James Scott Bell,
A Certain Truth
(Bethany House, 2004)

A Certain Truth is the third novel in a series of books about the main character, trial lawyer Kit Shannon Fox. Kit's newly married to an aviator and, while they're on their honeymoon aboard a cruise ship, a death occurs, someone is charged and Kit undertakes the accused person's defense.

The newlyweds are often separated while Kit works on the case. The newspapers and author both reveal that Kit sometimes uses sensational means to win her cases. Along the way I became annoyed at some point by too many back references to books I hadn't read.

Problems begin when Kit isn't convinced of her client's honesty, is approached by a female do-gooder who wants Kit to become a stay-at-home wife, and is finding that her husband is also coming close to the same conclusion as the do-gooder.

The setting is the west coast of America around 1907. I liked the tidbits of history that come with the action in the book: aviation, filmmaking, journalism and family life. Kit is a determined woman and it's so obvious that her first calling is her occupation. Though she is annoying at times, and I'm not convinced she'd actually get away with some of her actions, she is a feisty and dedicated lawyer.

I liked the cast of characters that Kit butts heads with, which is almost everyone in the story. And of course the best part of a murder-mystery is not knowing who the culprit is 'til the very end and carrying lots of viable suspicions along with you as you read. In this, author James Scott Bell gets full marks for putting together a tightly woven story, throwing in lots of great red herrings and giving lots of opportunity for the reader to be a sleuth along with Kit.

Like a lot of Bethany House's books, with the format of soft spines, fairly large print, reasonable prices and comfortable language, this book is easily classified as a nice read. Though I love a good hard mystery, there are other times when I think, "Do I have to put up with this language to get a good story?"

A Certain Truth will provide a good story and be a pleasant addition to your home. You won't have to think twice about passing it on to your aunt or uncle, your daughter or son.

by Virginia MacIsaac
15 April 2006

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