A Shred of Truth, Second Aramis Black Novel by Eric Wilson

What would you do if a Scripture spouting sociopath captured your mother, the mother you believed had been murdered twenty years ago when you were just a child? This is the dilemma facing hero Aramis Black in Eric Wilson’s A Shred of Truth.

Although not a new Eric Wilson book, I read the first in the series some time ago and had this one on my very long “to read list.” I’m glad I got to it. Now if I could get to some of the others on my list.

The novel opens when Aramis’s country western singer brother Johnny Ray’s interest in redheads gets him tied to a statue with the letters “AX” carved into his shoulder. Out this scene comes my favorite line in the book — short, snappy, and to the point: A test in red.

In addition, the kidnapper forces Aramis’s former girlfriend to participate in his twisted head games and then brutally murders her. To further compound Aramis’s problem, the villain has specified no cops. Yet Nashville’s Detective Meade insists on tailing Aramis, possibly placing his mother in still more jeopardy.

I love what Wilson has done with Aramis’s voice in this second book of the series. The protagonist seems matured, somehow. Perhaps due to his fledgling walk with the Lord. Yet enough of his rough and tumble past linger to keep getting him into deeper and deeper trouble. He’s still a hothead, but with reservations. That rash aspect of his personality now seems tempered by his relationship with God. Aramis has grown. It’s been two years since he fled from the politically nihilistic gang he ran with in Portland, and little by little he’s been tearing free of the violent chains of that past.

Wilson poses more questions about the state of human kind than he answers, but perhaps that’s for the best.

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