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Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

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When Bish Ortley, a suspended cop, receives word that a bus carrying his daughter has been bombed, he rushes to her side. A suspect has already been singled out: a 17-year-old girl who has since disappeared from the scene. The press has now revealed that she is the youngest member of one of London's most notorious families. Thirteen years earlier, her grandfather set off a When Bish Ortley, a suspended cop, receives word that a bus carrying his daughter has been bombed, he rushes to her side. A suspect has already been singled out: a 17-year-old girl who has since disappeared from the scene. The press has now revealed that she is the youngest member of one of London's most notorious families. Thirteen years earlier, her grandfather set off a suicide bomb in a grocery store, a bomb her mother confessed to building. Has the girl decided to follow in their footsteps? To find her, Bish must earn the trust of her friends and family, including her infamous mother, now serving a life sentence in prison--but as he delves into the deadly bus attack that claimed five lives, the ghosts of older crimes become impossible to ignore. A gripping fusion of literary suspense and family drama, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a fast-paced puzzle of a novel that will keep readers feverishly turning pages.


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When Bish Ortley, a suspended cop, receives word that a bus carrying his daughter has been bombed, he rushes to her side. A suspect has already been singled out: a 17-year-old girl who has since disappeared from the scene. The press has now revealed that she is the youngest member of one of London's most notorious families. Thirteen years earlier, her grandfather set off a When Bish Ortley, a suspended cop, receives word that a bus carrying his daughter has been bombed, he rushes to her side. A suspect has already been singled out: a 17-year-old girl who has since disappeared from the scene. The press has now revealed that she is the youngest member of one of London's most notorious families. Thirteen years earlier, her grandfather set off a suicide bomb in a grocery store, a bomb her mother confessed to building. Has the girl decided to follow in their footsteps? To find her, Bish must earn the trust of her friends and family, including her infamous mother, now serving a life sentence in prison--but as he delves into the deadly bus attack that claimed five lives, the ghosts of older crimes become impossible to ignore. A gripping fusion of literary suspense and family drama, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a fast-paced puzzle of a novel that will keep readers feverishly turning pages.

30 review for Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    Just getting this out of the way first: Marchetta is one of my favourite YA authors. Her writing and detailed characterization are flawless. On the Jellicoe Road is heartbreaking. The Piper's Son hurts so good. The Finnikin of the Rock trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. I'm telling you because - even though this didn't live up to my expectations - I don't want you to think that Marchetta is anything other than fantastic. My issue with Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is tha Just getting this out of the way first: Marchetta is one of my favourite YA authors. Her writing and detailed characterization are flawless. On the Jellicoe Road is heartbreaking. The Piper's Son hurts so good. The Finnikin of the Rock trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. I'm telling you because - even though this didn't live up to my expectations - I don't want you to think that Marchetta is anything other than fantastic. My issue with Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is that 1) it's highly convoluted, and 2) it's heavy-handed and lacks a certain subtlety that I would expect from the author. Marchetta, it seems, is good at characters and families, but less so at mysteries. Let's start with the first issue. Bish, Rachel, Saffron, Bee, Violette, Eddie, Noor, Jamal, Fionn, Layla, Elliott, Gigi, Charlie, Grazier, Lola, Manoshi, Attal, Owen, Katherine… Why am I listing names, you ask? This is just a sample from the cast of characters in this book. The first few chapters bombard us with a sea of characters, each with their own stories and issues going on, until I found myself having real trouble following the plot. As the book progressed, a name would be mentioned and I would have to spend a couple minutes trying to remember which person that was and how they were relevant. Set between the UK and France, the story begins with a bombing of a British school bus in Calais. Shortly after the bombing, two of the students run away; one of which, it turns out, is related to the infamous terrorists who built and planted a bomb thirteen years earlier. Violette Zidane's grandfather let off a suicide bomb, and her mother is currently in prison for building it. So she becomes an obvious suspect. Most of the novel is told from the perspective of Bish Ortley, a suspended cop and father of one of the other students (though the book also contains a lot of jarring POV switches to random side characters). He begins to search for Violette but, as he does, he also uncovers dark truths about her family's crimes and finds himself wondering if justice was actually served all those years ago. Many many stories surface and weave with the main plot, not all of which are interesting. The book is being labelled a "Literary Thriller", which here means something closer to "family drama" than the Thriller genre. The reveals of the bus bombing are not that interesting, and I never felt compelled by the author to wonder whodunnit, instead feeling like the book was caught up in its message on racial profiling. Still, Marchetta's knack for characterization and dialogue shines through. She captures human nature and interactions very well; it's just too bad that her style doesn't seem a good fit for a mystery/thriller. Procedural accuracy is swept aside, allowing a suspended cop to become the leader on a serious terrorist case because... why? The kids like him? Lots of plot points - such as the way Violette and Eddie are able to cross the channel back to England - seem improbable, and some important "clues" are revealed through characters looking at photos and getting a sense of something or just knowing the truth - again, something that has more place in a family drama than a thriller. On to my second point. Ultimately, the book is about the ways we view race/religion and racial profiling - for example, the tendency for Arab/Middle-Eastern people to be the first suspects in bombing crimes. It's an important issue. But here it is so heavy-handed that it lacks all finesse. The outcome of the book is obvious because you can feel the author pushing you in that direction from the very first chapter. A worthy read for fans of Marchetta's astute observations of people and relationships, but lovers of the Mystery/Thriller genre might be disappointed. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    i added this book to my to-read list before there was even a synopsis up. that's how much i love this author. and then, once it was up, i admit to being a little confounded - marchetta is writing an adult crime fiction thriller about an english cop investigating a bus bombing? it seemed so far outside of her usual wheelhouse. which just shows how very little i know about marchetta's wheelhouse. because this was fantastic. it's definitely more crime fiction than mystery, even though there is a whod i added this book to my to-read list before there was even a synopsis up. that's how much i love this author. and then, once it was up, i admit to being a little confounded - marchetta is writing an adult crime fiction thriller about an english cop investigating a bus bombing? it seemed so far outside of her usual wheelhouse. which just shows how very little i know about marchetta's wheelhouse. because this was fantastic. it's definitely more crime fiction than mystery, even though there is a whodunnit at its core. but it's more concerned with the effects of crime and punishment on the small scale: families, marriages, individuals, parents, and on the larger scale of cities, their citizens, and the politics surrounding these issues, intended to keep people safe and unafraid, sometimes failing to do so. sounds like heavy stuff, but marchetta has the most fluid and graceful writing style - i would use the word "effortless" if it didn't sound so insulting, because it's damn hard to write prose that clean - and it's an absolute pleasure to read. she writes equally engagingly on such disparate topics as investigative procedures, the power struggles between different bodies of english law enforcement and those of other countries, a father's struggle to connect with his teenage daughter and manage the complicated emotions resulting from his ex-wife's pregnancy, immigration law and the plight of displaced persons, the legacy of shame and persecution affecting the family of an accused terrorist, language barriers, social responsibility and social media, justice and loyalty and sacrifice and racism and fearmongering propaganda. and it's all done with such a light touch, the reader is absorbed into the story, connected to the characters, pulled into the immediacy of the investigation, truly invested in the outcome. ordinarily i'll write these annoyingly long, quote-filled reviews where i blah and blah about this or that, but this time i'm going to cut it short. not for any lack of enthusiasm, or because i might "spoil" something, but because sometimes when contemplating something particularly masterful, there are just no words. it may seem strange for me to praise a book so highly and "only" give it four stars, but that's just because of my own personal experience with her work - both On the Jellicoe Road and The Piper's Son were so perfect to the reader who is me that this one cannot sit beside them up in five-star-land. but it's a strong piece of writing with excellent characters, pacing, and construction, and it's hard for me to find anything "wrong" with it, so we can call it a 4.999999999 stars if that helps drive you towards her work. i would love to read more books featuring bish ortley, so i'm hoping this becomes a series. it definitely has potential to become one. fingers crossed. **************************************** ummmm, so apparently this has been available on netgalley, from a publisher i am auto-approved by, for a while, and i had no idea. what a dummy i am. but i have it now! this one might rudely shove some books on the "to read next" list off the path. can't be helped. come to my blog!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    Sale Alert 31May18: I'm not sure how long it will last but this is currently on sale for $2.99 The best thing about Melina Marchetta (MM) is that she writes stories about families. It doesn’t matter if it is her Fantasy or Contemporary at the heart of it the story is about the people, the families that you are both born too and the ones you create along the way in your life. I have never been disappointed in the way that she makes me feel something for every character in her story. I go through Sale Alert 31May18: I'm not sure how long it will last but this is currently on sale for $2.99 The best thing about Melina Marchetta (MM) is that she writes stories about families. It doesn’t matter if it is her Fantasy or Contemporary at the heart of it the story is about the people, the families that you are both born too and the ones you create along the way in your life. I have never been disappointed in the way that she makes me feel something for every character in her story. I go through every emotion when I go on the journey with them. I am overjoyed to tears, heartbroken, happy, sad, amazed at the generosity of some and dismayed by the actions of others. But I am IN the story until the last page is turned and even after that I carry the story with me. In every book I’ve read by MM there is one moment in the story, or a story within the story that completely grips me and touches me in a way that I wish everything I read had something in it like that. Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil has an amazing story about a watch that could have been a book all on its own, because in two pages she told a gripping tale of a family’s history and it was beautiful, poetic, tragic and wonderful all at the same time. This is a little different than some of the other books by MM as it is a psychological thriller and still it is a story about the characters. Bish is the focus of the story. He is still in the grips of guilt and loss after the death of his son that also tore his marriage apart and placed a wedge between him and his grieving daughter. Even though he is a mess from the beginning I was really rooting for him. The story takes off pretty fast as his daughter’s bus was bombed while on a holiday tour and Bish is thrust into the middle of the investigation. I think this book dealt really well with how social media and the public can be both a help and a hindrance to investigations. How after the events of 9/11 the world perception changed and that isn’t necessarily always a good thing. How prejudice and public pressure can lead to disaster. I don’t want you to think this book was preachy because I never felt like it was. But I did feel like it was honest about some things that we don’t like to be honest about. The Best Parts: As always with a Marchetta book the best parts are the people, their histories and how it all works out in the end. Every person in this book was flawed in some way and that made them all the more read for me. Violetta is the daughter of a woman convicted of a horrendous bombing. Her mother has been in prison for the last 13 years of her life and every person in her family has been touched by that in some way. But I loved that that family felt closer together than most of us who see each other every day. Bish and his ex-wife have a history and she is now pregnant with another child. But I thought that the relationship that family has while incredibly complicated was completely beautiful too. I felt the pain and the hope that they held for each other and how even though they were divorced they still loved each other and wanted the other to be happy. It wasn’t perfect but they were trying to be the best people towards each other they could be even if they were no longer together. He walked her down to the tube station, knowing Maynard would be waiting for her at Ashford, and it made him melancholy. His hand almost tempted to take hers. It seemed the natural thing to do, and because Rachel was more evolved than Bish, she took his. The next time he saw her, she’d likely have had the baby. How strange it would sound to hear Bee speak about a brother who wasn’t Stevie. Who wasn’t theirs. He stood with her on the platform in silence until the tube came. “Would it seem odd to say that I want you to have a place in this kid’s life?” she asked. Bish could hardly be a player in his own life, let alone another man’s child’s. And the there is Noor. Wow…just wow. I don’t think I can say enough about how rich I found her character to be. She was a brilliant woman who gave up her future for the lives of her family. Her entire story was so compelling to me that I loved and hated every section of it as it was doled out. The best part about her was how strong she was in this story. She sees people, like really sees them deep down to the core and I adored how she cut to the quick of it. Sometimes she was kind, sometimes harsh, but always I found her character honest. “I know about guilt,” she said. “Yes, you would.” “Not mine. The only guilt I’ve ever felt is for catching Etienne LeBrac’s eye in the cafeteria of St. John’s College and ruining his life by association,” she said. “I’m talking about yours.” He stood to leave. “You feel guilty because you weren’t on that beach to save him.” Her words gutted him. “Your ex-wife feels guilty because she thinks she’s not going to love her new child as much as she loved your son. And your daughter feels guilty that she’s not dead and her brother is. So who’s the better detective here?” There are so many other smaller character parts that cling to me but you’ll just have to read this to find those gems for yourself. Don’t let the book topic scare you. I don’t read many thrillers unless they are Urban Fantasy or a romance with a murder mystery. So the topic of this book was a little out of my comfort zone. But that didn’t really matter, because the story is so compelling and the characters are really interesting that I believe no matter what kind of reader you are there could be something in this story for you. Plus I really liked how it incorporated how people are today with their phones and social media and how all of that plays a part in the way that information is shared and used in both positive and negative ways. Overall: If you have read any of MM’s other works then I’m sure you will find the same fantastic storytelling at the core. If you have never read a MM book this might be a really great entry point for you to see if you enjoy her style of storytelling since this is completely a standalone.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tanja (Tanychy)

