Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Everything But The Truth – Gillian McAllister

Psychological Thriller
5*s

Everything But The Truth is a psychological thriller but not of the ilk that you might be expecting from the genre. This superb read is a quieter more thoughtful book with moral dilemmas at its heart rather than the fast paced action packed books that is now the norm for books marketed under this heading. That doesn’t mean this book isn’t gripping, far from it!

Rachel is pregnant, one that wasn’t planned, well there was hardly enough time for that in her new relationship with Jack, but the pregnancy isn’t a disaster, both are thrilled about the baby on the way and Rachel is delighted to have found ‘the one.’ Rachel works in a law firm as an administrator having left her job as a paediatric doctor while Jack is working as a journalist in Newcastle having moved for a temporary role from his hometown of Oban. All is going well although the couple have yet to move in together in readiness for the forthcoming baby.

Then late one night Jack’s iPad lights up and half-asleep Rachel reads the email sent which mentions an event that she knows nothing about. Rachel begins to wonder how well she knows Jack especially when the short reply he gives the next morning, isn’t wholly convincing.

The book then follows Rachel and Jack forward from this moment where Rachel is determined to find out the truth whatever the cost, but is she right to keep digging? And what is she going to do if she ever finds out? We also see what Rachel’s life was like before Jack, when she was working I the hospital, this strand takes a while before the relevance of this becomes clear, but all is revealed later Beyond that I can’t say anything about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else.

There is no doubt that Gillian McAllister knows how to weave a tale that is complex and has space built into the narrative that allows the reader to put themselves into the character’s shoes, and yes to make judgements on that tricky morality scale. All the characters are exceptionally well drawn, Rachel and Jack behave in ways that felt absolutely realistic, but so do the secondary characters who are varied and memorable in their own right. I often think that social situations are the hardest to transfer to the page, after all those family walks where in reality no-one says anything particularly scintillating are rarely found in books, but when Jack and Rachel went for a walk with Jack’s parents and brother, it was an evocative scene full of Scottish mist with convincing everyday ordinariness.

One of the strands of Everything But The Truth linked to a personal experience of mine which meant that this is one of those magical books that really ‘spoke to me’ . In this part I had predicted the outcome, but that made it no less devastating to read the words I didn’t want to see on the page. Yes, this book had me sobbing, but it also entertained me, made me think and painted a picture of a young couple that imprinted themselves onto my memory. I won’t forget this book in a long while it had that big an impact on me. There is so much packed into this book that I really do think that there are going to be few readers that are not drawn into some aspect of this clever, fresh-feeling addition to the genre.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book for review purposes from Penguin Books and this honest review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 9 March 2017
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 420
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

24 thoughts on “Everything But The Truth – Gillian McAllister

  1. I had seen this around but I wasn’t sure since I’ve read too many that seemed similar… but you’ve made me change my mind 😀

  2. I’m very glad you liked this one so well, Cleo. I keep hearing really good things about it, and it sounds as though it does raise those, ‘what would you do?’ sorts of questions. And now I’m curious about both of the main characters, always a plus in my book. Thanks, as ever, for the fine review.

  3. Oh, I’m so glad I ordered this one and it’s on the way to me. I read another review, on Margaret’s blog I think, and decided I must have it. I find it interesting that Rachel goes from being a doctor to a law firm administrator. I could make some guesses there, but will have to wait and see. Very nice review, Cleo!

  4. Oh, I love the sound of a “quieter more thoughtful book” that has mysteries and secrets, and probably some darkness. Moral dilemmas always intrigue me, so this one is going on my list. Thanks!

  5. Strong praise indeed. I sometimes think that the secondary characters are more intriguing than the primary as we only get glimpses of people who are clearly every bit as interesting as the main characters

  6. I was crushed when my request was denied but now I’ve bought it and I am dying to read it. I love it when secondary characters are just as well-crafted and realistic as the main ones, it offers a much richer story.

  7. I am so curious about that strand that connects with you. And I enjoy a slow building thriller just as much as an action packed one. You’ve really got me interested now.

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