Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

When Bish Ortley, a suspended cop, receives word that a bus carrying his daughter has been bombed, he rushes to her side. A suspect has already been singled out: a 17-year-old girl who has since disappeared from the scene.The press has now revealed that she is the youngest member of one of London's most notorious families. Thirteen years earlier, her grandfather set off a...

Title:Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0316349291
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:407 pages

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil Reviews

  • Emily May
    Oct 06, 2016

    Just getting this out of the way first:

    . Her writing and detailed characterization are flawless.

    is heartbreaking.

    hurts so good. The

    trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. I'm telling you because - even though this didn't live up to my expectations - I don't want you to think that Marchetta is anything other than fantastic.

    My issue with

    is tha

    Just getting this out of the way first:

    . Her writing and detailed characterization are flawless.

    is heartbreaking.

    hurts so good. The

    trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. I'm telling you because - even though this didn't live up to my expectations - I don't want you to think that Marchetta is anything other than fantastic.

    My issue with

    is that 1) it's

    , and 2) it's

    and

    that I would expect from the author. Marchetta, it seems, is good at characters and families, but less so at mysteries. Let's start with the first issue.

    Why am I listing names, you ask? This is just

    the cast of characters in this book. The first few chapters bombard us with a sea of characters, each with their own stories and issues going on, until I found myself having real trouble following the plot. As the book progressed, a name would be mentioned and I would have to spend a couple minutes trying to remember which person that was and how they were relevant.

    Set between the UK and France, the story begins with a bombing of a British school bus in Calais. Shortly after the bombing, two of the students run away; one of which, it turns out, is related to the infamous terrorists who built and planted a bomb thirteen years earlier. Violette Zidane's grandfather let off a suicide bomb, and her mother is currently in prison for building it. So she becomes an obvious suspect.

    Most of the novel is told from the perspective of Bish Ortley, a suspended cop and father of one of the other students (though the book also contains a lot of jarring POV switches to random side characters). He begins to search for Violette but, as he does, he also uncovers dark truths about her family's crimes and finds himself wondering if justice was actually served all those years ago.

    Many many stories surface and weave with the main plot, not all of which are interesting. The book is being labelled a "Literary Thriller", which here means something closer to "family drama" than the Thriller genre. The reveals of the bus bombing are not that interesting, and I never felt compelled by the author to wonder whodunnit, instead feeling like the book was caught up in its message on racial profiling.

    Still, Marchetta's

    shines through. She captures human nature and interactions very well; it's just too bad that her style doesn't seem a good fit for a mystery/thriller. Procedural accuracy is swept aside, allowing a suspended cop to become the leader on a serious terrorist case because... why? The kids like him?

    Lots of plot points - such as the way Violette and Eddie are able to cross the channel back to England - seem improbable, and some important "clues" are revealed through characters looking at photos and

    or

    - again, something that has more place in a family drama than a thriller.

    On to my second point. Ultimately, the book is about the ways we view race/religion and racial profiling - for example, the tendency for Arab/Middle-Eastern people to be the first suspects in bombing crimes. It's an important issue. But here it is so heavy-handed that it lacks all finesse. The outcome of the book is obvious because you can feel the author pushing you in that direction from the very first chapter.

    A worthy read for fans of Marchetta's astute observations of people and relationships, but lovers of the Mystery/Thriller genre might be disappointed.

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  • Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
    Dec 05, 2014

    After reading: It breaks my heart to rate this book....

    It might as well be Melina's grocery list, but hell I DON'T CARE!

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    Oct 11, 2016

    The best thing about Melina Marchetta (MM) is that she writes stories about families.

    I have never been disappointed in the way that she makes me feel something for every character in her story. I go through every emotion when I go on the journey with them. I am overjoyed to tears, heartbroken, happy,

    The best thing about Melina Marchetta (MM) is that she writes stories about families.

    I have never been disappointed in the way that she makes me feel something for every character in her story. I go through every emotion when I go on the journey with them. I am overjoyed to tears, heartbroken, happy, sad, amazed at the generosity of some and dismayed by the actions of others.

    In every book I’ve read by MM

    Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil has an amazing story about a watch that could have been a book all on its own, because in two pages she told a gripping tale of a family’s history and it was beautiful, poetic, tragic and wonderful all at the same time.

    This is a little different than some of the other books by MM as it is a psychological thriller and still it is a story about the characters. Bish is the focus of the story. He is still in the grips of guilt and loss after the death of his son that also tore his marriage apart and placed a wedge between him and his grieving daughter. Even though he is a mess from the beginning I was really rooting for him.

