Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: Burden of Truth by Terri Nolan

Burden of Truth by Terri Nolan
Midnight Ink, 2013
Crime Fiction; 384 pgs 

I love a good mystery, especially one featuring an investigative reporter.  I admit, too, to being curious about Burden of Truth because of the author.  I'm a long time listener of the radio, and know Terri Nolan as the voice of the news.  When I saw she'd written a book, a mystery no less, I couldn't resist reading Burden of Truth.

From the Publisher:
Investigative journalist Birdie Elizabeth Keane would give anything—even her Pulitzer—to see Matt Whelan, the love of her life, one more time. The sudden death of the Los Angeles cop has left her devastated, angry, and baffled. Coming from a traditional Irish-Catholic family of cops, Birdie can’t ignore the bizarre coincidences surrounding his “accidental” death—or her suspicion that he planned it. A twisting trail of clues leads her to a sixteen-year-old murder, a cold case she’s always wanted to solve. With dangerous forces closing in, Birdie races to decipher Matt’s last message for her. Each stunning revelation brings her closer to the dark truth about a man she thought she knew—Was he a dirty cop?—and unimaginable, painful secrets about the people she loves most.
Birdie is a recovering alcoholic, all too familiar with loveless relationships, and an eye for the truth.  She is hard as nails. To go through what she does in this book and still be standing in the end . . . I don't know how she managed it.  She must have been running on pure adrenalin and determination.

While I enjoy reading books set all over the globe, there's something to be said for spending time closer to home, in familiar places.  I think that's one of the big draws for me to Michael Connelly's books and this one, Burden of Truth.  From the culture to the city itself, Los Angeles is its own character.  While I think this particular book could have taken place in just about any major American city, it fits best in Southern California, with the high desert to the southeast and the forest just a short drive away.  

Family plays an integral part in Birdie's story.  She has a tight knit family.  And law enforcement runs in her blood.  She is an only child to a high ranking career officer father and several of her cousins are on the force too.  While she's not a cop herself, she does have connections, and it makes it easier for her to get the information she needs for her own purposes.  I liked the interplay between Birdie and her family and with the family of the man she loved.  Their relationships are complicated, as many relationships are.

While in some respects Burden of Truth is your typical crime fiction novel, with the pursuit of truth, the unexpected--and expected--twists, secrets, betrayal, murder, and suspenseful moments, it is also more than that.  Terri Nolan has created complex characters and their inner struggles are really what make this novel what it is.  I didn't mind the side stories, enjoying my time getting to know the various people in Birdie's life.  The author threads the stories together well.  It has a very natural feel to it.  And when it all comes together in the end, well, let's just say there's a big finale.

I did wonder about one aspect of the story, which I hesitate to mention for fear of spoiling the book.  I doubted the reality of the possibility--wondered if the heart can swing so easily from one direction to the next without another thought.  That's probably saying too much.  Still, Nolan handled that quite nicely too, and the very last of the book had me smiling.  She hadn't failed me after all.

I really enjoyed reading Burden of Truth and look forward to reading more by this author in the future.  

Rating: * (Good +)

You can learn more about Terri Nolan and her books on the author's website

Source: I received an e-copy of the book via NetGalley for review.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. This does sound different than most of the thrillers out there, and like something that I might like to read. You elucidate the crests and waves of the novel beautifully, and I love that you loved this one. Fantastic review today! I normally would pass this one by, but you convinced me!

    1. Heather - Ah, thanks! There was quite a bit to this novel and I really feel like I got to know the characters. If you do read it, I hope you like it!

  2. I really do enjoy it when a books setting is somewhat familiar to me. I think it makes it more real in my mind as I'm reading this. I like the idea of her character. Sounds like she's lived her life to the fullest and is one tough cookie!!

    1. Staci - Birdie was such an interesting character. She went through a lot in this book. I don't think I would have handled it all as well as she did.

      I don't know what it is about L.A. I love reading books set there. And then when I drive down a street I read about, it makes it all the more real.

  3. Sounds interesting and I like the idea of the California setting.

    1. Kathleen - It was very entertaining and it's obvious the author knows her location. I look forward to seeing what else the author has in store for me!


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