Now a major Apple TV+ series starring Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul—produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine!
Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.
The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.
Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay.
The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.
When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a megahit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, questioning whether the wrong person may be behind bars, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A suspense-filled and distinctly modern thriller, Kathleen Barber’s debut novel is the inspiration for an Apple TV+ show starring Octavia Spencer. Warren Cave has been in prison for over a decade, convicted of a murder that the victim’s daughter claimed she witnessed. When the host of a hit true-crime podcast starts asking questions, the broken and still-grieving family becomes the center of an investigation that goes viral. Punctuated with the clever use of transcripts, this brilliantly assured thriller serves up a genuinely unguessable twist. We kept reading Truth Be Told far into the night, determined to find out the truth.
A true-crime podcast provides the catalyst for the reexamination of a murder in Barber's inventive debut. In 2002, college professor Charles Buhrman was shot to death in the kitchen of his Elm Park, Ill., home. A 17-year-old neighbor, Warren Cave, was convicted of the murder, based on eyewitness testimony by Lanie, one of Charles's teenage twin daughters. Charles's death devastated his wife, Erin; Lanie; and her sister, Josie. Erin joined a cult, abandoning her daughters to her sister. The once-close twins became estranged Lanie began to act out and use drugs, and she betrayed Josie, who ran away and changed her last name. In 2015, Josie's quiet domestic life in New York with her boyfriend, Caleb Perlman, explodes when broadcaster Poppy Parnell launches a podcast dredging up the murder, claiming that Warren is innocent. And Josie is pulled back into the family drama following her mother's sudden death. The intense plot and character studies are enhanced by an emotional look at the dynamics of a family forever scarred by violence.
The ending was predictable but overall good quick read
To be honest, I never listened to Serial. But that may be good, because I came into this book without a basis for comparison. The excerpts from the podcasts were some of my favorite parts of the book. If someone would make a transcript of Serial, I'd read it now.
In Josie, Barber gives us a heroine it's impossible not to root for: her father was murdered, her life is now being shared with the public, and now her mother has committed suicide. She's not a perfect character, but she's certainly interesting. The book is fast-paced and well-written.
I loved the book and can't wait to see what Barber comes up with next.
I didn’t care for the story, as I figured it out early on and I didn’t like the characters Lanuez and Josie. Overall, it was ok. I’ve read more entertaining and thrilling books than this.