The Burden of Truth

Neal Griffin. Forge, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9562-7
Straight-A student Omar Ortega, the 18-year-old hero of this solid standalone from Griffin (the Newberg mysteries), plans to join the army after he graduates from his Vista, Calif., high school. He expects his wages and his savings will get his mother and 16-year-old sister, Sofia, and 13-year-old brother, Hector, into a nice house and out of the barrio where they have been since his father was deported. Omar has managed to stay away from gang life, and keep Sofia and Hector safe. One night, Chunks Gutierrez, newly released from prison, forces Omar to ride with him and two members of his gang in his car. Someone fires a gun from the car, killing a cop, and Omar is later arrested for the crime. Griffin sensitively explores Omar’s plight as he’s labeled a cop killer, and the emotional growth of police officer Travis Jackson, who at first is convinced Omar is guilty, but comes to realize the evidence points to another culprit. The tense denouement is incredibly sad, but realistic. Fans of contemporary police procedurals will be satisfied. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/20/2020
Release date: 05/12/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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