Title // The Truth
Author // Jeffry W. Johnston
Pages // 240 pages
Publisher // Sourcebooks FIRE
Series // None
Release Date // February 2016
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Nothing but the truth will get him killed…
When Chris wakes up in a dark basement tied to a chair, he knows that he’s trapped – and why. Eight nights ago a burglar broke into Chris’ home. Eight nights ago Chris did what he had to do to protect his family. And eight nights ago a thirteen-year-old runaway bled to death on his kitchen floor.
Now Derek wants the truth about what happened that night. He wants proof his little brother didn’t deserve to die. For every lie Chris tells, he will lose a finger. But telling the truth is far more dangerous…
The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston is captivating, exciting and thrilling. The story begins with Chris waking up in a dark room. He is being threatened with a pair of garden shears, something that are seriously dangerous, if he does not tell the truth. The story is a winner, hooking you instantly. The novel will leave you hanging till the very end, when the real truth is told. Bravo, Jeffry W. Johnston.
“One finger for each lie,” he says. “Do you understand.”
Immediately from the get go, the story is gripping. There are a hundred and one questions that begin to form. What happened to Rita? What happened to Chris? Where is Chris? Who is Chris? Who is Derek? How does Chris know Derek? Why is Derek wielding garden shears for gods sakes?! And these questions are formed in the first minute and a half! Jeffry W. Johnston is a very clever man for this story plot and for the way he wrote the book. Mystery has never been so perfect, and it fits hands-in-hand with the thriller side of the truth about what happened (no spoilers here people) and what’s going to happen from now on.
She continues to stare at me. Mom’s not one to just let things go. I wait for her to push. But, surprisingly, she just nods. Leans in. “Then you did the right thing.”
The format of The Truth is another way that gets the reader. Just as you are given more and more distorted fragments if the story, it fades into present day: where Chris is tied to a chair and Derek is threatening him. The frustration I felt from this was unreal, but the rush it also provided was worth-while. The book allows you time to let the facts set in, so you can make you own mind up about whether what happened was right or wrong. Imagine Jeffry W. Johnston holding a carrot and you a tiny (fluffy) and hungry bunny. Each time you come close to snatching that carrot (metaphorically, the story plot), Mr Johnston pulls it away, leaving you to continue to chase after it until you finally reach the end.
Devon was seven when our father was killed. When Mom told him, I was right there, trying my best to keep the tears back and stay brave for him. The look of utter heartbreak on his face as he cried in my mother’s arms broke my heart. If I’d had any doubts before, from that moment on, I knew it was my job to be there for him. No matter what.
Chris is a character that has depth. He makes bad decisions and openly acknowledges them. Something I realised when reading the book is that Chris is someone who has looking for acceptance from a man he admired. While you have anger towards him for his mistakes, you admire him for the fact that he understands he is flawed. You understand why he did what he did, and his protection and devotion to his younger brother, Devon, proves him to be an unlikely hero in the story.
This is the best I can do for now. But at least this time, I won’t be doing it for my father. I’ll be doing it for Devon.
Murder, lies and revenge. That’s what this book has in store for you. However, Jeffry W. Johnston (the old dog) pulls the rug out from under you with a truly earth shattering ending. Everything you though you knew goes flying out the window. A seriously great read and a must-read for anyone and everyone – old or young. Welcome to the 5 snowflakes group, Johnston!
Still unsure on whether this book is the one for you? Have a look at what other bloggers have to say.
Kirkus Reviews says “A crackerjack idea hobbled by weak characters and the author’s heavy hand.”
Little Miss Trainwreck says “A stunning read that must be experienced.”
About Jeffry W. Johnston
Jeffry W. Johnston has published about thirty-five short stories and more than two hundred articles. His first young adult novel, Fragments, was an Edgar Award nominee for Best Young Adult Mystery and a Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers selection by YALSA. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and their teenage son. You can follow him on Twitter @jeffrywjohnston, and visit him online at www.jeffrywjohnston.com