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The Simple Truth

1 rating: 4.0
A book by David Baldacci

Rufus Harms is rotting in a Virginia military prison. As readers learn in the terse opening ofThe Simple Truth, he was convicted 25 years ago of the brutal killing of a young girl. Readers also learn that Rufus did not commit the crime; out of a haze … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: David Baldacci
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
1 review about The Simple Truth

A finely crafted legal thriller!

  • Apr 9, 2011
Rufus Harms, a giant of a black man, has served 25 years of a life sentence in a Virginia military prison for the brutal killing of a young white girl. When some obscure government correspondence results in his recovery of hazy, clouded memories, he realizes he did not actually commit the crime for which he was convicted and he smuggles an appeal out of prison to be filed with the US Supreme Court. Shortly afterwards, Harms' lawyer and Michael Fiske, the young Supreme Court clerk who received the documents and had begun to investigate the truth of Harms' claim of innocence, are murdered. Michael's court colleague, Sara Evans, and his brother, ex-cop and small-time defense lawyer, John Fiske, pick up the task and the chase is on to find the real culprits who won't hesitate to murder again and again to cover up their part in a scandal involving the Supreme Court and high level US military personnel!

The thriller part of the novel is pretty standard fare but is exceedingly well written and will keep any reader flipping the pages relentlessly as Baldacci hauls us through multiple murders, chase scenes and gun battles, compelling human family drama and dispute, courtroom struggles, clues with lots of red herrings, and, of course, the mandatory love scenes. But the really hearty meat of this little tale is contained in the telling of the inside scoop on the fascinating detailed workings of the US Supreme Court - the surprising power of the court clerks who are actually still "wet behind the ears" young lawyers barely out of school; the political struggle of the Supreme Court justices as they barter with one another for votes on the cases before them; the astounding (well, it certainly was to me) revelation that US military personnel do not have the right to sue their employer; and the personal struggle of the justices as they realize their efforts will form new case law for years to come. Baldacci's description of the open court acrimonious debate between the young female newcomer to the bench, Elizabeth Knight, and long-standing male member, Chief Justice Harold Ramsey, was particularly fascinating.

This is one thoroughly enjoyable legal thriller! It won't take you long to plow through this one and I've no doubt that, just as soon as you turn that last page, you'll jump up out of the chair to head the store to pick up another one by Baldacci. Happy reading!

Paul Weiss

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