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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
352 pages
Feb 2008

The Whole Truth

by James Scott Bell

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The Whole Truth by James Scott Bell is the thrilling tale of a man desperate for truth and stability in the midst of his crumbling life, where nothing is what it seems to be. Steve Conroy is a struggling criminal defense lawyer with a troubled past. When Steveís brother, who was kidnapped and supposedly killed at age 7, suddenly reveals that he is alive and wants Steve in his life again, Steve is pushed into a group he isnít sure he wants to be a part of. Steve must face the painful secrets of his past and move on to decide who to trust, what to believe, and where he stands.

With short chapters and paragraphs, The Whole Truth is easy to read and keeps the readerís attention well. Most of the novel moves at a fast pace. Part 3 starts off sprinting and never looks back. There are plenty of gunpoint and knifepoint moments to keep the story action-packed and suspenseful.

The Whole Truth has several twists and an intriguing plot. The discovery of Steveís long-lost brother Johnny (formerly Robert) is the trigger that sets the plot in motion. Throughout the novel, Steve tries to understand Johnnyís background and current position. He is torn between wanting to trust and love his brother and not wanting to get involved with the people in Johnnyís life.

Steve Conroy is an L.A. lawyer and recovering cocaine addict. His practice is struggling, and his whole life seems to be going downhill until he meets a very wealthy client, a religious ex-con, who claims to be the brother whom Steve thought had been dead for 25 years. After being convinced that Johnny really is his brother, Steve becomes the lawyer for Johnny and his other family, the followers of Eldon LaSalle, who want his legal counsel to help set up a church. Soon enough, Steve realizes that Johnnyís group is really a racist cult made up of ex-jailbirds. Because of the pay and his brother, Steve stays on the job. The more of the truth Steve uncovers, the more skeptical he becomes of the whole operation. When lives come into jeopardy, including his own, Steve musters all his courage during a final showdown with the LaSalle-ites.

Steve is haunted by his past. His childhood was scarred by the death of his family. His addiction to cocaine in recent years ruined his career and his marriage. Steve is dealing with the finalization of a divorce with his wife Ashley, and he knows he needs to move on, yet he still cares about her. Steve is very susceptible to temptation, and has a hard time letting go. However, he shows intelligence, determination, and courage throughout the story. He has a witty sense of humor that doesnít seem to amuse some people. Steveís most stable relationship is with his sponsor, Gincy, a godly man who encourages him and helps him overcome his addictive urges. Sienna, a law student Steve hires, becomes helpful and welcome company to the lonely lawyer. Johnny LaSalle may be Steveís brother, but there are many secrets surrounding him and his new family. He is powerful and manipulative, but likable and genuinely cares about Steve. Johnnyís adoptive father, Eldon LaSalle, is the leader of his own cult, greatly respected and feared, and never questioned. He does despicable things in the name of God.

The Whole Truth is an intriguing, suspenseful novel. Its spell-binding plot will keep readers on the edge of their seats. I would recommend it for both male and female readers, especially those who enjoy law stories, mysteries, or thrillers. -- Laura Coulter,

Book Jacket:

At the age of five, Steve Conroy saw his seven-year-old brother kidnapped from the very bedroom they shared. His brother was never found. And the guilt of his silence that night has all but destroyed Steveís life.

Now thirty years old with a failing law practice, Steve agrees to represent convicted criminal Johnny LaSalle, an arrangement sweetened by a lucrative retainer. Itís not long until he discovers that this con man might just be his missing brother.

Desperate for his final shot at redemption, Steve will do anything to find the truth. But Johnny knows far more than heís telling, and the secrets he keeps have deadly consequences. Now Steve must depend on an inexperienced law student whose faith seems to be his last chance at redemption from a corrupt world where one wrong move could be his last.