Cara Hunter’s thrillers featuring DI Adam Fawley of the Oxford Police are hugely popular, and this is one of her best, the story of two crimes, both involving sexual assault and revenge. The book begins with a topical take on an ambiguous rape case: an eminent University Professor is accused of sexually assaulting a student. The twist is that the Professor is a glamorous woman and her accuser a strapping 6ft tall male rugby player. This develops into an exceptionally delicate and complicated case, as the University fights off the Press. Meanwhile Adam Fawley is drawn back into an old case. The “Roadside Rapist”, a brutal serial killer, is released from prison after an 18 year sentence, claiming Fawley framed him. He wants to clear his name – and Fawley finds he’ll stop at nothing to prove his innocence.
This is a very clever thriller, weaving different aspects of rape accusations, one a “he said, she said” case almost impossible to prove, the other a race against time to stop a brutal serial rapist and killer striking again, into a deft well-handled story. Adam Fawley, Hunter’s much-loved hero, is a sympathetic character whose only child tragically took his own life. Now his wife is pregnant again, and they are on the verge of renewed happiness, when the Roadside Rapist rears his ugly head and threatens Fawley’s reputation and the end of his career. An original touch is that the released criminal persuades the presenter of a popular true- crime podcast to take up his cause, and Hunter uses transcripts of the programme, together with press reports, text messages and Twitter to tell her story. The Whole Truth is a modern, fast and twisty thriller, a really great read.