This pedometer geek reader discovered a new (to me, at least) author in Rick Ollerman after receiving a signed copy of one of his novels, Truth Always Kills, directly from him through a Shelf Awareness Book Buzz giveaway. This isn’t his only novel; he has several others including Turnabout/Shallow Secrets, but this is the extended review of the novel Truth Always Kills.
Truth Always Kills
by Rick Ollerman
Published by Stark House Press, 2015
As the inside cover blurb about Ollerman’s novel says: “Jeff Prentiss’s life is a mess. As a homicide detective working in St. Petersburg, he knows he’s made too many mistakes and made too many enemies. When his wife’s ex-husband, Roy Lee Evans, is released from prison and threatens his family, Jeff does what he must to keep them safe.”
In this thriller, Jeff is a homicide detective for St. Pete, working on the case of the murder of an infamous thief. Yet before coming to the squad in St. Pete, he was part of the Tampa police force. Unfortunately, in his effort to get to the truth of a high profile case, he pushed the limits of his authority. This cost him both his job and reputation. Now, across the bay in St. Pete, he is partnering with Terry Moran, a good detective and friend. Terry is also tasked with keeping Jeff on the straight and narrow, acting as a babysitter for the impetuous Jeff.
In his private life, Jeff is the same way. Impetuous and desirous of protecting his wife Lori and daughter Roxy, he is more than willing to bend the rules in regards to Roy Evans, an ex-con who is threatening violence against the pair. Yet, his love for them (with his inherent desire to protect them both) may just smother them, and Lori with Roxy in tow takes off and disappears.
When another murder of a mayoral candidate seems to be linked to the first murder, and also crosses the two jurisdictions (St. Pete and Tampa), Prentiss boldly goes into rogue cop mode. As his personal life spirals out of control, so does his professional life especially when these murders appear to concern Lori and Roxy as well. He can’t help getting deeply involved at whatever the cost to him personally. Frankly, the truth must come out even if it kills them all.
This novel is fast-paced with plenty of twists and turns. Gritty and raw at times, the story moves along with surprises that don’t stop until the last page. At the heart of the novel is Jeff. The character of Jeff is that of a flawed man who is willing to play fast and loose with the rules in order to get to the truth. Even with the steadying influence of his partner, Moran, Jeff can’t be easily controlled. Jeff pushes the boundaries at every turn, yet has the ability to get at the truth even as he melts down.
For those readers who love hard-boiled detectives who play by the own rules, this is the novel for you. It is suspenseful and full of non-stop action. Jeff isn’t perfect, but it is his love for justice and his love for his family that drives him making this a worthy read.