    After reading: It breaks my heart to rate this book.... It might as well be Melina's grocery list, but hell I DON'T CARE! After reading: It breaks my heart to rate this book.... It might as well be Melina's grocery list, but hell I DON'T CARE!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    You don't measure a Marchetta book in number of stars. Maybe in entire constellations, if you really feel like counting. I’ve been staring at my laptop for a long time, trying to catch my breath, hoping to be able to put into words my love for this book and this author. But when she writes with such passion and cuts so deep with her words, how can I express all my astonishment if I can barely wrap my own mind around it? This might be one of the most challenging themes so far, as “Tell the Trut You don't measure a Marchetta book in number of stars. Maybe in entire constellations, if you really feel like counting. I’ve been staring at my laptop for a long time, trying to catch my breath, hoping to be able to put into words my love for this book and this author. But when she writes with such passion and cuts so deep with her words, how can I express all my astonishment if I can barely wrap my own mind around it? This might be one of the most challenging themes so far, as “Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil” is a very powerful piece of art with roots sunk deep into the reality – it is a story about tolerance, about what humankind is made of, about heartbreak and longing; and it’s such a realistic portrayal of our modern society, here in Europe – with all the bombing and all the tremendous hate. *sigh* I’ve been both awed and horrified by the authenticity of it. It’s true, my heart is bleeding for all those characters, my soul feels crushed under the weight of so much pain and misfortune. But you know what’s the best part about all of Marchetta’s stories? There is always hope creeping in through all that darkness. There is always a smile playing on my lips, there is always the side of wonder that makes me believe in the impossible. That’s what Marchetta excels at: breaking things (usually people; her characters or her readers) into so many pieces that you won’t even remember the shape of them, and then bringing them back to life with just a few simple (but meaningful) words. [...] As much as Marchetta plays with emotions, she also creates fabulous characters that haunt your dreams. And the storyline is incredible and full of coincidences (some happy, most sad). There are so many shadows, so many wounds… It’s a never-ending carousel of emotions you simply can’t get enough of. Maybe I didn’t sell my soul to the devil for this book, but I sold so many tears for a slice of happiness. Full review on the blog. -- Let me catch my breath... What a ride! Loved, loved, loved it! Review soon... -- Pre-reading thoughts: Oh heavens, I might consider selling my soul to the devil for this one... I want it so damn badly!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I really enjoyed this tale of love, loss and family relationships. Melina Marchetta always manages to write characters who are relatable and interesting and it is very easy to become absorbed in the story to the point of not wanting to put the book down at all. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil literally starts with a bang when a bus carrying a group of English students is blown up in France. An ex Chief Inspector from the English police is father of one of the survivors of the blast and he ends up I really enjoyed this tale of love, loss and family relationships. Melina Marchetta always manages to write characters who are relatable and interesting and it is very easy to become absorbed in the story to the point of not wanting to put the book down at all. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil literally starts with a bang when a bus carrying a group of English students is blown up in France. An ex Chief Inspector from the English police is father of one of the survivors of the blast and he ends up working for the Home Secretary to discover the facts behind the crime. An excellent book, well up to the author's usual standards and a very enjoyable read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    Following the wonderful reading experience I had with Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi, which I rated five out of five stars, I immediately decided to dust off Marchetta’s 2016 contemporary crime fiction release, Tell the Truth Shame the Devil. This book has been sitting on my shelves since I purchased it, around the time it released. I went into Tell the Truth Shame the Devil with high expectations. The explosive opening, which features a horrific bomb attack on a bus full of British st Following the wonderful reading experience I had with Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi, which I rated five out of five stars, I immediately decided to dust off Marchetta’s 2016 contemporary crime fiction release, Tell the Truth Shame the Devil. This book has been sitting on my shelves since I purchased it, around the time it released. I went into Tell the Truth Shame the Devil with high expectations. The explosive opening, which features a horrific bomb attack on a bus full of British students on French soil, shocked me. I was drawn to the familiarity of this novel, as I too crossed the channel as a teenager and made the trip over to France. My trip was much safer than this one! I could easily place myself in the shoes of these unfortunate students. So what started off as a promising read, where I was able to make connections to the main event of the novel, soon dissipated. Sadly, this book failed to maintain my full interest and while I did persist and finish it, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it. Whilst I didn’t appreciate Tell the Truth Shame the Devil, it has received some very positive reviews from others.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steph Sinclair

