Friday, 3 August 2018

Truth & Betrayal by K.C. Wells - Release Day Review

403 Kindle Pages
Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Available in KU


All the light went out of Jake’s life when his older brother Caleb died in a traffic accident. Getting through the aftermath was always going to be the hardest thing he’d ever done, but finding out that the tall stranger at the graveside was the one driving the car? At least Jake now has a target for all the rage inside him. Because the man responsible for stealing Caleb’s light from the world has no right to intrude on their grief. 

Liam had known deep down that it was a mistake to go to Tennessee, but he’d hoped saying goodbye to Caleb would ease the pain inside him. The hostile reception from Caleb’s family and friends comes as no surprise, and Liam flees before things get ugly. They obviously know nothing of Caleb’s life in Atlanta, and maybe it’s better that way. Caleb’s secrets can die with him. 

When Jake turns up at Caleb’s apartment to collect his brother’s possessions, what he discovers is the first shock in what is to be a series of revelations, turning Jake’s world upside down. New knowledge brings fresh pain and anguish. 

Jake isn’t the only one who’s hurting… 


I have a problem. As some of you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of K.C. Wells’ stories. All of them. Be they self-published, co-written, or under a different pseudonym, I’ve so far loved every single word from her. So what does a reviewer do when an author who almost invariably ends up with a five star rating, writes a book that surpasses everything she’s produced in the past? I can’t speak for anybody else but in my case it will probably lead to a lot of fan-girling, the over-use of superlatives, and plenty of nonsensical gushing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Whereas most romances start of light and easy, giving the reader a (more often than not) false sense of security, only to bring them to tears and heartache sometime after the midway point, Truth & Betrayal threw me straight into the deep end where I feared I might drown in the tears caused by Jake’s pain.

Losing his Caleb, his only brother was bad enough. The fact that he never got to share a closely held secret with the older brother he adored, makes Jake’s grief even more heart-wrenching. Coming face to face with the man who drove the car in which Caleb died during his brother’s funeral, is more than Jake can take and he lashes out.

When Jake meets Liam again he soon discovers that he was an important part of Caleb’s life. It turns out that Jake wasn’t the only one with a secret he kept close to his chest. If Jake wants to learn more about his brother and the secret life he led, he’ll have to talk to Liam. Fortunately, Liam turns out to be a nice person who doesn’t hold Jake’s outburst against him and is happy to share information with Luke.

What starts as a quest for information soon turns into a developing friendship between Liam and Jake; a friendship that awakens unexpected feelings in both of them.

And so we venture into a developing romance without easy answers. Both men have to come to terms with the loss they suffered and the guilt falling for each other engenders. Jake has to face issues associated with being gay in a community where most would condemn him for his feelings and even his own family might abandon him. And then there’s the fact that Liam is black and Jake lives in a town were race relations are strained, at best. K.C. Wells deals with all of these in an honest yet sensitive manner. She doesn’t gloss over the problems they face but neither does she overstate them. I’m in awe of the way she managed to insert sometimes brutal realism into her story without ever making it harsher to prove a point. Here is a writer who knows there is no need to exaggerate because the plain truth is more than bleak enough.

And while I’m on the subject of realism; it doesn’t end with the issues Liam and Jake have to overcome to reach their happy ending. While an ordinary writer might have thought dealing with the gay and the race ‘issues’ was enough controversy for one story, this author goes a few steps further and also deals with open relationships, PrEP, and bare-back sex. And yet, the story never felt hurried, purposely controversial, or over the top.

Truth & Betrayal is a slow-burn love story, but it is so much more. It’s a coming of age story too. It’s a book about love; for families, for friends, and for that special person who completes your life. It’s a tale that will break your heart before putting it back together. The book will make you think, ask yourself questions, and make you feel every single emotion you can think of at least once. As per usual with K.C. Wells, the cast of secondary characters is fabulous and I have to say I’m delighted that one of them will be getting a story of his own in the not too distant future.

Long (and not altogether coherent) story short. Truth and Betrayal is the book to read if you want to completely lose yourself in a world filled with emotions. If you like stories and characters that will stay with you for a long time after you’ve closed your reader/paperback, you need to pick this one up. Be prepared to start with tears. It’s not impossible you’ll end with tears too, but those will be of a completely different nature.

As for the question as to what a reviewer does when a favourite author surpasses herself, the answer is simple. You add the title to your list of extra-special books and rate the book six stars, even if you won’t be able to actually award as many on Goodreads or Amazon. Because yes, Truth & Betrayal is that good.

No comments:

Post a Comment