The Simple Truth is the story of Rufus Harms, who recovers his memory 25 years after being convicted of killing a young girl. That memory, however, proves his innocence, touching off a series of events involving smuggled documents and clandestine meetings, chases and gun battles, tense emotional drama, and yes, more murder.
Balducci does a good job, keeping the tension and suspense high. While those seeking to aid Harms in clearing his name are known, only gradually do we learn of the forces united against him…often at considerable cost to the heroes. Character development is good, as Rufus Harms comes to life. The characters of John Fiske, a former cop and current lawyer, and Sara Evans, US Supreme Court clerk, however, are a bit murkier, as their love story, in particular, seems strained in the context of the ongoing action. And the pacing is excellent, as the story flows from family arguments to murder to courtroom debates seamlessly and relentlessly.
To me, however, the most thought-provoking aspect of the novel was Balducci’s characterization of the US Supreme Court. Who knows how accurate it might be, but it rings of truth, where relatively young clerks yield considerable power, justices horse-trade for votes for their favored causes, and justice for the case takes a back seat to setting enduring precedent. The action kept me tense enough; this additional layer was gravy.
So, for fans of legal thrillers and murder mysteries, The Simple Truth will keep you on the edge of your seat to the final page…and maybe long after.