    OH MY GOD YES.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ALPHAreader

    ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil’ is the new novel from Australian author Melina Marchetta. This latest book is another about-turn for beloved Marchetta, who burst onto the publishing scene with award-winning young adult book ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ in 1992, followed by more YA fare in ‘Saving Francesca’ and Printz-winning ‘On the Jellicoe Road’ (which also has a companion early-reader in ‘The Gorgon in the Gully’). In 2010 she came out with a sort-of sequel to ‘Saving Francesca’ with ‘The Piper’ ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil’ is the new novel from Australian author Melina Marchetta. This latest book is another about-turn for beloved Marchetta, who burst onto the publishing scene with award-winning young adult book ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ in 1992, followed by more YA fare in ‘Saving Francesca’ and Printz-winning ‘On the Jellicoe Road’ (which also has a companion early-reader in ‘The Gorgon in the Gully’). In 2010 she came out with a sort-of sequel to ‘Saving Francesca’ with ‘The Piper’s Son’, which was long-listed for the Miles Franklin award … she then broke away from YA and contemporary tales with critically-acclaimed high-fantasy series ‘Lumatere Chronicles’ spanning three books. And now with ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil,’ Marchetta is breaking new ground yet again – with an adult crime/mystery-thriller, which I think proves her to be Australia’s most versatile author writing today. I’ve now re-read this book three times in three months (as I was kindly given an advance copy) – and I’m continually surprised by how much I love it, and new facets I come to admire and uncover in the story. For anyone who is mildly concerned that they won’t get as much enjoyment out of a Melina novel that’s not in the usual genre or readership for her, let me assure you there’s absolutely nothing to worry about – and also, there’s no such thing as “usual” when talking about Melina Marchetta anymore. And that’s a good thing. For one thing – Marchetta has always written mysteries. From Josie Alibrandi’s parentage, to the truth of Taylor Markham’s abandonment by her mother and how she came to catch a train with Jonah Griggs when they were 14-years-old, even Lumatere Chronicles’ cryptic “there's a babe in my belly that whispers the valley,” and the curse that was lifted … it’s true that most every story ever told has a mystery somewhere at its centre, and Marchetta’s novels have been no different over time. It’s just that in ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil’ she’s really immersing the novel in mystery-thriller as the pivot-point. But Marchetta’s books – whether contemporary, high fantasy, or now crime-thriller –her books will have family at the centre, always and forever. ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil’ is at once about Chief Inspector Bish Ortley, suspended from the London Met and investigating a bomb attack that came very close to killing his own daughter … but there’s more to the story of Bish; his broken marriage and ex-wife who’s about to give birth to another man’s child, and his daughter – Bee – who has been drifting away from all of them since a terrible accident years ago, and his mother Saffron who has only just come into her own as a grandmother when she was never the maternal sort with Bish growing up. The Ortley’s are one side of this coin, on the other are the LeBrac and Sarraf’s – whom Bish believes to be a deadly crime family paying their dues and serving apt life-sentences for a terrorist act carried out just over a decade ago. But as he starts digging he finds a family full of tragedy and love, history and mystery that needs unravelling – with roots in Alexandria and the Algerian War, who were once a British immigrant success story, condemned in a trial-by-media … Five dead. More injured. Some badly. It's what happened when you were the son of Louise Sarraf: you became obsessed with victims and numbers and how many people were affected. One dead man meant kids and a wife and parents and brothers and sisters and in-laws and nieces and nephews. Injured kids meant the same. A mother. Father. Two sets of grandparents. Approximately seven aunts and uncles and at least fourteen cousins. Not to mention friends ... Jamal had become a mathematician after his father blew up their lives. The figured tallied based on twenty-three fatalities fucked with his head every time. And for those upset that Marchetta has broken away from her YA roots … not quite, either. For one thing – I don’t think Melina is physically capable of not writing about teenagers and young people. And that’s because she clearly has such deep respect for them, and interest in them. When family is always at the heart of her stories, she pays dividends to the important role that younger generation’s play within this dynamic – and that’s never truer than in ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil’ which is inverting the whole “sins of the father” question, by giving real agency (and the entire pivot-point of the mystery) around young people whose family was torn apart, and who have lived in the fallout of their absence ever since. I don’t want to give too much away about the roles that teenagers plays in this book, except to say that it feels somewhat revolutionary for Melina Marchetta to be bringing them into the mystery-thriller genre as agents of change in the plot, instead of – as is usually the case – purely victims of abuse and neglect. As someone who reads a lot of crime and mystery novels, I can tell you this is not always the case … and actually what Marchetta has done is extraordinarily rare and, quite frankly, brilliant. Later, restless and desperate not to have a drink, Bish scoured the news online. The Guardian, Al Jazeera, the New York Times. The Australian media hadn't made up their mind how they felt yet. At the moment they were identifying Violette as "the British-born French-Arab LeBrac, who went by the name Zidane, which belonged to her Algerian grandmother." Bish couldn't think of how many more hyphens and details they could use to distance themselves from the world's least favourite teenager. What country did Violette LeBrac Zidane belong to? On Twitter, #princec2 was the most eloquent: "She's Australian, you fuckers." The other thing I really want to say about Marchetta bringing her voice to this genre is in the character of Bashir “Bish” Ortley. Male leads in mystery-thrillers are nothing new, and quite frankly I’m a bit over them … I tend to gravitate more towards books in this genre with female leads (Dr. Sara Linton in Karin Slaughter’s books, Rev. Clare Fergusson in Julia Spencer-Fleming’s etc). And there was a part of me, when I started reading ‘Tell the Truth’ that was worried Bish would be more of the same that this genre tends to produce – old, grizzled, alcoholic, over-the-hill cop with a heart of gold and inexplicable sway over the opposite sex … but again, this is Marchetta we’re talking about. I came away from this novel with a real appreciation for how much the women steer the story – and Bish. From Noor LeBrac and Violette Zidane to Bish’s mother Saffron, his daughter Bee, wife Rachel, a whip-smart solicitor called Layla Barat ... Bish may be the character we follow for most of the story (with a few chapters from others’) and he may be Chief Inspector Ortley doing all the gum-shoeing on this case, but he’s very much being led by the women. Because they’re smart. And fierce. They know what they want – and they go after it. Bish is really just along for the ride and at their mercy, because the women always rule in a Melina Marchetta novel. Always. And Bish is the better for it by book's end, and I came to completely admire him. There’s just something about this novel that has stuck with me, and I can’t shake this feeling of deep gratitude – for another brilliant story from this writer who means so much to me – but also for this story that got me thinking so deeply about issues that are impacting the world today … So much is touched on here; refugees and asylum seekers, trial by media, the dubious justice of anti-terror laws and torture, Islamophobia, vigilantism and social-media, the creep of political power-plays, and so much more. Something about this book and Marchetta’s writing in this genre reminds me of ‘The Secret in Their Eyes’ by Eduardo Sacheri (which has been adapted into two films, but I prefer the 2009 Argentine/Spanish version) – in that layering of the personal and criminal, suspense in the crime itself as well as the hair-trigger personalities of the players involved … Marchetta feels utterly at home in this genre, like she’s been writing in it all her life (which she has, to a degree) and I can only hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of Bish Ortley and co. There are certainly seeds and threads planted in this book – particularly around the lawless treatment of asylum seekers who are stuck in limbo, and preyed upon for it – that feels like fertile and important ground for more mystery-thriller tales. Displacement, home, identity, and family – nobody writes about this better than Marchetta for me, and her bringing these themes to this genre is acknowledging something truly profound. There’s so much I loved in this book – not least was the way it fits for me, like a puzzle piece within Marchetta’s other stories … there are lines here connecting them all for me, so I can see exactly how writing all those others bought Marchetta to this book, at this point in time. I loved that Violette Zidane feels like she’d get along like a house on fire with Josie Alibrandi, Francesca Spinelli and especially Taylor Markham. Charlie Crombie was a little shit, but then again I thought Jonah Griggs was too – at first. I loved Layla and Jamal as fiercely as I loved Georgie and Sam from ‘Piper’s Son,’ as much as Trevanion and Beatriss from the ‘Lumatere Chronicles’ – because the good ones don’t come easy. I loved reading the family history of the LeBrac and Sarraf’s, as much as I adored when Froi once told the complicated history of his family to Arjuro, which he concluded by saying; “I'd live it again just to have crossed all of your paths.” But most of all I think I loved how ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil’ can be seen as sitting alongside ‘The Piper's Son’ – examining a very different angle of a terror tragedy. And while it wasn’t the same London tragedy that took Joe away from them, part of me hopes the Mackee’s would be the sort to forgive and make peace with a family who ended up suffering just as much …

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Chief Inspector Bish Ortley’s daughter Bee was on a touring holiday with a busload of British students – the campsite between Calais and Boulogne-surMer was where they were with Spanish students as well as French when Bish had the phone call about a bombing at the site. The immediate heart-stuttering terror he felt took his breath away; his race across the Channel to the campsite with Bee’s grandmother felt like it would never be over. As Bish was reluctantly drawn into the investigation, he disc Chief Inspector Bish Ortley’s daughter Bee was on a touring holiday with a busload of British students – the campsite between Calais and Boulogne-surMer was where they were with Spanish students as well as French when Bish had the phone call about a bombing at the site. The immediate heart-stuttering terror he felt took his breath away; his race across the Channel to the campsite with Bee’s grandmother felt like it would never be over. As Bish was reluctantly drawn into the investigation, he discovered seventeen year old Violette LeBrac was also on the bus. But how could that be? From Australia, Violette was supposed to be touring Tasmania. And her connection to Bish’s past was impossible to miss – Violette’s mother Noor was in prison; Bish had helped put her there. With the tragedy unfolding, the authorities, both French and British had no idea if it was a terrorist attack and who the target might have been – the evidence was sparse; the students unwilling to talk. But before much could be ascertained Violette disappeared. Digging deeply into the lives of all involved, including into the past of Violette’s family, Bish was determined to find the truth… Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Aussie author Melina Marchetta is a gripping and intense psychological thriller which I had trouble putting down. It took me a few pages to settle in to the story but once there, I was captured by the plot. The author’s first in the adult psychological thriller genre (she writes Young Adult as a rule) she most definitely has a winner with Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil and I highly recommend it. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Australia for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    When a bus carrying a load of British kids on holiday is blown up killing and maiming several children in Calais, it's discovered that the granddaughter of a terrorist, Violette Zidane, is part of the group, the suspicion immediately falls on her. Was she involved in the bombing or is someone trying to get back at her family? Or was it due to something totally unrelated? Bish Ortley, a suspended detective, the father of one of the girls in the group is drawn into the investigation. He was a youn When a bus carrying a load of British kids on holiday is blown up killing and maiming several children in Calais, it's discovered that the granddaughter of a terrorist, Violette Zidane, is part of the group, the suspicion immediately falls on her. Was she involved in the bombing or is someone trying to get back at her family? Or was it due to something totally unrelated? Bish Ortley, a suspended detective, the father of one of the girls in the group is drawn into the investigation. He was a young policeman when Violette's grandfather set off a bomb in a busy shopping centre so feels a connection with Violette. At first he is just concerned that the kids are okay and finds himself becoming the intermediary between the parents and the police, but when Violette and another child go missing he has no choice but to help find them and investigate the reasons for the bombing. As in her books for young adults, Melina Marchetta has created some great characters. She really understands adolescents and how they interact with each other and with adults. Bish and his daughter Bee have an often difficult relationship as a result of his separation from his wife and the recent death of Bee's brother Stevie but they are drawn closer during the investigation as Bish tries to help Bee's friends. Bish, despite his flaws and complex relationships is a character we feel drawn towards as he struggles to do what is right, but not necessarily legal, for Violette and Bee. Racism is also a major theme of the book as Violette is immediately cast as a terrorist by the media after the bombing on the basis of her background and ethnicity. Her family have also suffered from the fall out of her grandfather's bombing and public prejudice against them. There are a lot of characters in this book and it did sometimes become difficult to remember who someone was in the early chapters but this improved as the book went on. Overall, this was an excellent read with a complex, multilayered plot, great characters and much to think about after the last page is read. 4.5★

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Let me just...breathe for a second. I'll come back with thoughts. Reread: July 2018 [narrator voice which is really just Rashika's]: and she never came back with thoughts. WELL, Rashika just has to deal with it because I'm still unable to form coherent sentences in order to review this book even after finishing it for the second time. I had a fun time rereading though, although by fun I really mean just stabbing my own heart because man, this book is one hell of a painful ride. I still love Bish as Let me just...breathe for a second. I'll come back with thoughts. Reread: July 2018 [narrator voice which is really just Rashika's]: and she never came back with thoughts. WELL, Rashika just has to deal with it because I'm still unable to form coherent sentences in order to review this book even after finishing it for the second time. I had a fun time rereading though, although by fun I really mean just stabbing my own heart because man, this book is one hell of a painful ride. I still love Bish as the main POV; he's so funny in a self-deprecating way and his dry wit is just trademark Marchetta. I highlighted so many quotes (I borrowed the ebook from the library this time, since I never made progress with my paperback and I read faster on my phone). Still can't believe Marchetta actually created two more Jimmys with painful backstories but at the same time not surprised. Phew.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ace

    4 stars I didn't know what to expect when I saw that Melina Marchetta had written a book for adults but having already read a couple of hers, I selected this one for my Aussie Women Writers challenge. To be honest, in comparison to On the Jellico Road, there's not much difference in intended audience. A fantastic mystery, detective story which involves characters of all ages, from multiple countries, cultures and religions. I loved it and was invested in everybody and how things turned out for a 4 stars I didn't know what to expect when I saw that Melina Marchetta had written a book for adults but having already read a couple of hers, I selected this one for my Aussie Women Writers challenge. To be honest, in comparison to On the Jellico Road, there's not much difference in intended audience. A fantastic mystery, detective story which involves characters of all ages, from multiple countries, cultures and religions. I loved it and was invested in everybody and how things turned out for all. I'm now hoping that there will be a Chief Inspector Bish Ortley Book #2.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paula Weston

    This book confirms something I've suspected for a while: Melina Marchetta is a genre all of her own. I love her contemporary YA. I love her fantasy. And after devouring Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, I can say that I love her style of crime/thriller. The common thread between all of Melina's books is her ability write beautifully flawed characters we care about - and to do so with pathos and insight. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a brilliantly crafted novel of injustice, redemption, forgive This book confirms something I've suspected for a while: Melina Marchetta is a genre all of her own. I love her contemporary YA. I love her fantasy. And after devouring Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil, I can say that I love her style of crime/thriller. The common thread between all of Melina's books is her ability write beautifully flawed characters we care about - and to do so with pathos and insight. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a brilliantly crafted novel of injustice, redemption, forgiveness, culpability and guilt. Interestingly, I found parallels between this book and the Lumatere Chronicles (three of my all-time favourite novels) in the way it explores the complexities of family, prejudice, fear and truth. Given the subject matter, Melina approaches this story in a way that's remarkably measured. She shines an uncomfortable light on how collective fear can destroy empathy, but also doesn't shy away from the ugliness and trauma of terrorism in all its forms. This is a page-turner that delivers a gut punch - and a spark of hope that wounds, no matter how deep, are not always beyond healing. This novel takes us to dark places but Melina Marchetta always leads us back into the light, for which I'm grateful. As with every Melina Marchetta novel, there were more than a few moments that left me choked up and teary, especially towards the end. And I'm still reliving the story and thinking about those characters (caring about them) days later. Highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Sometimes a book just simply drops out of nowhere straight into the best of the year list with minimal fanfare. TELL THE TRUTH, SHAME THE DEVIL is undoubtedly going to remain one of the best things I've read this year for a whole lot of reasons. The publisher website has this summation: "With its cast of unforgettable characters, social insight and wry wit, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is an irresistible novel about human identity, lost children and the nature of real love." Nails it really. TE Sometimes a book just simply drops out of nowhere straight into the best of the year list with minimal fanfare. TELL THE TRUTH, SHAME THE DEVIL is undoubtedly going to remain one of the best things I've read this year for a whole lot of reasons. The publisher website has this summation: "With its cast of unforgettable characters, social insight and wry wit, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is an irresistible novel about human identity, lost children and the nature of real love." Nails it really. TELL THE TRUTH, SHAME THE DEVIL is a psychological thriller that is cleverly constructed, beautifully executed and compelling reading. Cleverly constructed in the way it combines a series of important, very current topics into one elegantly realised plot. TELL THE TRUTH, SHAME THE DEVIL covers the fear of terrorism in the community, alongside the need for awareness of over-reaction and over-simplification. It also considers the nature of the "other" - different races / different experiences / different backgrounds creating often unnecessary, and nearly always unworthy tension and suspicion. Combining these aspects into very personal experiences creates a series of wonderful characters, full of flaws and doubt, wracked with pain and joy, struggling with a series of life events that affect them all in different, and yet somehow similar ways. As you'd expect the major character parts - Bish, his mother and his daughter, Violette, and her imprisoned mother are wonderfully drawn. As are the lesser parts - the other children on the bombed bus, the French police chief and his own daughter and so on right through the book. Each of these people is human, and the events that affect them sufficiently drawn out to give everyone a place in the story, and a story about their place. Beautifully executed in the way that these characters are deftly placed in a strong plot, full of menace and threat, whilst also raising a lot of questions in reader minds. While Bish struggles with so much of his past, and the way that his life has panned out, the younger Violette has a mission of her own, with a background and family history that is poles apart from Bish's in many aspects, and disconcertingly close in others. All the while the ease with which a frightened community can become a vigilante community plays out, as does the insidiousness of assumption and wild conclusion drawing and "opinion".  Compelling because despite the many layers in TELL THE TRUTH, SHAME THE DEVIL, this is the sort of book that readers are given permission to draw conclusions from. To see different aspects of human nature, and behaviour and reflect upon the consequences of that. Along the way you're engaged with some wonderful characters. Each and everyone of them has been allowed to be brave, single-minded, daft and dangerously self-absorbed in as many different combinations. But most of all, that searching for an explanation of our reactions to fear or difference is something that will stay with many readers. Tell The Truth Shame the Devil

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The truth is not always black and white and can, in fact, be many varied colours. Chief Inspector Bish Ortley life is going down hill. Divorced and suspended from his job, he will get a call that will almost give him a heart attack after being informed that a bus his daughter Bee is in across the channel in France has been bombed. After racing over with his mother Saffron, Bish is relieved to discover that his daughter is unharmed. But others are not so fortunate with a number of teenagers killed The truth is not always black and white and can, in fact, be many varied colours. Chief Inspector Bish Ortley life is going down hill. Divorced and suspended from his job, he will get a call that will almost give him a heart attack after being informed that a bus his daughter Bee is in across the channel in France has been bombed. After racing over with his mother Saffron, Bish is relieved to discover that his daughter is unharmed. But others are not so fortunate with a number of teenagers killed and injured. Thanks to an old friend, Bish finds himself reluctantly drawn into the investigation as a liaison with the families of the victims. One of the kids on the bus, seventeen-year-old Violette LeBrac draws much interest from Bish. Firstly she is not even meant to be in France and instead be in her native Tasmania. Secondly, her mother Noor, is in jail in connection with the bombing of a London supermarket committed by her grandfather 13 years ago. Lastly, Bish himself helped put her away. As the media around the world clues in on to Violette and comes to their own conclusions about her, Bish is stunned to find out that she and one of the boys on the bus, Eddie has disappeared. Despite the most obvious conclusion being that they could not have gone far, they have in fact, somehow made it across the channel. For Bish trying to find out why Violette and Eddie ( who seemingly only met for the first time on the trip) would go on the run, sees him look into Violette family with surprising conclusions that force him to question the people he has worked for and his own actions. I will be honest in say this is the first book by Aussie author, Melina Marchetta I have read (I know, amazing). I knew she has made a name for herself as a YA writer and was intrigued to see how she would go with what is a big right-hand turn. I am pleased to report for the most part this is a great read that never failed to keep me engaged. The characters for one was superb. Violette for one was fantastic as a young girl with maturity beyond her years and Bish despite his many flaws was someone you grew to love. Unfortunately, there was one Elephant in the room when it came to issues that prevented me from giving the book 5 stars. That being the sheer number of characters, that managed to totally bamboozle me at the start. Then when the story settled down I still had to re-read certain sections as Violette's complex families secrets slowly revealed themselves. Other than that there is nothing I can really poke holes at. While it would be stretching it to call Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil a thriller, there is no denying this is intense read that will appeal to fans of the authors work and those looking for an intriguing and heartfelt read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    I moved earlier this month and didn’t have the brain capacity for anything other than a plot-driven mystery novel. This book is exactly the kind of page-turner that’s perfect for when you want to read but don’t want to have to meditate on the meaninglessness of life (lookin’ at you, literary fiction). This book had so much that I just adore: teenagers with real, nuanced inner lives; diversity in the characters (in a lot of ways); no guns; complicated families with secrets and histories. I listen I moved earlier this month and didn’t have the brain capacity for anything other than a plot-driven mystery novel. This book is exactly the kind of page-turner that’s perfect for when you want to read but don’t want to have to meditate on the meaninglessness of life (lookin’ at you, literary fiction). This book had so much that I just adore: teenagers with real, nuanced inner lives; diversity in the characters (in a lot of ways); no guns; complicated families with secrets and histories. I listened to it on audio and it felt like having a British friend tell me about his (admittedly, really terrible) day, so that was a bonus too. –Ashley Bowen-Murphy from The Best Books We Read In March 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/04/04/riot-r... ____________________ When you spend roughly 400 pages with characters and it still doesn’t feel like enough you know you’ve read a great book. Actually, an excellent book. The complexity of the characters weaving in and out of each other’s lives after a bomb on a school trip expertly slices out every human emotion as the true identity of one of the children and her family’s past is brought to light. While a mystery and drama–Bish, suspended from the Met, is roped into looking into who is responsible and finding the kids who have runaway–the book offers wonderful moments of humor and never falls near the territory of tragedy porn. I can only hope I will get to meet these characters again in a future book. —Jamie Canaves from The Best Books We Read In September 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/10/03/riot-r...

  18. 4 out of 5

    K.

    It took me approximately a thousand years to get into this, and I have no idea why. It probably doesn't help that I was reading a book at the same time that turned out to be both boring and confusing and worthy of a two star rating... Anyway. It took me probably 75-100 pages to get into this. Why? Because there are a LOT of characters. And it felt very "Oh no, there's been a bombing. The teenage girl from a Muslim family must be responsible!", which...I was not particularly comfortable with. Than It took me approximately a thousand years to get into this, and I have no idea why. It probably doesn't help that I was reading a book at the same time that turned out to be both boring and confusing and worthy of a two star rating... Anyway. It took me probably 75-100 pages to get into this. Why? Because there are a LOT of characters. And it felt very "Oh no, there's been a bombing. The teenage girl from a Muslim family must be responsible!", which...I was not particularly comfortable with. Thankfully, there's so much more to this story. Bish becomes so much more than a police officer taking on the investigation of the bombing of his daughter's school bus. Violette becomes so much more than the teenage daughter of a Muslim family with a sordid past. The way that Bish's opinions of the LeBrac and Sarraf families change over time is wonderful, particularly with the realisation that his mother's family come from Alexandria, as the others do. There's a decent chunk of "middle aged man struggles to understand social media", which was always fairly entertaining, and it's full of twists and turns. The story of the watch made me cry, as did Noor's story and the ending. While the bulk of the story is told from Bish's perspective, we get occasional chapters from other characters, many of whom are diverse. So while it took me a while to get into it, it was totally worth it in the end.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carol - Reading Writing and Riesling

    This one makes it to "The Best of 2016" list - fantastic read! My View: This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it! Deftly created empathetic characters; a strong female cast, women supporting women, family - in all shapes and sizes is a major element in this mystery. Complex – so many contemporary issues are addressed in this novel yet it is not verbose or pretentious or patronising. Heart felt scenarios - I dare you not to have a tear in your eye as you encounter the last few pa This one makes it to "The Best of 2016" list - fantastic read! My View: This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it! Deftly created empathetic characters; a strong female cast, women supporting women, family - in all shapes and sizes is a major element in this mystery. Complex – so many contemporary issues are addressed in this novel yet it is not verbose or pretentious or patronising. Heart felt scenarios - I dare you not to have a tear in your eye as you encounter the last few pages of the book – not tears of sadness but of relief, thankfulness, gratitude...tears for the potential you can visualise. Don’t mistake my commendations as a sign this is a “chick lit” style book – it isn’t! This is an incredibly well written contemporary mystery/thriller with such well-developed characters you feel like you know them! Redemption, forgiveness, hope...it’s all here. I can’t praise this read highly enough. Add this to your book buying list now!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Arielle

    It seems fitting to have read a book that deals so beautifully with issues of violence, hatred, racism and other bigotries, on a day where a violence-inciting, hatred-spewing, racist, sexist and all other forms of bigoted man was announced to be the President of the world's most domineering country. This is a remarkable book in itself - at least, remarkable if you have never read another by Marchetta. If you have, it will come as no surprise that the characters here are completely alive, their re It seems fitting to have read a book that deals so beautifully with issues of violence, hatred, racism and other bigotries, on a day where a violence-inciting, hatred-spewing, racist, sexist and all other forms of bigoted man was announced to be the President of the world's most domineering country. This is a remarkable book in itself - at least, remarkable if you have never read another by Marchetta. If you have, it will come as no surprise that the characters here are completely alive, their responses to the world both plausible and relatable. The racism, xenophobia, hatred and injustice described in this book should not be shocking at this point - the world of Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is the world we live in, right now. Not contemporary in a way that will date over time, but rather become of historical importance. These characters have so much resilience in the face of all these oppressions, and even more remarkably, so much love that it is impossible not to find hope here. Yes, even today. I wish that Marchetta could re-write the world we have woken up in as she has done in Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. I wish she could give us an ending as raw, beautiful and hopeful as she has here, an ending that is more of a new beginning. Instead we have woken up to find that this nightmare of Orwellian (or Huxleyian) proportions is not only continuing, but now seemingly worse than imagined. Yes, respond with anger, and with grief - but don't let those emotions turn to hatred and despair. This is not the first time this has happened, or the only place it is happening in this world. Look at the South African universities now, at Brexit, at the European far right and the Australian refugee horrors. There is so much work to do and Trump is only a part of it. Keep reading Melina Marchetta. Read Ursula le Guin. N.K Jemisin and Chimimanda Ngozi Adiche and Helen Oyeyemi. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Terrence Hayes, Charles de Lint, China Mieville, Marjane Satrapi, Julie Otsuka, Atwood, Orwell, Huxley, Wynne Jones. Read anyone you can who confronts the world as it stands, whether with humour, rage, compassion. Challenge a world where Trump can win.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kupersmith

    Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil has been labelled Melina Marchetta's ‘adult debut’ - that sounds like a patronising put-down from a genre snob. Along the Jellicoe Road is a superb work of fiction that exceeds the highest standards of maturity & literacy, as well of being amongst the very best novels with a school settings by a contemporary novelist. Megan Abbott’s Dare Me excels for intensity and drive, Tana French’s The Secret Place in pathos, but only Patrick Gale’s Friendly Fire matches the s Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil has been labelled Melina Marchetta's ‘adult debut’ - that sounds like a patronising put-down from a genre snob. Along the Jellicoe Road is a superb work of fiction that exceeds the highest standards of maturity & literacy, as well of being amongst the very best novels with a school settings by a contemporary novelist. Megan Abbott’s Dare Me excels for intensity and drive, Tana French’s The Secret Place in pathos, but only Patrick Gale’s Friendly Fire matches the scope, depth, and beauty of Jellicoe and its protagonist Taylor Markham. But with TTSD Melina Marchetta moves into unfamiliar terrain, with a middle-aged English (tho’ not quite entirely English - grandfather was Egyptian and his Christian name is Bashar, hence Bish) policeman as its principal character, set in England and France (I found out that if an Englishwoman gives birth in the Channel Tunnel the child’s legal birthplace is Folkestone!) including the notorious Calais ‘Jungle’. Fear of ‘Islamic terrorism’ and its effects on innocent families is the main theme that drives the story. I’d held off writing this review because I found it so hard to get my mind around all that’s going on in this brilliantly wide-ranging book, fortunately the National Library of Australia came to my aid with this synopsis. ‘Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he's no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish's daughter is one of those on board. Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette's part in the French tragedy can be established she disappears. Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac's arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.’ Reflecting on this book after I finished, I was struck by how much it reminded me of John le Carre’s spy novels, especially Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, his greatest. Like George Smiley, Bish is a forcibly retired middle-aged officer with a bad marriage whose mode of investigation consists mostly of going about asking questions and hearing stories that ultimately reveal what really happened. Because Bish’s teenage daughter Bee (Sabina) was nearly a victim, the ‘Home Office’ (a couple of spooks named Grazier and Eliott, the latter an old school pal of Bish’s who would be out of his depth in a car-park puddle) deploy Bish to interview the parents and survivors. He encounters massive resistance and refusal to cooperate, especially from Violette, everybody’s favourite suspect, and her mother Noor, the self-confessed perpetrator of a previous atrocity. And his daughter Bee is anything but helpful to the investigation herself, not to mention Bish’s relationship with his estranged ex-wife Rachel, about to give birth to another man’s child. In one respect, tho’, TTSD shows its YA lineage. The teenage characters take all the prizes, for bravery, initiative, resourcefulness (at one point they steal a Salvation Army bus), and loyalty to their friends. They are also physically attractive and fit, especially in contrast to Bee's sodden father Bish. Bee is a junior Olympic calibre runner - that figures in the plot too - as well as speaking much better French. And Violette is even more elusive, able not only to travel from Australia to France undetected, but to remain on the run in London (with a 13 year-old accomplice) for weeks with the entire British anti-terrorist establishment searching for her. At first, because we encounter them through Bish’s eyes, we find the younger characters’ evasiveness, surliness and secretiveness annoying, but long before the book ends we’re dying of envy. The OA characters are equally well-drawn. The most striking is Noor, Violette’s mother, a confessed bomber serving a life tariff at Holloway. She was on the verge of defending her PhD thesis in molecular biology when the atrocity occurred and we discover there are strong reasons for suspecting that her confession was neither truthful nor voluntary. None the less, I found her really obnoxious. She conducts passive-aggression at the level of Blitzkrieg. She constantly whinges about bias against Muslims (“moose-slims”) and about the persecution suffered by her family. Completely understandable. When denied all other means of self-assertion, articulate inmates resort to snarkiness and sarcasm. (The inarticulate refuse to wear uniform and decorate their cells with faeces.) We have long-since learned from Tana French, Alex Marwood, and John le Carre himself (as well as some real IRA convictions) that the authorities are totally corrupt and eagerly stitch-up any likely suspect to close the case and get their solve. Yet, tho’ at times Noor sounds like a recruiting sergeant for ISIS, in this story Bish and even his ‘Home Office’ controllers are genuinely trying to discover the truth and to exonerate the innocent, so ironically we find that if both the teenagers and Noor had been more forthcoming, this book would have been shorter, tho’ not so interesting or insightful. As it turns out, the actual explanation for the bombing is quite unexpected but thoroughly prepared. The manner in which the bus bombing was carried out was subtly clued by the author, tho’ the motive unforeseeable. I must add a word about the audible. The British actor Zaqi Ismail was absolutely brilliant, with a wonderful repertoire of English and foreign dialects. I especially liked his version of Noor’s brother Jimmy (Jamail). His estuary dialect features a glottal stop so strong that ‘daughter’ comes out sounding like ‘door’. Bish’s mother, widow of a minor diplomat, speaks Posh, and Violette mostly Aussie, tho’ she can do Posh or Goth when necessary. The voice of Noor struck me as unlikely, sounding as if her first language were Arabic; I would have expected estuary but more upscale than her brother. But the narrator added hugely to the pleasure, just as did hearing Jellicoe Road with an Aussie voice. After using a huge amount of space, I still feel I’ve said almost nothing about TTSD. But I am tired and need to get this review done. Let me just close by saying that Melina Marchetta has proved she may well be the best contemporary novelist in the English language.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wendy F

