A confident debut. Gillian McAllister is a talent to watch. 4/5.
Thank you to Penguin UK and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book.
The blurb: It all started with the email.
Rachel didn’t even mean to look. She loves Jack and she’s pregnant with their child. She trusts him.
But now she’s seen it, she can’t undo that moment. Or the chain of events it has set in motion.
Why has Jack been lying about his past? Just what exactly is he hiding? And doesn’t Rachel have a right to know the truth at any cost?
In her well-written debut, McAllister gives us a realistic portrayal of a romantic relationship tainted by secrets and suspicion. All the characters, even those who only appear for a few moments, are fully-fleshed out. The author also creates a pervasive atmosphere of doubt and distrust which gradually creeps into every corner of the story and has the reader questioning everything, turning the pages just as the main character trawls the internet, hoping to get to the elusive truth.
For me, reading this story wasn’t a nail-biting experience. Everything but the Truth is more a dark mystery, than a thriller. Readers coming to this book expecting some sort of roller-coaster with killer twists may be disappointed. Told in the past tense, the narrative voice comes to us from a remote and, we assume, safe place. This distance drains some of the immediacy and drama from the story which it would need to be a true thriller. Instead, domestic noir is a good label for this tale which, in addition to the mystery which initially hooks the reader, is an interesting exploration of guilt, regret and forgiveness.
Overall: more stealthy domestic drama than thriller, Everything but the Truth forces the reader to ponder how well we can truly know anyone, and especially those who are closest to us.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul