Written by Rick Treon
Number 1 in Bartholomew Beck
Publisher: Fawkes Press
Original Language: English
Read from 2020-05-22 to 2020-05-24
Read in English
Review: Disclaimer: I got this book through Reedsy Discovery in exchange for a fair review, and I promise that my review is fair and honest one.
Let the Guilty Pay is a rarity: a crime novel that feels original and fresh, and that is a fantastic read to boot.
The story follows Bartholomew Beck, a struggling true crime author who is literally and figuratively making ends meet working on an oil pipeline in the Texas Panhandle. He has barely had the chance to familiarize himself with the job when a murder takes place — a murder that threatens to excavate a part of Beck’s past that he would prefer stayed buried.
Sometimes a book just gels with you, and feels like it has been written to give you exactly what you want. For me, Let the Guilty Pay was such a book, getting the balance exactly right between giving me enough to stay interested, and hiding enough to stay interesting. The main story takes place over a relatively short span of time in the present day, with occasional glances into what happened 20 years ago. This way of telling the story, of gradually revealing the tapestry of events from several angles, works extraordinarily well.
The precision with which all aspects of this story has been woven together is impressive. Complex characters and storylines that blend into each other across timelines could easily have become very confusing, but were served up so seamlessly that I never needed to stop and think about anything. I was free to stay completely immersed and just read on until I found out what had happened, which is fortunate, as I couldn’t put the book down until I had.
The genre of true crime is instrumental to how this story plays out, and one of the most exciting qualities of true crime spills back into the story itself. Most of the tension in this book comes from learning more about what has already happened, rather than about what is going to happen. Every time something new is revealed, the reader has to question their assumptions, and every new nugget of knowledge changes the light in which the whole story is seen.
Let the Guilty Pay is an excellent book, one that I wouldn’t hesitate recommending to anyone who wanted a page-turner of a crime novel that’s a little different from everything else. It’s the kind of book you’ll not so much read as inhale. The only downside is that it will leave you wanting more the moment you’ve finished it.