Saturday, February 8, 2014

[Review] The Dark Side of Truth by Gary Caruso

Soon after fifteen-year-old Will Reed and his friend Mason stumble over a corpse in the woods, Will’s ex-con father is arrested for the murder—and it’s Will’s fault. With the police about to close their investigation, Will must discover the identity of the ruthless killer before his father wrongfully goes back to prison. 

In the spirit of City of Ember and The Goonies, it’s the discovery of a coded message that starts Will and Mason on an unexpected path of mystery and danger. Will hopes finding an ancient relic will guide him to the truth and prove his father’s innocence. Unfortunately, Will soon learns he isn't the only one searching for this valuable object. It’s a race to follow hidden clues until Will is confronted with a harsh reality. His determination to help his father has jeopardized the lives of the people he cares for. With a cold-blooded killer on his trail, Will must choose between the safety of his friends and family or freedom for his father

I have to be honest. I do not usually read books about characters younger than 17- 16 at the youngest. I do read suspense and mystery, but never with such a young character at the forefront. I also do not read many books that center on a friendship between two characters as the main relationship of the novel. Despite all this, I genuinely enjoyed this book. Will, the protagonist was a troubled young man who had to grow up in the foster system, knowing his father was a criminal. Years later, when his father gets out, Will wants nothing to do with him. It is a very interesting concept. The two shared a beautifully close relationship when Will was young. When his father gets out five years later, he tries to reconnect. ( I just can't hate his father. And neither can he) I love the focus on the relationships- as well as. 
While Will is not overly fond of his father, he still loves him and when his father may go back to jail because of Will, he decides to help out. 

This leads to Will and Mason trying to solve the murder of their history teacher before the police do, since the police will not believe Will when he explains how his father is innocent. It is a pretty fun adventure, full of puzzles and adventures for the duo. I mean.. they are soiling evidence, destroying crime scenes, and committing felonies, but it is all in the name of being heroes and it is thoroughly entertaining. 

Will and Mason are adorable together. Will is snarky- a quality which I admire. ;) And Mason is all cute and nerdy. I love how boys can just meet each other once and become best friends without ever discussing it. Girls are so complicated. :P  They are constantly teasing each other. I really loved their relationship and bonding. And some of the conversations they had were so accurate to a pair of fifteen year old boys. They are trying to be all cool, but they are in constant danger, which makes it hard to be calm and collected.  I love the quotes where Will is like... I would like to say I let out a manly yell, but it was more of a girlish squeal (okay, that's not verbatim. I was talking creative license.) Also, Mason's father is crazy- I love it. I have highlighted some of his more hilarious conspiracy talk. Aliens. hehe. That guy is a hoot and plays an integral part in the book as well. I love how the characters are goofy and real at the same time. It makes for a very interesting cast of characters. 

One of the great thing about the villains is that it's hard to know who they are. Very interesting and well- done. 

I do have a couple of complaints. I mean.. I wish the father had been a bigger part of the book. Well, he is a very large part of the book. I just mean.. I thought they would interact more. Also.. Will is sort of a hypocrite about the whole criminal thing. lol. It's rather amusing. you call your father a thief.. and then come to find out you had broke into school and stole the janitors keys. (This was all before the crime spree to try to clear his father;s name.) Really, Will? Really? I also could not really connect how solving the riddle of the artifact would help his father. I can understand how finding the murderer would help, so I was okay with that up until the end when the artifact became more important than the murder.  Other than that, It was a very entertaining read. I don't know if I will read the next book in the series. While I adored the book, the characters are a but young for my taste. (: 

I would, however, definitely recommend to lovers of crime/ sleuth YA novels with unique male characters. Also, fans of conspiracy theories. I loved the stuff Mason's dad came up with. (: He was so funny. It was adorable and had a crazy ending. (: A very original story.


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