A con man takes to the road with a blond drifter, trying to stay one step ahead of a vengeful killer in this chilling thriller from New York Times–bestselling author John Lutz
Lou Roebuck couldn’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. If he could, he might not have lost his job and his wife, or ended up driving over his old nemesis, Ingrahm, in his Thunderbird. Now Roebuck’s a thief and a murderer on the run with nobody to listen to his tall tales but Ellie, a pretty blonde who’s looking for excitement. They’ll have to keep moving, though, because not only are the cops dangerously close behind, but Ingrahm’s cold killer friend, Gipp, is coming after them as well. Roebuck’s going to have to do some pretty fast talking if he and Ellie want to keep breathing. And if he can’t lie his way out of this one, he’s going to find himself lying in an early grave.
A true master of suspense, John Lutz dazzles with a breakneck thriller that has more twists and turns than a winding country road. The Truth of the Matter is a bravura display of Lutz’s justifiably acclaimed storytelling prowess.
My first time with this author and I was mistaken for thinking it was a newly published book, when I requested it on Net Galley. I know of John Lutz mainly because of the film Single White Female, which I saw many years ago and enjoyed. There are a couple more of his books sitting somewhere amongst the stacks but I couldn’t tell you what they are without some serious digging.
Lutz has been fairly prolific since the early 70’s when The Truth of the Matter, his debut novel was published. He has a couple of 10 books series with two PI’s – Alo Nudger and Fred Carver, both of which I like the sound of – though in all honesty it would be madness to embark on trying to read another 20-odd books. Other series he’s penned include Frank Quinn (11 titles) and the Night series of 6 books. There’s maybe 10 standalone novels that have also been published and many short stories – enough to fill 4 collections.
John Lutz’s website is here.
Back to The Truth of the Matter then. We start and finish with Lou Roebuck. He’s just about to run out on his latest girlfriend. He’s lost his job and after running down an old army buddy and fleeing from his partner Gipp. He burglars his ex-employer he’s now on the run.
Roebuck sure has the gift of the gab. I was amused at how quickly he thinks on his feet when asked a question; how quickly the fantastic lies trip off his tongue, initially sounding plausible but soon the penny drops that he would have had to live to be about 200 years old to have done half the things he’s claimed to. He’s the star of the book – never truly likeable, always untrustworthy yet there’s something about him that has you rooting for a solution to his predicament. Even so, should he get out of one scrape, you just know there’s more trouble in store around the corner.
Roebuck picks up a blonde in a hotel bar. Ellie with her own chequered past and acceptance of what life has in store for her joins Roebuck on his road trip. He feeds Ellie lies and half-truths and whilst she never contradicts him or challenges him, you feel she knows exactly who he is. When they come to the attention of Sheriff Boadeen when holed up at Lake Chippewa, Ellie is the realist and pragmatically deals with Boadeen in an effort to stave off impending disaster.
With Boadeen circling closer and Roebuck still having nightmares about his pursuit by Gipp, his surviving enemy from his army days; Ellie and Roebuck take flight again. Without spoiling, you sense things aren’t going to end well.
I liked the reading about the characters more than I liked the characters themselves. All in all a decent read and one that does have me wanting to try more from the author, particularly a book or two from one pf his series, when I can see how he develops a lead over a few books.
4 from 5