A Book Spy Review: ‘The Truth About The Devlins’ by Lisa Scottoline


New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline is back with another pulse-pounding domestic thriller that explores lies, deceit, broken bonds, and the eventual unraveling of a family dynasty.

Thomas Jefferson “TJ” Devlin has always been the black sheep of his family. That tends to happen when everyone else, parents and siblings, become prominent attornies who all work for their own law firm, and you’re a recovering alcoholic who ended up on the wrong side of the law and is still on parole. That’s TJ, whose own past is so damaging that he’s remained unemployed sans a position created just for him at Devlin & Devlin, his family’s firm, where he is now the lead “investigator.” It’s a rather hollow title for TJ, who knows he’s a disappointment in the eyes of his family. They’re all perfect, and he’s not. Or are they?

TJ’s perception of his family changes drastically when his oldest brother, John, comes to him and confesses that he killed a woman named Neil Lemaire. As it turns out, Neil, who was an accountant for one of D&D’s clients, a high-profile electronics company, has dug up some dirt on John’s financial handlings. Together, John and TJ head to the crime scene, hoping to conceal John’s involvement in the woman’s death, but are shocked when they find no dead body. Not only is there no body, but there’s nothing to indicate a crime, let alone a murder, even took place. It’s a strange revelation but one that is initially comforting. That is until Neil’s body turns up a day later, which leads to people asking questions. Desperate to keep his own name clean, John, the All-American golden boy of the family, points the finger at TJ, who he swears fell off the wagon and relapsed. It’s a lie, as TJ has managed to stay sober for two years, but of course, nobody believes him. So when things begin to start spiraling out of control for the Devlins, rather than willingly falling on the sword and allowing himself to be scapegoated in order to pay for sins he didn’t commit, TJ fights back by doing some actual investigating. What he uncovers, though, horrifies him—and leaves him questioning everything he thought he knew about his family.

Lisa Scottoline, always a sure bet to keep readers on the edge of their seats, skillfully combines fascinating elements of family drama, suspense, and crime in her latest expertly crafted thriller. While the mystery at the heart of the story itself doesn’t exactly produce a shocking twist, Scottoline has never needed to structure her work like an actual whodunit. No, her specialty lies within her ability to develop characters, something she does better than just about anyone. Here, the bulk of her genius plays out through TJ’s arc, which, in a lot of ways, feels like a combination of Yellowstone’s Jamie Dutton and Rip Wheeler. He’s always misunderstood. Always the outcast. Yet still loyal, and desperate to be accepted. The more we learn about him, as Scottoline slowly peels those layers back, it’s hard to not feel bad for the guy who has never been accepted in his own family. Then again, he for sure has his faults, and he’s messed up more than once. So in that regard, some of the disdain he faces is certainly of his own doing. On the other hand, TJ has owned his wrongdoing and even did jail time in the past to atone for it. Now he just wants to redeem himself to the family he loves. But when that image of who the Devlins project to be is called into question, and that facade slowly chips away, TJ finds himself reeling, searching desperately for answers . . . and for his place in life. Again, Scottoline puts on a masterclass for character development, but she also weaves in plenty of suspense to go with. Even if you suss out the end game early, the real magic is in the ride along the way, and Scottoline knows how to keep her readers engaged from beginning to end.

Still at the very top of her game, Lisa Scottoline delivers another compelling thriller with The Truth About the Devins, an irresistible story that dares to explore the fragility of familial ties, the quest for redemption, and the consequences of buried secrets.

Book Details

Author: Lisa Scottoline
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0525539700
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: March 26, 2024



Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and is building a growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” is now available. His second novel, LETHAL RANGE, is also in bookstores, and his third book, OUT FOR BLOOD, comes out on June 4th. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. To interact with other readers and talk about your favorite books and authors, join The Real Book Spy’s Discord server.


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