Sliver of Truth Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Sliver of Truth

Ridley Jones is searching for her "dead" father and many men and women lose their lives along the way. After picking up photographs from her local photography shop, Ridley Jones is accosted on the street by an FBI agent, Dylan Grace. He demands to see the photographs she has picked up. Dragging her down to FBI Headquarters, Dylan shows Ridley a dark shadow in all of her photograph's of a man who resembles her father, Max Smiley.
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Max was killed several years ago and prior to his death, Ridley found out he is not who she thought he was. Max was her father, but she knew him as her uncle. He is the creator of Project Rescue, a group created to steal children from low income, abusive homes and place them in wealthy, respectable homes. He also has ties to the Albanian mob, a violent temper and has killed probably hundreds of woman.

Ridley, interrogated by Dylan, insists that Max is dead; that she spread his ashes over the Brooklyn Bridge. Dylan doesn't believe her, and then informs her that a magazine writer was killed. She had been working on a story about Project Rescue. Ridley claims she knows nothing about this and takes off when he releases her.

Ridley begins her own investigation of her father by questioning the assistant to the woman who was killed, and her aunt. She wants to be sure that Max was dead. When his body was retrieved, his face had been smashed in and her aunt had confirmed it was him. Her aunt warns her to watch her back, before she ends up like the magazine writer. She also questions Max's cousin, who tells her some upsetting information. When Max was a child, his mother had been killed and his father stood trial for it. He was convicted to life in jail. Max's cousin tells her that he saw Max killing his own mother with his fists and he threatened him not to tell anyone. After Max's father went to prison, Max moved in with Ben Jones, Ridley's stepfather. Ben and Max were raised as brothers and are just as close. Ben also was part of Project Rescue.

Searching through her father's e-mail to find information on Max, Ridley stumbles across a website that has a red screen on it. Not sure what it is, she leaves and goes to her boyfriend, Jake's apartment. At his apartment, there is blood on the floor and the red screen from the mysterious website is on his computer only this time there is a live stream being broadcast from London. Dylan shows up at Jake's apartment and tells her that he is wanted in the murder of her aunt. She denies that Jake has anything to do with it. Leaving Jake's apartment, she receives a mysterious text that tells her to meet at the Cloisters at 8:00.

Ridley often visits her father's apartment and does so now. It has been virtually left as it was. Ridley searches the apartment after she smelled Max's aftershave as well as finding the shower warm and moist. She finds, under a clay pot she made for him, a lock that requires a key. She doesn't have the key. She also finds matchbook in his dresser drawer that has the name Angel on the inside of it.

Ridley makes an appointment with the magazine writers, assistant. She meets her at a café and when their meeting is over, she is shot on the street by a man in a dark coat and hat. Ridley chases after him and finds the gun. She turns that in to the police. Ridley is kept in police custody until Dylan bails her out. Dylan questions her as well on the death of her aunt and Jake's involvement. Ridley swears he didn't do it.

Ridley meets up with Gary, a computer genius. Ridley wants him to investigate the mysterious red screen and let her know what it is. Gary says he will on the condition that he gets an interview from her. She agrees.

Afraid with so many people following her or turning up dead, Ridley cuts her hair short and dyes it blond. Walking down a city street, Jake finally catches up with her. Jake swears he didn't kill her aunt and she believes him. Jake, has always stood by her side when it came to her uncle, since he was a Project baby as well, but now, he is telling her to leave things be – that they can move on from this. They can leave this life behind and move out of the country and start a family. Ridley tells him, she can't, she needs to know if Max is still alive.

Ridley gets a message from Gary, telling her that the website is encrypted and if you put the wrong password in, it will automatically delete all files on the computer. Later, Ridley gets him on the phone and tells her to stay away from the website and leave things alone. It's too dangerous and as he is speaking with her, she hears gurgling on the phone. Gary is dead.

Ridley and Jake go to the Cloisters for the meeting and are ambushed. Both Ridley and Jake are shot and Ridley awakes in a hotel in London. She has no memory of how she got there. Eventually, Dylan shows up with medicine and pain killers.
Slowly her memory returns. She was put on a private airplane and tortured by men wanting to know where her father was. She insists she has no idea.

Leaving the hotel alone, she walks down to the concierge where she passes out. The concierge calls an ambulance for her. Ridley awakes in the hospital with an Inspector Madeline Ellisore by her bedside. Inspector Ellisore convinces Ridley to come clean with all the information she has and to turn herself in to the New York City police. She agrees and confesses everything she knows to this point. The Inspector leaves, telling her to rest.