    The story takes off pretty fast as his daughter’s bus was bombed while on a holiday tour and Bish is thrust into the middle of the investigation. I think this book dealt really well with how social media and the public can be both a help and a hindrance to investigations. How after the events of 9/11 the world perception changed and that isn’t necessarily always a good thing. How prejudice and public pressure can lead to disaster. I don’t want you to think this book was preachy because I never felt like it was.

    As always with a Marchetta book the best parts are the people, their histories and how it all works out in the end. Every person in this book was flawed in some way and that made them all the more read for me.

    is the daughter of a woman convicted of a horrendous bombing. Her mother has been in prison for the last 13 years of her life and every person in her family has been touched by that in some way. But I loved that that family felt closer together than most of us who see each other every day.

    and his ex-wife have a history and she is now pregnant with another child. But I thought that the relationship that family has while incredibly complicated was completely beautiful too. I felt the pain and the hope that they held for each other and how even though they were divorced they still loved each other and wanted the other to be happy. It wasn’t perfect but they were trying to be the best people towards each other they could be even if they were no longer together.

    Wow…just wow. I don’t think I can say enough about how rich I found her character to be. She was a brilliant woman who gave up her future for the lives of her family. Her entire story was so compelling to me that I loved and hated every section of it as it was doled out. The best part about her was how strong she was in this story. She sees people, like really sees them deep down to the core and I adored how she cut to the quick of it. Sometimes she was kind, sometimes harsh, but always I found her character honest.

    There are so many other smaller character parts that cling to me but you’ll just have to read this to find those gems for yourself.

    I don’t read many thrillers unless they are Urban Fantasy or a romance with a murder mystery. So the topic of this book was a little out of my comfort zone. But that didn’t really matter, because the story is so compelling and the characters are really interesting that I believe no matter what kind of reader you are there could be something in this story for you. Plus I really liked how it incorporated how people are today with their phones and social media and how all of that plays a part in the way that information is shared and used in both positive and negative ways.

    If you have read any of MM’s other works then I’m sure you will find the same fantastic storytelling at the core. If you have never read a MM book this might be a really great entry point for you to see if you enjoy her style of storytelling since this is completely a standalone.

  • Ariana
    Jan 06, 2015

    You don't measure a Marchetta book in number of stars.

    Maybe in entire constellations, if you really feel like counting.

    I’ve been staring at my laptop for a long time, trying to catch my breath, hoping to be able to put into words my love for this book and this author. But when she writes with such passion and cuts so deep with her words, how can I express all my astonishment if I can barely wrap my own mind around it?

    This might be one of the most challenging themes so far, as “Tell the Truth,

    You don't measure a Marchetta book in number of stars.

    Maybe in entire constellations, if you really feel like counting.

    I’ve been staring at my laptop for a long time, trying to catch my breath, hoping to be able to put into words my love for this book and this author. But when she writes with such passion and cuts so deep with her words, how can I express all my astonishment if I can barely wrap my own mind around it?

    This might be one of the most challenging themes so far, as “Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil” is a very powerful piece of art with roots sunk deep into the reality – it is a story about tolerance, about what humankind is made of, about heartbreak and longing; and it’s such a realistic portrayal of our modern society, here in Europe – with all the bombing and all the tremendous hate. *sigh*

    I’ve been both awed and horrified by the authenticity of it.

    It’s true, my heart is bleeding for all those characters, my soul feels crushed under the weight of so much pain and misfortune. But you know what’s the best part about all of Marchetta’s stories? There is always hope creeping in through all that darkness. There is always a smile playing on my lips, there is always the side of wonder that makes me believe in the impossible. That’s what Marchetta excels at: breaking things (usually people; her characters or her readers) into so many pieces that you won’t even remember the shape of them, and then bringing them back to life with just a few simple (but meaningful) words. [...]

    As much as Marchetta plays with emotions, she also creates fabulous characters that haunt your dreams. And the storyline is incredible and full of coincidences (some happy, most sad). There are so many shadows, so many wounds… It’s a never-ending carousel of emotions you simply can’t get enough of.

    Maybe I didn’t sell my soul to the devil for this book, but I sold so many tears for a slice of happiness.

    Full review

    .

    --

    Let me catch my breath... What a ride! Loved, loved, loved it! Review soon...

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    Pre-reading thoughts: Oh heavens, I might consider selling my soul to the devil for this one... I want it so damn badly!!

  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
    Jan 07, 2015

    *breathe Anna breathe*

  • Steph Sinclair
    Apr 08, 2015

    OH MY GOD YES.

