"Shades of Truth" By James A. Ardaiz: Review/Giveaway

by Daisy Pettles

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review and a link to purchase it.

Some crimes are so heinous that no one wants to relive them. Yet it’s those cases—sensational thrillers, shrouded in more darkness than a human heart ought to witness—that make for the very best pulp for fiction. Shades of Truth, book two of the new Matt Jamison legal thriller series, takes the reader on a twisted ride through such a delightful darkness.

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Image Source Pace Press
I have not read Book one of the Jamison series, but there is enough back story and character bracing detail in Shades of Truth that this did not interfere with either my enjoyment or understanding of the deliciously complex plot presented in Book two.

Shades features the extended cast of characters one would expect to find in any legal thriller: young, noble, likable prosecutor, Matt Jamison, a possibly corrupt DA, a judge whose actions don’t jive with the level of justice the jury demands, a defenseless child pressed to remember her mother’s own murder, and a host of reluctant witnesses. The characters are well drawn, their motivations and personal demons haunting enough to draw in even reluctant readers. It’s an easy book to sink into, encouraging the reader, as it should, to let go of the ordinary and chaotic world in favor of a trip down the halls of California justice, where, by book’s end moral order is certain to reign supreme.

The action begins when Jamison’s boss and political hopeful William Gage, the DA, is forced to re-open a murder case from the 1980s. The chief witness, now thirty years old, was only three at the time of the murder, and now says that she identified the wrong killer, a man who has been locked away for more than two decades.

No one wants the case reopened. Gage certainly wants it gone off his desk again. It falls to Jamison to reopen the case and trace down witnesses, many not eager to revisit their own roles as snitches.

Jamison’s own father, a renowned criminal attorney but a fairly lousy husband and father, was involved in the original case making plea bargains behind the scenes. Jamison is not eager to dig into his father’s own shadowy past, but soon discovers that politics, blind ambition, and shameful secrets may have led his father, as well as a host of others in the DA’s office, to brute force their way to an unjust conviction.

Problems lurk around every cover of the reopened case. Is the chief witness who recanted her testimony telling the truth now or was she then? or is she just the victim of a shady psychologist eager to implant false memories in his client in an effort to soak up the professional limelight?

The old case files are incomplete, records and interviews missing, clueing Jamison that whatever happened decades ago when his father was in charge was likely deliberate. The one item which time has not erased, and which might be able to bear irrefutable witness is crime scene DNA, but only if the evidence locker remains whole and intact, pure and untampered.

Well-crafted cold case legal thrillers can make for toasty reading on a winter day, and that was exactly my experience with James Ardaiz’s second book in the Matt Jamison series.

To enter to win a signed copy of Shades of Truth, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "shades,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 8, 2020. US residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. And if entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, emails are deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Daisy Pettles' humorous cozy series, the Shady Hoosier Detective Agency, set in fictional southern Pawpaw County, won the 2019 Gold Medal as Best Humor Book from the Indie Reader and The Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Book 1: Ghost Busting Mystery, is available as a free audiobook podcast at daisypettles.podbean.com. She invites you to listen and laugh along online..

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This sounds absolutely captivating and I’d love to read it. Thank you for the chance.

  2. This sounds good!

  3. Love these kind of reads, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  4. New author to me. Would really like to read.


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