Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FINAL TRUTH by Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Ballantine
Date published: February 2007
ISBN: 978-0345483843
Historical Fiction, paranormal
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by publisher

Still frustrated that Dolly Brown won’t talk to her about the mysterious Eddie Kroll’s history, Regan Landry makes one more attempt to engage the woman. Rather than finding Dolly at home Regan is greeted by an empty house. Instead of packing up and leaving she seeks out Dolly’s sister-in-law, Stella. For some reason Regan finds comfort and peace just talking with Stella. Before she can delve deeper into the mystery of a lone report card in the midst of her father’s possessions, she hears an intriguing story. It seems the owner of a DNA lab had falsified records, provided tainted evidence and lied under oath. One by one the criminals put away because of the DNA results, are released. Lester Ray Barnes is days away from the end of his days on death row. When Regan hears Lester Ray’s story she thinks she may have the makings of her latest true crime novel. With FBI boyfriend Mitch by her side she begins to research Lester Ray’s case. Before Regan gets too far, however, women are killed in the same manner as a woman by Lester Ray’s hand. Regan doesn’t want to believe the bumbling young man could be behind the heinous killings, but each one dies not far from his various locations. When Lester Ray and his attorney both go missing, Regan’s story takes a number of heart stopping turns. Will Mitch track down Lester Ray before Regan becomes his next victim?

Mariah Stewart takes readers to a whole new level in FINAL TRUTH, the fourth installment of her TRUTH series. Somewhere between the first three books in this series and FINAL TRUTH not only has Mitch and Regan’s relationship moved to more intimate, but Ms. Stewart delves into a harder story line and more colorful language. Her characters cut loose in an incredibly welcome way. I figured out early on what was behind Lester Ray’s killings. I suspected the truth behind the lone report card introduced in COLD TRUTH when it first came up, but I believe that has come from reading each of Ms. Stewart’s books from her first through this series. There are comfortable patterns and threads she weaves into each book and there is a feeling of sitting down to hear a close friend’s latest adventure. I liked the development and changes in Dolly and Stella, the two elderly women Regan visits throughout the series. The culmination of her relationship with them is well done.

FINAL TRUTH is perhaps Ms. Stewart’s best work to date.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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