  • Brenda
    Sep 18, 2016

    Chief Inspector Bish Ortley’s daughter Bee was on a touring holiday with a busload of British students – the campsite between Calais and Boulogne-surMer was where they were with Spanish students as well as French when Bish had the phone call about a bombing at the site. The immediate heart-stuttering terror he felt took his breath away; his race across the Channel to the campsite with Bee’s grandmother felt like it would never be over.

    As Bish was reluctantly drawn into the investigation, he disc

    Chief Inspector Bish Ortley’s daughter Bee was on a touring holiday with a busload of British students – the campsite between Calais and Boulogne-surMer was where they were with Spanish students as well as French when Bish had the phone call about a bombing at the site. The immediate heart-stuttering terror he felt took his breath away; his race across the Channel to the campsite with Bee’s grandmother felt like it would never be over.

    As Bish was reluctantly drawn into the investigation, he discovered seventeen year old Violette LeBrac was also on the bus. But how could that be? From Australia, Violette was supposed to be touring Tasmania. And her connection to Bish’s past was impossible to miss – Violette’s mother Noor was in prison; Bish had helped put her there.

    With the tragedy unfolding, the authorities, both French and British had no idea if it was a terrorist attack and who the target might have been – the evidence was sparse; the students unwilling to talk. But before much could be ascertained Violette disappeared. Digging deeply into the lives of all involved, including into the past of Violette’s family, Bish was determined to find the truth…

    by Aussie author Melina Marchetta is a gripping and intense psychological thriller which I had trouble putting down. It took me a few pages to settle in to the story but once there, I was captured by the plot. The author’s first in the adult psychological thriller genre (she writes Young Adult as a rule) she most definitely has a winner with

    and I highly recommend it.

    With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Australia for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.

  • karen
    Aug 12, 2016

    i added this book to my to-read list before there was even a synopsis up. that's how much i love this author. and then, once it

    up, i admit to being a little confounded - marchetta is writing an adult crime fiction thriller about an english cop investigating a bus bombing? it seemed so far outside of her usual wheelhouse.

    which just shows how very little i know about marchetta's wheelhouse.

    because this was fantastic.

    it's definitely more crime fiction than mystery, even though there is a whod

    i added this book to my to-read list before there was even a synopsis up. that's how much i love this author. and then, once it

    up, i admit to being a little confounded - marchetta is writing an adult crime fiction thriller about an english cop investigating a bus bombing? it seemed so far outside of her usual wheelhouse.

    which just shows how very little i know about marchetta's wheelhouse.

    because this was fantastic.

    it's definitely more crime fiction than mystery, even though there is a whodunnit at its core. but it's more concerned with the effects of crime and punishment on the small scale: families, marriages, individuals, parents, and on the larger scale of cities, their citizens, and the politics surrounding these issues, intended to keep people safe and unafraid, sometimes failing to do so.

    sounds like heavy stuff, but marchetta has the most fluid and graceful writing style - i would use the word "effortless" if it didn't sound so insulting, because it's damn hard to write prose that clean - and it's an absolute pleasure to read.

    she writes equally engagingly on such disparate topics as investigative procedures, the power struggles between different bodies of english law enforcement and those of other countries, a father's struggle to connect with his teenage daughter and manage the complicated emotions resulting from his ex-wife's pregnancy, immigration law and the plight of displaced persons, the legacy of shame and persecution affecting the family of an accused terrorist, language barriers, social responsibility and social media, justice and loyalty and sacrifice and racism and fearmongering propaganda. and it's all done with such a light touch, the reader is absorbed into the story, connected to the characters, pulled into the immediacy of the investigation, truly invested in the outcome.

    ordinarily i'll write these annoyingly long, quote-filled reviews where i blah and blah about this or that, but this time i'm going to cut it short. not for any lack of enthusiasm, or because i might "spoil" something, but because sometimes when contemplating something particularly masterful, there are just no words.

    it may seem strange for me to praise a book so highly and "only" give it four stars, but that's just because of my own personal experience with her work - both

    and

    were so perfect to the reader who is me that this one cannot sit beside them up in five-star-land. but it's a strong piece of writing with excellent characters, pacing, and construction, and it's hard for me to find anything "wrong" with it, so we can call it a 4.999999999 stars if that helps drive you towards her work.

    i would love to read more books featuring bish ortley, so i'm hoping this becomes a series. it definitely has potential to become one.

    fingers crossed.

    ****************************************

    ummmm, so apparently this has been available on netgalley, from a publisher i am auto-approved by, for a while, and i had no idea. what a dummy i am.

    but i have it now!

    this one might rudely shove some books on the "to read next" list off the path.

    can't be helped.


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