very heated.
The Whole Truth intertwines these two main storylines really well; keeping our interest and at the same time challenging stereotypes and making us uncertain of who to believe. It’s brilliantly executed, nicely twisty and keeps the reader on the hook all the way through.
Verdict: This is a great addition to the series. Hunter does a terrific job in raising interesting and intelligent topical questions that really make you think in the context of a twisty and often surprising storyline that is pacy and holds the attention in a vice-like grip. The narration is excellent and very clear. Highly recommended.
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Cara Hunter is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling crime novels Close to Home, In the Dark, No Way Out and All the Rage, all featuring DI Adam Fawley and his Oxford-based police team. Close to Home was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and was shortlisted for Crime Book of the Year in the British Book Awards 2019. No Way Out was selected by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 best crime novels since 1945. Cara’s novels have sold more than a million copies worldwide, and the TV rights to the series have now been acquired by the Fremantle group. She lives in Oxford, on a street not unlike those featured in her books.