    2016 Birdie Book Award Winner Once again I'm blown away by this woman's writing. Melina, I love you. There are times, when writing a review, that you are left feeling like words are just never going to be enough. I consistently feel that way with everything Melina Marchetta writes. I want to convince everyone to read her work so badly. I want to review her books with the same eloquence she writes with, and I just don’t believe I can do it. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil starts off the way mos 2016 Birdie Book Award Winner Once again I'm blown away by this woman's writing. Melina, I love you. There are times, when writing a review, that you are left feeling like words are just never going to be enough. I consistently feel that way with everything Melina Marchetta writes. I want to convince everyone to read her work so badly. I want to review her books with the same eloquence she writes with, and I just don’t believe I can do it. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil starts off the way most Melina Marchetta books start off. With confusion. In that way it reminded me of Jellicoe Road, because I was lost and I wasn’t sure that I even liked it. However, because of how much I ended up loving Jellicoe Road I knew I had to keep reading. I had to trust that it was all leading somewhere special. I really never doubted it, actually. And I was rewarded for my belief, because I cried myself to sleep at 1am finishing this book. Melina took such a horrid subject matter, the racial and religious divide that exists all over, and she turned it into a story of hope. Please don’t get me wrong, the story was not rosy. It didn’t have a perfect ending. They did not live happily ever after. Still, I could believe that with time and work that these characters would get their chance with happiness. Those two strong emotions swirling together is what led to all those tears. There was so much pain, but the idea that there may be a light at the end of the story filled me with so much hope. Just, if you’ve never read Melina Marchetta, please pick one up. If you like Contemporary YA, you’ve got quite a lot of choices. If you prefer Fantasy, read Lumatere Chronicles. If you don’t like YA at all, read Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. There is literally something for everyone, so please please read her work. Thank you to Mulholland Books, via NetGalley, for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Read this review and others like it at Badass Book Reviews!

  23. 5 out of 5

    MarciaB - Book Muster Down Under

    I’ve wanted to read a Melina Marchetta book for a number of years now but time just hasn’t allowed for it. So, it was with anticipation that I opened this latest (her debut novel for adults) as I loved the premise of the novel and the fact that the blurb alluded to “suspense and heart-rending drama” – two of my favourite elements in fiction. The novel opens with suspended Chief Inspector Bashir “Bish” Ortley receiving a telephone call informing him that his daughter, Bee, has been caught up in th I’ve wanted to read a Melina Marchetta book for a number of years now but time just hasn’t allowed for it. So, it was with anticipation that I opened this latest (her debut novel for adults) as I loved the premise of the novel and the fact that the blurb alluded to “suspense and heart-rending drama” – two of my favourite elements in fiction. The novel opens with suspended Chief Inspector Bashir “Bish” Ortley receiving a telephone call informing him that his daughter, Bee, has been caught up in the midst of a bus bombing in Calais, France. With his mother, Saffron, accompanying him, they make their way across the channel - thankfully, Bee is unharmed but there are others who haven’t been so lucky. When he recognises the name of another passenger, Violette LeBrac, his senses go on high alert because he and the LeBracs have a long history of acquaintanceship through the criminal justice system but before he has an opportunity to question her, she, along with one of the other students, Eddie Conlon, disappear. Left to figure out if the bombing was an act of terror and Violette the perpetrator, Bish is immediately drawn into the investigation, albeit in his personal capacity as a father acting as a liaison between the French police and the children’s parents. He soon finds himself taking instructions from the Home Office and as he tries to find the missing Violette and her companion, he uncovers some discrepancies in the historical case of a supermarketing bombing carried out by Violette’s grandfather, once again coming face-to-face with her imprisoned mother, Noor LeBrac. It is during the investigation that the conflict in his personal life comes into sharp focus and he begins to realise that he’s only half the man he used to be – still grieving the loss of his son, angry at the loss of his ex-wife to another man and seeking solace in the bottle, Bish also needs to put to bed the issues he has with his mother’s indifference towards him as a child as well as try and figure out his daughter’s distant behaviour towards him. As mentioned at the beginning of this review, I loved the premise of this novel, so I was somewhat disappointed when I got off to a bit of a slow start. Something just hooked me though so I persisted and I’m so glad that I did because at about 25% of the way in I got the connection with the characters that I was looking for! In addition to the main plot regarding the investigation, Melina Marchetta has layered her story with some great side plots that explore the complex relationships between her characters - those between fathers and daughters, ex-husbands and wives and mothers and sons - making it more than just another crime novel. Whilst Bish may sound like a stereotype – divorced, still grieving the loss of his son, drowning his sorrows in a bottle and recently suspended from his job at the London Met (for reasons which become clearer along the way) – he is far from that and by the end of the book, he has come almost full circle. The things that struck me most are Melina's unfailing ear for dialogue – especially with regard to her teenage characters – and her wry wit had me snorting with laughter a number of times. At the heart of the story though is a feeling of general resentment towards the Muslim culture that has become all too familiar since the terror attacks of 11 September 2001 and Melina paints an unflinchingly honest picture of the times that we live in, where we have all possibly been guilty of stigmatising people based on colour and religion. A morally complex tale that is rich with authenticity, this is, on the one hand a crime novel, but on the other, it’s about the relationships and the lives of those involved with Melina exploring family, marriage and repressed grief as well as the symptoms of racial prejudice such as fear, intolerance, segregation, racial profiling, displacement and discrimination. Despite my slow start, Melina Marchetta is a great storyteller and this novel is very definitely worth a read. I look forward to reading more from her.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Elliott

