Title: No Truth Left to Tell
Author: Michael McAuliffe
Publication Date: 3rd March 2020
Genre: Legal Thriller
The oak tree had long, thick branches, like the heavy arms of a giant. A braided rope was slung over one of these arms, out about ten feet from the trunk. The rope was wrapped once about the branch and secured to a large stake in the ground. The other end of the rope was fashioned into a noose, and suspended from it was a still body of a black man. The man’s neck was grotesquely angled, and the feet were bare. His hands were bound behind his back.
What an interesting and gripping legal thriller! I was hooked on to the story from page 1, no scratch that, paragraph 1, nope, line1 – Yes, that sounds about right.
The story starts with a young Nettie venturing out on her own. A woman points out at Nettie and says, “what’s she doing here.” Nettie is unaware of the fact that she’s ventured into the all-white area. Soon, the sky opens up and it starts to rain. Nettie walks near the oak tree where people were partying minutes ago. She sees a black man hanging from one of the branches. Her father whisks her away before she could react.
Years later, the KKK clan meet at their venue and plan on something sinister. Their targets include the Islamic center, a synagogue, the council for coloureds and a house in Lynwood. Nettie is now 80 and still lives in her parental home. She wakes up to the sound of fire-engines. She walks to her window and sees the tree in her yard on fire. No wait, the tree died years ago! Someone’s lit a cross in her porch and the roof is on fire. Nettie collapses before the fireman could break open her door.
The hate crimes in Lynwood is now under FBI jurisdiction. Special Agent Lee Mercer is handling the case. A young councilman from DC Adrien Rush is assigned to work with Mercer. Meanwhile, Nettie’s granddaughter Nicole DuBose arrives at Lynwood to take care of Nettie.
I do not mind repeating myself here – I was hooked on to the story. The tension and the suspense that Michael McAuliffe builds with each chapter is simply mind-blowing. I did not put down the book until the end. The story starts with a series of racial crime, then comes a twist – the clues are all there, something’s wrong with one of the witnesses (oh yes, one of the jurors turned out to be… well, it’s a suspense, I am not telling you.) and just when you think the story’s over and justice is served, there’s another twist.
Coming to the timeline – the story as a whole takes about three years. The conviction of the accused happens almost a year after the crime, then something else happens which changes Rush’s life.
The characters are very well portrayed – including the perp. Rush is a shy young man but when it comes to his job, there’s nobody who’s as dedicated as he is. Mercer is good too, I really liked his role – especially at the end of the story.
No truth Left to Tell is a well-researched and very well-written legal thriller. Kudos to the author for all the hard work he’s put in. I am going to be honest here and say I was shocked to know that this is McAuliffe’s debut novel. Are you kidding me? This mind-blowing, riveting page-turner is a debut?? I am certainly looking forward to reading more of McAuliffe’s books. I am in awe of McAuliffe’s storytelling! Simply magnificent!
Suspense and tension, an FBI angle, racial hatred and KKK, the judiciary system’s role in convicting perps and a tinge of romance make No truth Left to Tell a must-read legal thrillers of 2020. A highly recommended read from me.
Many thanks to Anna and FSB Associates for the ARC.