The Whole Truth - Cara Hunter

Reading Challenge Category: Re-read of series

Official Blurb:

An attractive student. An older professor.
Think you know the story? Think again. She has everything at stake; he has everything to lose. But one of them is lying, all the same.
When an Oxford student accuses one of the university's professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley's team think they've heard it all before. But they couldn't be more wrong.
Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.
Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don't realise is that someone is watching.
And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good...

My Thoughts:

Re-read review 2022:
So, when I read this for the first time last year, I was very disappointed. As I’m re-reading them, I wondered if I would feel differently. Especially as I have read the first four in quick succession, and I hoped being up to speed with the investigative team would make a difference. I purposely didn’t re-read my review before reading the book again, as I didn’t want to influence my mindset.
However, just 10% in, I started to remember why this wasn’t a great read compared to the first four. The investigation, for a start, is just really uninteresting. In book one, we have a missing child. Book two has a woman and child found in a basement. Book three a fire which has killed people, and book four young girls being dragged off the street, molested and killed. All gripping and disturbing storylines and the reason I pick up crime books. However, this one is a student accusing his supervisor of indecent behaviour and rape. Which turns into a ‘he said she said’ situation. Not gripping and very mild in comparison to what I’d gotten used to from this series. The book even starts off just concentrating on the detectives’ lives, them having picnics, meeting their girlfriend’s parents etc. It feels more like a drama than a crime novel. All this is just 10% in, and it is not holding my attention. With books 1-4, I picked them up whenever I had a spare moment to read, it’s been 24 hours since I started re-reading this, and I have no desire and no urge to find out what will happen next.
However, I will preserve as I have the next book in the series waiting for me to read, and I will update this review with how I feel at the end and see if that mirrors how I felt the first time around.
So having finished it for the second time, I feel a little better about the book as a whole, but I still agree with a lot of what I said in my first review. So I am going to address a few of the points I made:
1. ‘disjointed and slow’ - I definitely agree with myself that it was slow. It took me ages to get to about 50% when the book suddenly got interesting. I know what I mean by it being disjointed, as there were a few stories that didn’t seem to fit together, but this time around, it wasn’t as glaringly obvious, and I didn’t think it was a problem.
2. ‘initial crime not being thrilling’ - I agree with this, and when it is put on hold for the bigger Fawley story, you certainly do forget about it until it is pulled back for the conclusion. Not sure this gave anything to the book at all. I think the Fawley story would have been enough as this is what book four had been leading up to.
3. ‘podcasts being disconnected’ - I disagree this time around. I think having re-read the entire season certainly helped with this. This time I knew in detail what had happened rather than desperately trying to remember. So this helped this part of the story flow more.
4. ‘not enough Twitter feeds’ - yes, this was very lacking in this book. I think maybe as they were all centred around the uninteresting crime, there wasn’t really that much to say.
5. ‘ending rushed and not what we wanted’ - agree with this again. I wanted to find out what Fawley’s superiors had to say for themselves. I wanted to know what the fallout from all that was. Instead, we are given an epilogue to the crime I wasn’t really invested in. At that point, I didn’t really care who had been duplicitous.
The Fawley storyline as a whole had me hooked. I once again couldn’t remember how that was going to pan out. I didn’t think we got a conclusion in this book on that, but we do. That has been put to bed. I kept thinking that the new book coming out would follow that, but there is no more left to be said.
When I first started reading this, it was so dull compared to the first four. I actually downgraded my initial rating of three stars down to two. However, after finishing it, I will stick to the three. Had the initial crime been more gritty, this could have been a four (or even possibly a five) star read, especially with the climax to the Parrie drama (oh, and one thing that wound me up was his surname was spelt Parry in book four but Parrie in this one! I even went back and double-checked!)
So, I think the lesson to be learnt for me is when picking up a new book in a series, and it has been a while since reading; definitely re-read it as this helps the enjoyment factor. This is still the weakest book in the series but was much better the second time. I am really hoping book six gets back to what Hunter is good at, a terrifying crime that makes me question her sanity!

Original review 2021:
I have been really looking forward to reading this fifth book in Cara Hunter’s DI Fawley series. I received it a while back from NetGalley but needed to familiarise myself with the main players again before diving in.
However, I have found myself somewhat disappointed; it took me ages to get into the book as it just felt disjointed and slow. The beginning covers a myriad of characters but doesn’t seem to have enough of a hook to keep you interested. All of the other books in the series have had you on the edge of your seat from the beginning. This one felt like it was setting the stage for far too long. When we do finally have an investigation to delve into, it is far from thrilling. I am not diminishing the subject matter at all, please don’t get me wrong on this, but it all appeared to be based on not very much. For a crime novel, I want to be drawn in with the horror of crimes; this just wasn’t doing it. I want to be shocked, appalled and horrified by the gruesomeness the author has come up with but this just felt lethargic and lackadaisical. I wasn’t really interested in the investigation at all. I remember my husband contacting the author after one of the first books in the series, telling her she had a warped mind. This was certainly not evident in this storyline. Controversial maybe but not thrilling.
The main story is interspersed with snippets of a past crime that has been mentioned in the previous books that Fawley and his wife were involved with. We are given this in the form of a podcast looking into the background of the crime. This felt very disconnected from the main story and almost felt like I was reading two books simultaneously. This does become relevant as the story goes on, but at the same time, it made the other storyline even more redundant.
I usually enjoy the Twitter feeds, and news articles of Hunter’s books but the ones inserted into this story didn’t really bring much to the table. They just seemed to be there for the sake of it, and I don’t think there was enough of them. The unique take on a novel that Hunter deploys is there being no chapters. However, we just seemed to jump from character to character and had nothing of the usual tidbits to keep us interested.
The character development was overdone. There were whole sections just on the police team and their personal lives, but again this didn’t really lend much to the story.
To say I am gutted would be an understatement. The only reason I persevered with the book is due to so many rave reviews and a sort of loyalty to the author. However, if it hadn’t have been a ‘Cara Hunter’ book, I would have discarded it about 15% of the way in, and it would have been put on the DNF pile. However, she’s never done me wrong before, and so I persevered. Was it worth it?
It was worth it as the book really does pick up the pace at around the half-way mark. However, the book’s beginning had left a bad taste in my mouth, which hindered me from thoroughly enjoying the book’s conclusion and the book as a whole.
The ending isn’t a surprise; there was no real shock factor. The way the story had been set up ensured that the way it was going was very obvious. The initial investigation is almost forgotten about once another storyline takes over, but then is shoehorned back in to make sure we get all the answers. However, at that point, I didn’t really care about the outcome of that! The epilogue seemed pointless as it wasn’t really what we wanted extra on. As many have said the ending felt very rushed and I agree with this, the epilogue would have been better off serving the storyline that had been more prevalent throughout the book and giving us a little bit of closure from Fawley’s point of view.
The book does seem to be a lot better structured once the story itself starts to flow. The beginning was over descriptive like I say it was setting up the scenes for far too long. However, the end abandoned the over wordiness for the sake of moving the story on at a much quicker pace. The interviews and the podcast became more relevant. However, I would have still liked more Twitter feeds, news articles and comments than there were.
Overall, this was a very disappointing experience, and I am devastated as I’ve enjoyed all of the other books in the series and I’d really looked forward to this one. I’ve championed this author, and I am really upset that I haven’t enjoyed this as much as I’m sure she intended it to be. I’m going to have to think hard whether it is worth persevering with this series or whether this was just a filler book, leading to more exciting stories or not.

The Whole Truth
by Cara Hunter
Date Started
5th July 2022
Date Finished
10th July 2022