That night, she hears something outside her hospital door. There is a scuffle and in walks Dylan. Dylan tells her that she needs to get dressed, they are leaving. She can't be protected in the hospital, even though there are two policemen at the door. He tells her, they are coming. As Dylan is convincing her to leave with him, Ridley hears the distinct sound of a gun being shot with a silencer. Dylan grabs his gun and when the shooter walks into her hospital room, he shoots him.   Out in the hall, both policemen and a nurse are dead.

Dylan and Ridley escape and head to a cabin in the woods where they make plans to go to the nightclub on the matchbook. Dylan also hands Ridley a thick folder with Max's name on it. Inside she finds out the true evil he is capable of. He is thought to have killed hundreds of woman with just his hands.

Entering the nightclub, they ask for Angel. Angel turns out to be a hooker who has been sending communications through the mysterious red website to Max. Dylan threatens to kill her if she does not give up her password and log in information.
Ridley and Dylan head to a pizza place and log on to the website. In it, they see a live stream of Max walking to and from the video camera, telling Ridley to go home. They are captured by the CIA while leaving the pizza place.

At CIA headquarters, Ridley learns that Jake is a deep undercover CIA Agent and that his being her boyfriend had been a ruse to get close to her in order to find Max. They allow Ridley and Dylan go if Ridley helps them find Max. She agrees. Jake tells her they will be tracking her movements and voice through her phone. Dylan loses his job at the FBI, for going rogue. No one at the FBI knew he was working in the field on this case. Ridley's father, Ben, is also questioned about Max, but gives up no information except that he has been communicating with him through the red screen website.

Arriving back home, every move she makes is followed by the CIA, FBI, the police and the Albanian mafia. Ridley agrees to meet with her father when he calls to see her. When her father leaves she realizes he left a key in her pocket.
Ridley tells Dylan what the key is for and they need to go to Max's apartment. Ditching the CIA by leaving her phone in the basement of a local pizza place, they make their way to Max's apartment. She puts the key in the lock under the little clay pot and finds a folder inside. Dutch, the apartment buildings concierge, is standing behind them, with another man, demanding what they have found. Pointing a gun at them, he demands they turn the folder over to him. Ridley is shocked at Dutch's behavior. He always seemed so nice to her and he's known her since she was a little girl. Dutch tells Ridley, that it has nothing to do with her, that this is business. He worked as Max's clean up guy but since he has “died” he hasn't been making the money he once was and had to turn to where the money was. The Albanian Mafia.

Hands tied behind their backs, Dutch knocks they both out. Arriving at a new destination, Dutch ties their feet and sits them in chairs in front of a computer monitor. Ridley begs to be let loose, but Dutch refuses. He tells her to shut up and when she doesn't he shoots Dylan in his leg. After sitting for hours, Dutch comes in again to release them. When Dutch stands up, he drops something in her pocket.

Dutch takes them to Potters Field and they wait for Max. Max finally arrives. Dylan is able to kill his captor and Ridley uses the knife Dylan dropped in her pocket to free herself from the tight hold her captor has on her throat. All at once, Potters Field is lit up with helicopters and CIA agents. Ridley grabs her captors' gun and runs to Max. From behind, she hears Jake telling her not to do it. Ridley wants to kill Max but is unable to do it. She lets him go and he escapes in a helicopter. She realizes that she is not evil like Max.

The CIA is angry he got away, but is satisfied with the folder that they retrieved from Ridley's and Dylan's captors. The information contained in the folder reveals many Albanian and terrorist contacts and what their crimes are.

Jake apologizes to Ridley for deceiving her and tells her that it meant something to him. She accepts his apology but is glad she'll never see him again. Ridley and Dylan begin dating and are enjoying getting to know one another better.

Back at home, she realizes what Max meant when he told her to go home. He meant for her to go to her parent's home, to their secret hideout spot in the woods. Once there, she finds a letter from Max, telling her he loves her and that she is the best part of him. He makes no apology for who he is, or what he's done, but tells her he will be able to find her anywhere.
Best part of story, including ending: I didn't care too much for this story because at first it was difficult to get into. I found the book to flip between current time, and past time too much and the story wasn't always being told in chronological order. I also did not care for when the author put extraneous information in parenthesis. I found it intruding.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was at the end, when Ridley had the opportunity to shoot her father and couldn't.

Opinion about the main character: I found that Ridley thought too much, was ignorant and did not use her brain. A lot of things could have been avoided if she did.

The review of this Book prepared by Karenann Knotoff a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of Sliver of Truth

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   chased by criminals who want their money/treasure back General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Amnesia story?    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   crazed lover/family member

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York    -   London

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Lisa Unger Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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