Friday, September 22, 2017

The Trust

The Trust by Ronald H. Balson
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Hardcover; 368 pages

Book Description:
When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral―a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members?

As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.

My Take:

I really had no idea what to expect from The Trust except that it takes place in Northern Ireland and involved The Troubles - always a fascinating, if sad topic. I was immediately drawn into the story and found Liam Taggart to be a likable and very interesting main character. For some reason I found the fact that he is a private investigator with CIA experience to be really appealing. He is a decent but complicated person.

For the first time in a long time, I wasn't able to predict where the story was going and that was such a pleasant surprise. I found the premise of the novel to be quite intriguing - Liam finds out his uncle has died and left him in charge of finding the killer of this same uncle. So many questions to answer- did his uncle know he was going to be killed? Did he know his killer? If so, why not name the killer? Why Liam, when other family members are closer and some don’t even want Liam there in the first place? The family drama and history is also a very interesting aspect to the novel -- there are so many half-told stories or things just kept secret that it makes for very interesting reading when things are revealed.

I really enjoyed The Trust from start to finish. I appreciated the history of The Troubles that was explained  within the novel so that I didn't have to Google or hunt for my Irish history books to remind myself of dates and details. I found the perspective of the Liam's family regarding the politics of the era to be very interesting. I think the way the novel explains their perspective really makes personal what may seem like dry history otherwise.

There are actually a couple of mysteries/murders for Liam to solve besides his uncle's murder. There were some events in his past when he was working for the CIA during the peace process that maybe weren't quite what he thought they were. There were definitely some questions about his family's actions during the time period that have a bearing on current day as well.

Rather than try to explain more about the intricate and wonderfully entertaining plot, I will just suggest very strongly that anyone who is interested in Ireland, Irish history, loves mysteries and/or thrillers, should definitely read The Trust. I haven't had this much fun reading a book in quite a long time. Balson had me guessing throughout the book and I loved every minute.

About the Author:
RONALD H. BALSON is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator, and writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues. He is also the author of Karolina's Twins, Saving Sophie, and the international bestseller Once We Were Brothers.


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