    Melina Marchetta is known mostly as an author of very successful young adult novels (the best known perhaps is Looking for Alibrandi and though Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a crime and mystery novel in which the story is seen through adult eyes, it is mostly driven by what happens to the many teenage characters, all vividly and sympathetically portrayed - even the hard and nasty ones. Marchetta's take on terrorism, bombings, racism and broken families is, amazingly, never bleak. Its often q Melina Marchetta is known mostly as an author of very successful young adult novels (the best known perhaps is Looking for Alibrandi and though Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a crime and mystery novel in which the story is seen through adult eyes, it is mostly driven by what happens to the many teenage characters, all vividly and sympathetically portrayed - even the hard and nasty ones. Marchetta's take on terrorism, bombings, racism and broken families is, amazingly, never bleak. Its often quite funny, mostly thanks to the teenagers and quite often offers hope for relationships that had been fractured or lost. It's a terrific read, hard to put down. Recommended for both mature and young adults. https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    The book begins a boom literally: a school bus with high school students explodes in a parking lot in France. A suspended British Metropolitan cop Bashir Bish rushes to the scene because his daughter was on the bus. Also on the bus was a 17-year old Arabic girl, Violette Zidane, who turns out to be the daughter of a notorious bomber. When she and a 13-year old boy disappear, they become the primary suspects. Bish is asked by the Home Secretary to find the pair and solve the heinous crime. The bo The book begins a boom literally: a school bus with high school students explodes in a parking lot in France. A suspended British Metropolitan cop Bashir Bish rushes to the scene because his daughter was on the bus. Also on the bus was a 17-year old Arabic girl, Violette Zidane, who turns out to be the daughter of a notorious bomber. When she and a 13-year old boy disappear, they become the primary suspects. Bish is asked by the Home Secretary to find the pair and solve the heinous crime. The book does an admirable job around race, politics, and how terrorism affects people. Bish, his mother, his ex-wife, and his daughter, Violette, and her imprisoned mother are very well developed, each with inherent flaws. However, there are too many characters, especially Violette's family. I was also bored at several points, and think the book could have been tightened up considerably. 3.49 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erk

    ***3.75 STARS*** Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil was a book my sister bought randomly one day. Then one morning she chucked it on my bed and said “You need to read this, I was up until 1am finishing it!”. So I moved it to the top of my TBR list. Now, my sister and I have VERY different reading tastes but I thought I’d give this one a chance. This book follows Bish Ortley who is/was an inspector for the London Met. He was suspended due to an alcohol problem but soon after a busload of British kids ***3.75 STARS*** Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil was a book my sister bought randomly one day. Then one morning she chucked it on my bed and said “You need to read this, I was up until 1am finishing it!”. So I moved it to the top of my TBR list. Now, my sister and I have VERY different reading tastes but I thought I’d give this one a chance. This book follows Bish Ortley who is/was an inspector for the London Met. He was suspended due to an alcohol problem but soon after a busload of British kids are the point of attack for a bombing. This was personal to Bish, as his daughter was one of the children on that bus. Violette LeBrac a girl with a troubled past was also on that bus. It was thirteen years ago when her grandfather bombed a London Supermarket. Her mother (Noor) is currently in prison serving a life sentence as it was said she had a connection with the supermarket bombing. Before anyone can confront Violette on the school bus bombing she has disappeared. Bish makes it his personal task to find out who is responsible for that bomb and to track down Violette as she might hold all the answers. About the first 300 or so pages I found myself either confused or bored. There were so many characters in this book and each character had a story and other characters attached to them. It was very hard to follow in that aspect and I was close to DNF’ing it multiple times because of that. In the end I pushed through and I’m glad I did. This book was originally going to be 3 stars but thanks to the last 80 pages that moved it up to a 3.75. It was just such an insane ending and even if you THINK you know how this book is going to end. Let me tell you… You don’t. SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have not read this book DO NOT read ahead as it’s the spoiler of the whole plot. (view spoiler)[ Ok so. Another reason why this book cannot get more than 3.75 stars is because… You didn’t even find out how or who murdered Violette’s dad… I mean it was hinted towards who did it but why was nothing done? It annoyed me to the ends of the earth. But something that annoyed me EVEN MORE was the fact that again, you don’t even know if Noor (Violette’s mother) was set free, as it’s quite obvious she had nothing to do with that bombing of the supermarket. It was her father and he acted alone. I just felt terrible for Noor and I just wish the Epilogue was a happy ending with her out and with her Child(ren). (hide spoiler)]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    Tragic yet hopeful... my emotions are all over the place. Marchetta never disappoints. Once again Melina Marchetta delivers a profound and brilliant story that is both spell-binding and powerful. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil reads like a movie script in the best possible way. Each scene is depicted so vividly that you’re effortlessly immersed in the moment, and you suddenly lose track of time. This book will definitely land in my top five for 2016. As with her other novels, Melina Marchetta h Tragic yet hopeful... my emotions are all over the place. Marchetta never disappoints. Once again Melina Marchetta delivers a profound and brilliant story that is both spell-binding and powerful. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil reads like a movie script in the best possible way. Each scene is depicted so vividly that you’re effortlessly immersed in the moment, and you suddenly lose track of time. This book will definitely land in my top five for 2016. As with her other novels, Melina Marchetta has a way of crafting a story that is painful, complex and topical. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil deals with subject matters such as the death of a parent and child, divorce, parental incarceration, social profiling, and terrorist attacks to name a few. And, Marchetta tackles these subjects with such bold confidence that as a reader, you simply surrender your imagination to her as she catapults you into her world and takes you on an unforgettable journey. As is her style, Marchetta creates a story that is very character driven. Where with other authors, this technique can become cumbersome and complicated, Marchetta has a way of making the story flow with ease as she introduces new players as the story progresses. What makes her technique work is that she ensures each character carries their weight in the story in an equally important way. There wasn’t one character that I met in this book who didn’t play a vital role in developing the plot and contributing to the flow of events. It was all so carefully crafted and well executed from beginning to end. What amazes me about this author, aside from her true gift of creativity, is Marchetta’s ability to effortlessly dabble in several genres with resounding success. She demonstrated her skill with children’s novels, contemporary young adult, fantasy young adult and now adult contemporary/drama. Proving her writing skills have no boundaries, I can’t wait to see what Marchetta creates in her next adventure.

  28. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    one of my favourite authors praised this book, and i am so relieved to find that i was not disappointed. i keep forgetting how much i enjoy mystery/thriller, so this was pleasant read on all fronts. also, i now feel as if i made a terrible career choice and missed out on the amazing adventures of criminal investigation. its not too late to change, right? RIGHT?! 3.5 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    emma

    im going to put my reaction in spoilers because i don't want to ruin anything about this (view spoiler)[ OH MY GOD IM CRYING MELINA MARCHETTA HAS KILLED ME ONCE AGAIN THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING (hide spoiler)] im going to put my reaction in spoilers because i don't want to ruin anything about this (view spoiler)[ OH MY GOD IM CRYING MELINA MARCHETTA HAS KILLED ME ONCE AGAIN THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING (hide spoiler)]

  30. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    "Marchetta's new book will be called, 'Shaming the Devil'. It's not based in Australia and it's not based in the US. It's also not a YA novel and it was labelled by her agent as a 'literary-thriller'. I would describe the plot but the details are lost on me now and I don't want to make a mistake."(x) QUEEEEEEEEEEEEE ME MUERO NUEVO LIBRO DE MELINA MARCHETTA (y quizás haya libro de JIMMY HAILER. FREAKING. JIMMY. HAILER) "Marchetta's new book will be called, 'Shaming the Devil'. It's not based in Australia and it's not based in the US. It's also not a YA novel and it was labelled by her agent as a 'literary-thriller'. I would describe the plot but the details are lost on me now and I don't want to make a mistake."(x) QUEEEEEEEEEEEEE ME MUERO NUEVO LIBRO DE MELINA MARCHETTA (y quizás haya libro de JIMMY HAILER. FREAKING. JIMMY. HAILER)

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