If you already follow the Beauty Brite Blog you may have read quite a few book reviews I’ve written in the past. I would never call myself a professional reviewer of the written word or say that my opinions and impressions are any better or worse than anyone else’s. But, I’ve been an avid book worm all my life, from the time I could pay attention long enough for my mother to read to me I’ve been entranced by words, characters, and their stories (both fiction and non-fiction).
When I read a new book, particularly one by an author with which I’m not already familiar, I always pay attention to the pace of story development and how the story progresses to its conclusion and make a mental (or sometimes literal) list of questions that occur to me while reading to see if they get answered by the time I finish the book. Most books leave me with one or two questions that I’d ask the author if I were to ever meet them, some leave me with many questions. Whether I’m left with questions or not doesn’t directly impact my overall impression of the work, per se. But, a book that leaves me with few questions is one I generally consider a good book.
As I read The Trust [Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart #4] by Ronald H. Balson (an author I’ve not read before) I mentally compiled my usual list of questions while progressing through the narrative. When I finally closed the back cover and set the book aside, I was genuinely surprised to find that I could not think of a single question that I had while reading that was left unanswered. That almost never happens!
I developed a gut feeling about who the villain was as soon as the character was introduced and their connection to the other characters was known. But, there were several suspects throughout the narrative that could just as well been the culprit and incredibly well-detailed information about why each one was under suspicion that caused me to constantly be challenging my initial choice. That was immensely enjoyable, I have to say, to find myself waffling a little as new information about each character was uncovered. It was a lot of fun to be kept guessing and second-guessing myself throughout the entire book, right up to the last chapters containing the climax of the tale. And the bombshell revelation at the end was totally awesome! No spoilers from me, don’t worry, but if you read the book you won’t want to miss the ending.
The Trust is marketed as a “fast-paced murder mystery,” and it definitely was. I couldn’t put it down. I almost always have 2-3 books that I’m in the process of reading at the same time. I go back and forth between reading different ones. Nine times out of ten, The Trust was the one I picked up when I had time to sit down to read.
In the end, my initial guess at the villain proved correct, but man I had some interesting times while reading when I was really pulled toward another character’s potential guilt. I really like that roller coaster ride feeling when you think you know where a story is going and then there are twists and turns that veer off on another track. An author who can do that without making the reader feel disjointed and confused is something I definitely look for and appreciate. The experience of reading this book will definitely leave a lasting impression and I’m very interested in tracking down other novels by Mr. Balson to add to my bookshelf next to this one.
Mr. Balson’s previous three novels: Once We Were Brothers (an international best seller), Saving Sophie, and Karolina’s Twins also feature the same characters, private investigator Liam Taggert and lawyer Catherine Lockhart, that are followed in this novel. I really enjoy series like this that follow core characters and introduce new ones along the way, so I can’t wait to get my hands on these other books.
The only thing I can come up with as a negative about this book (and this is a really subjective opinion, on my part) is that I thought Liam should have been a bit more objective in his approach to the investigation. I’m not sure that would have led him to solve the murder of his uncle earlier or more efficiently, but a good, experienced PI is supposed to leave personal feelings out of their work. On the other hand, most PIs don’t work cases involving family members, particularly where there are old family troubles being thrust into the forefront. In addition to having to confront his painful past, he learns new details he was not privy to before throughout the entire investigation as well as after its conclusion. So, I largely gave him a pass on being impartial and unbiased and maybe a little whiny at times because the story was just too good to get bogged down by this small and pretty insignificant detail.
If you enjoy murder mysteries with compelling characters, beautiful imagery and a plot line that sucks you right into the thick of things and makes it a priority in your life to get to the last page to find out how the story turns out you might want to add this author to your To-Read List immediately. You will not be disappointed!
The newest novel from Ronald H. Balson, the international bestselling author of Once We Were Brothers, finds private investigator Liam Taggart returning to his childhood home for an uncle’s funeral, only to discover his death might not have been natural.
When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral—a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members?
As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.
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You have the opportunity to meet Ronald H. Balson if he comes to a city near you. Check his website for upcoming tour dates and locations! Also, check the website for Discussion Guides related to his books. I think this would be a fascinating read and provide ample discussion and debate material for a book club selection.
Will his book tour be coming to your town? If so, will you be attending?
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