Tell No Lies
Review: Psychologist Daniel Brasher works as a therapy leader for a group of ex-cons, those the court have determined deserve a second chance but make mandatory attendance to his group sessions as a condition of their parole. When one of the business cards Daniel had handed out to the group, and only to the group, turns up at a crime scene, he knows one of them must be the culprit in a series of brutal murders in Tell No Lies, a stand-alone thriller by Gregg Hurwitz.
Ironically, Daniel himself had been notified — if not quite intentionally — in advance of the killings from some misfiled mail in an office of the building in which he holds his sessions. Since the building is all but vacant — Daniel's group is one of the few that still meet there — he can only assume that someone from the group intended for the letters to be included in out-going mail and they were inadvertently placed in his in-box instead. He notifies the police, and while they are unable to prevent two of the murders from happening, missing one by just minutes, they are just in time for a third, when Daniel is confronted by the killer, who blinds him by snapping a flash camera in his face. But Daniel knows he's been identified, and it isn't long before the killer starts to consider him a loose end to be tied up.
Though well written and atmospheric in its own way, there isn't quite as much tension or suspense as one might expect given the sheer number of deadlines, close calls, and near misses in this novel. Indeed, the plot moves along so slowly at times that it's hard to stay fully engaged in what's happening. The premise is a solid one and the suspects are all flawed in unpredictable ways. And yet it doesn't come together as cleanly as it should. Part of the problem is that Daniel is the center of attention here and the police investigation revolves around him; even though he is an insider to the case, his direct involvement with what are clearly police matters stretches credibility. Even the ending is anti-climatic. Daniel figures it out, predictably, just in the nick of time and yet one has to wonder why he, or the police, couldn't have figured it out much sooner. This is, after all, essentially a locked room mystery with a small, finite number of suspects.
Acknowledgment: St. Martin's Press provided a copy of Tell No Lies for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Tell No Lies: San Francisco, California
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Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 2013
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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