Friday, May 18, 2012

Only the Truth

When Billy Ray happens upon a befuddled little waif with a red suitcase standing by the railroad tracks, he approaches her. The girl’s name is Charlene and she asks Billy Ray if she can go home with him. He picks up her suitcase, takes her hand, and they walk the three miles down Makin Road to Billy Ray’s house.

Except for Big Dog, Billy Ray has no family. He’s lived his entire life in the same house on Makin road. Billy Ray’s daddy died before he was born and his momma shortly after. His aunty moved into their house and raised him but she passed on when Billy Ray was only fourteen years old, leaving him to fend for himself. Charlene fits right into Billy Ray’s uncomplicated lifestyle. They settle into a routine, unencumbered by past deeds or future longings—a life lived entirely in the present and bound by simple pleasures. But when an old man moves into the house across the street, the past rears its ugly head and life is forever changed. After the old man dies, Billy Ray must confront Charlene’s past and solve a mystery to save her life. The literary whodunit that follows draws the reader into a series of plot twists and turns that lead to a stunning end.

I like Pat Brown’s nonfiction, especially The Profiler: My Life Hunting Psychopaths and Serial Killers, one of the best memoirs I've read in a long time. I was curious if her novel could stand up to it, and it did. Only the Truth, written in a similar spirit as John Grisham’s The Painted House, is a memorable read guaranteed to hold the reader’s attention from the first page to the last. It is a simple, honest story of unconditional love and loyalty. Billy Ray and Charlene have no preconceived expectations, no desires beyond their life together, and they share a mutual adoration cloaked in naïveté. Their small town of Whitfield Glen could be any “Smallville,” U.S.A., plucked out of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesberg, Ohio, or the small Mississippi towns of Eudora Welty. Brown’s characters have a depth and richness that are increasingly absent in contemporary fiction and she weaves a compelling mystery into the fabric of Billy Ray’s and Charlene’s relationship.

Pat Brown is nationally known for her work as a criminal profiler. She is the CEO of The Sexual Homicide Exchange and president of The Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency. Her latest book, 
How to Save Your Daughter's Life: Straight Talk for Parents from America's Top Criminal Profiler will be out in August.

Only the Truth is available as an e-book from Amazon. 

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