Sunday, January 5, 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.

My Rating:  5

My Review:
I was actually surprised at how much I loved The Dark Side of Truth. I had already fallen for Our Souls to Keep, but this is an entirely new ball park. Yet, I still couldn't get enough of it. I don't think I realized how desperately I was looking for a great YA mystery until I found it in The Dark Side of Truth. I read the entire novel in one sitting, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that, it's impossible to put down.
The plot of The Dark Side of Truth is excellent. There was no point in which you would feel okay with stopping, for the end of every page had me wanting more. There are all of the twists that a good mystery needs, some of which I didn't even see coming. I felt like I was solving the mystery with Will and Mason, instead of reading about it while already knowing how it plays out.

In addition, I knew that it was a mystery novel, but I didn't know how much The Dark Side of Truth would excite my inner history nerd and science geek. Coding and lore dating back to the civil war? Nitric acid and black fingertips at the crime scene? Where has this book been all my life?

The Dark Side of Truth definitely has enough action to go around. Sometimes, mysteries can get a bit dull, but this was definitely not the case. There was almost always something going on. Most of the research and discoveries made occurred in the field rather than hours upon hours spent in a library (which can be useful, but not so interesting to read about). Plus, there were some really awesome fight scenes.

The characters are all nothing short of stellar. This may be just because of my personal sense of humor, but I love sarcastic voices and - sarcasm aside - Will had a very strong voice. He's a good person, even though he had to deal with a lot and is willing to do 'bad' things for what he believes in, and that definitely earns my respect. Mason, although he doesn't initially seem like it, is strong, brave and loyal, and a really enjoyed the growing friendship being the two.

Of course, I found the real shining star to be Mr. Burke. I found myself growing more paranoid throughout reading, and now I have the strange urge to research some conspiracies and get into cryptology.

The Dark Side of Truth is an excellent YA novel for just about anyone. I was laughing out loud at parts, stunned at others, and occasionally wanting to yell that it's a trap! but I absolutely loved every minute of it. I highly suggest that you clear an afternoon or night to read The Dark Side of Truth. You probably won't be able to stop reading once you start, but I assure you, it's worth staying up a little past your usual bedtime.

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