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The Whole Truth

The Whole Truth

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"Nancy Pickard pushes at the presumed limits of [crime fiction]" said the Los Angeles Times Book Review, praising the award-winning creator of the Jenny Cain mysteries. Now, Pickard blurs the line between fiction and reality in a novel of gripping intensity, and premieres a superb new heroine: true-crime author Marie Lightfoot. For her next surefire bestseller, Marie is covering the trial of a Florida killer -- a case that penetrates her own life, layer by disturbing layer.

Whether real like Ted Bundy, or imagined like Hannibal Lecter, few killers of our time are in the same league as Raymond Raintree. And as he stands flanked by lawyers in a Florida courtroom, waiting to be convicted for the murder of Natalie Mae McCullen, Marie Lightfoot is taking it all in. A small, gutsy blonde renowned for her true-crime bestsellers, Marie knows the graphic and disturbing case will make her best book yet -- because Raintree's shocking crime, vile beyond imagining, is also impossible to turn away from. But there is something about the case -- and Raintree's involvement -- that bothers her.

No one knows where Raintree, a man as slight and immature as a preteen boy, took Natalie after he abducted her. No one knows how Natalie -- bright, independent, and with no fear of the dark -- could be lured into a stranger's boat on a lonely waterway. And only one witness saw a man who may have been Raintree motoring along in a water taxi on the night Natalie disappeared.

Even if the police can't provide answers, Marie intends to leave no loose ends. Starting with a prison meeting with Raintree, the steely-nerved writer follows a twisted path that leads to Natalie's parents, to a coincidence that doesn't quite gel, and to a place she has resisted all her life: the dark recesses of her own soul, where she hides the secrets of her own lost past.

When Raymond escapes, Marie -- a curious contradiction of celebrity author and introspective loner -- becomes a sitting duck for a killer who just might be smart enough to outwit her. And evil enough to take her to hell before she dies.

A masterpiece of psychological suspense, The Whole Truth is a compelling look at our fascination with the horrific crimes of our time. Nancy Pickard's characters are as close to flesh and blood as fiction can get -- and her writing is as close to perfection.
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  • Gallery Books | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416583851 | 
  • October 2007
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Raymond

The courthouse in downtown Bahia Beach, Florida, seems a pale, cool place to hold the evidence of so much passion. Divorces. Rape. Murders. Arson. Assault. Abuse of all kinds, by all sorts of people, upon all sorts of people. Daily, it parades past these bland, blond walls of the Howard County Courthouse, in Florida's Twenty-first Judicial Circuit. This is a place of stark contrasts and painful paradoxes, of quiet ironies and violent surprises. Outside the long narrow windows of the courthouse, the south Florida sun burns hot enough to scorch a tourist's skin, but inside, it's all shade and... see more

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