Tuesday, January 16, 2007

True Faith - Alan Gold

True Faith
Alan Gold
Berkley Prime Crime


It was a stereotypical dark and stormy night, not all that unusual in Oregon, when Grace Geller, the rabbi’s wife, arrived home. While on the phone with Roberta, her adult daughter, she hears someone at the door. Telling her daughter that it’s “the bathroom guy,” meaning the guy who stopped by the week before to use the bathroom, she opens the door. This time, the bathroom guy has brought a friend with him. Her shocked daughter listens over the phone as the intruders bludgeon her mother to death. Grace’s son, Robbie, an EMT, responds to the call and must be restrained from entering the scene until most of the work is done. When he does enter, he finds his father coolly smoking a cigarette, something his mother would never have allowed in the house.

Cut to four years later. The two men who did the killing were arrested and convicted. Their story is that the rabbi hired them to kill his wife. When one of the two recants his confession, the case falls apart and ends up in a mistrial. Roberta harbors some serious doubts about her father’s innocence. She knows her parents were having problems, and she can’t shake the feeling that he did, in fact, hire the men who killed her mother. With no new trial on the horizon, Roberta turns to investigative reporter Lou Tedesco. Lou is known for digging until he has the truth, and what he finds out during the initial cursory back-check only fuels his curiosity.

The story, while fictionalized, is based on true events. As he did in his first book, TRUE CRIME (2/05) the author is careful not to sensationalize or trivialize the events or the effects on the family members. This time out, Lou is a more reluctant participant at the outset, but it doesn’t take long before his desire for the truth overrides his resistance. In fact, it’s easy to forget that this is based in truth, since it reads like the best kind of mystery/legal thriller. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested, and the pacing never flags. This novel surpasses the first, and is clearly the start of a great series.

Rating: 7 ½
January 2006
ISBN# 978-0-425-20856-4 (paperback)


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