Review: No Truth Left to Tell by Michael McAuliffe

Look who’s back with a book review! Me, it’s me. I’ve been reading. And painting. And singing. And performing. And not finding quite enough time for self care, but I’m getting there. I’ve even found a few spare minutes here and there to play a few video games.

This week, I had the immense pleasure of reading No Truth Left to Tell, a brilliant work of historical fiction that rings most–if not all–of my bells. Cops, crime, moral dilemmas, and a hint of home, as it is set in the fictional town of Lynnwood, Louisiana.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this somewhere on here, but I am one of the hosts of a true crime podcast, Lifetime Sentence. As such, I love learning about true crime. That also means, however, that I am very picky with crime novels. They have to be believable; they have to have a premise that compels me, and the investigations must be well-researched, because I’ve done a lot of reading about actual investigations. Tomorrow we will release our 62nd episode on top of the bonus cases we cover on Patreon, so I have a little experience with the investigation process. All that to say, No Truth Left to Tell doesn’t feel forced in its treatment of things. Even when investigators catch a lucky break, it still felt authentic. That happens all the time in real life.

The story opens with the beginnings of a race war–which should automatically tell you what you’re signing up for when you take on this book. From the beginning, there are five cross burnings. Immediately, the reader is faced with the Ku Klux Klan and the heavy truth of their existence in the world.

McAuliffe poses ethical questions through his masterful writing. What is the justice system’s role in everything? What is fair? Does everybody actually deserve equal rights? (Okay, that last one seems like it’d be obvious, but trust me…) And who is truly a victim in all this?

I was hooked throughout the trial and the aftermath. I was enchanted by the characters. I wanted to know more about Nettie Wynn, the sole inhabitant of a house targeted by the KKK and the victim of one of the five crosses. I was invested in a way that I, quite frankly, haven’t been in a book in a long time. It was refreshing.

I mean, gut-wrenching and horrible. But refreshing. As I’ve said many times before, my favorite books are the ones that wreck me.

I cannot recommend this book enough to lovers of historical fiction, law & order writing, or anything dealing with big race issues, and anybody who loves the South for all its eccentricities. While not the most relaxing novel, it was a great way to spend a weekend.

Plucky’s rating?
4 out of 5 stars.

The Plucky Reader

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