Author: Gregg Hurwitz

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-62552-8

Gregg Hurwitz’s latest book, Tell No Lies, is a good read, but maybe not for the main story. The murders and resultant investigations seem a bit contrived. For that reason, it is initially a book that could be set aside, but the reader who presses on through the dubious parts will be rewarded with a better side story.

Daniel Brasher’s involvement with the unfolding murder mystery happens early on, but seems implausible and too convenient. His work with the police rings false, as he could just as easily have been a suspect rather than someone who could point to the killer. It’s not until three murders have been committed that anyone connects the dots as to why he’s been included in the killer’s machinations and why he himself has become a target. Likewise, the inclusion of a detour with the figure of Brasher’s mother seems to add very little impact in moving the story along.

However, Hurwitz shines in his rendering of the psychological insights of the group Brasher leads in his role as a rehabilitation counselor.

It’s in the therapy sessions with paroled felons that the characters and their stories tend to unfold realistically. We are privy to raw emotion and street tales from a mixed bag of characters. Although he intends to leave this pro bono work for private practice, protagonist Brasher is devoted to his charges. He connects with them, and they with each other, not as patients or criminals, but as people. It wouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that Hurwitz had practiced or studied psychology in order to write so thoughtfully about people undergoing group therapy.

It’s here that we meet angry individuals, living on the fringes, who are trying to come to terms with where they are after being released from prison. Their conversations have the ring of truth, and what they reveal about themselves and their circumstances sounds authentic.

That’s not to say that the book lacks suspense or plot twists. Those elements are present, but only after the author convinces the reader that a person with no police backing or training would try to thwart murders all by himself. The latter part of the book has all the expected thrills, with an upbeat ending and satisfying resolutions.

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