Book Review

The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

An attractive student. An older professor.

Think you know the story? Think again.

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…

I’m a huge fan of Cara Hunter’s novels, and this latest instalment in the DI Adam Fawley series does not disappoint.  It begins with a recap of who’s who in the series – something that’s useful for both long-time fans as well as those who are new to it.  And I think that you can – just – get away with reading The Whole Truth without reading the earlier books in the series.  I do think that you’d be missing some context, however, and so I don’t personally recommend it.  And as police procedurals go, this series is up there with the best of them, and I don’t think you’d regret starting at the beginning with Close to Home.

The novel opens with Fawley’s team looking into an accusation of sexual assault.  The accuser is a student at Oxford University, the accused their professor.  It sounds like a familiar scenario, and yet if there’s anything that I’ve come to appreciate about Cara Hunter, it’s her ability to explore a theme from a different angle to most.  Such is the case here, and Hunter manages to both highlight the issue of sexual predation and the scope that that can take as well as showing that you can’t jump to conclusions.  Of course, the case proves to be anything other than straightforward, and the team has their work cut out separating fact from fiction. 

I found the pace of this novel a little different to the previous instalments.  I think that the earlier novels all have an element of solving a crime against the clock, be that to determine the whereabouts of a missing child or to prevent further crimes by an unknown perpetrator.  The Whole Truth is a little different.  This is partly because of the initial case, but also because the second case that comes into play takes a little while to set up.  This is no bad thing.  Hunter builds up the suspense successfully, and throughout there’s a sense of something coming even though it’s not clear exactly what that might be.

This second aspect to the novel comes to affect Fawley and his wife, Alex, directly.  Several years ago, Fawley was responsible for the arrest of the so-called “roadside rapist”.  It was a huge case, and the arrest became a career-making moment for Fawley.  Parrie has always maintained his innocence, and having served 18 years in prison, he’s now been released on parole.  A justice group – The Whole Truth – has now picked up his case, examining the evidence and testimonies via a podcast throughout the novel.  It casts doubt upon the conviction – and on Fawley himself – with the claim that the evidence that led to Parrie’s conviction was planted.  I don’t want to say any more about this as it would be far too easy to spoil things.  Let’s just say that I really like Fawley – it’s important to have a sympathetic lead in a series such as this – and Fawley is certainly that.  The Whole Truth puts him through the wringer, and I found it to be incredibly tense throughout. I raced through the novel wanting to know what the outcome would be. 

As ever, Fawley and his team have their own personal lives going on in the background.  This is an aspect of the series that really brings these novels to life for me – that we see these officers in both their personal and professional lives.  We see the issues they’re facing – the everyday things that we all encounter in some form or other – and it means that the whole team is fully fleshed out rather than being a supporting cast.  You come to care about these characters (maybe even Gareth!) and want them to succeed in their individual trials. 

With the next novel in the series Come to Harm scheduled for release in 2022, it’s already one of my most eagerly awaited reads for next year.  I can’t wait to see how the fallout of this novel is resolved and what might happen next. 

The DI Adam Fawley series:

  1. Close to Home
  2. In the Dark
  3. No Way Out
  4. All the Rage
  5. The Whole Truth


  1. I haven’t read any of her books yet although I have another one besides this. After reading your review I think I’m going to take my chance and dive into this one first. Great review! xxx

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