From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a novel of sexy romantic suspense for fans of Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, and Karen Robards. In her thrill-packed trilogy Cold Truth, Hard Truth, and Dark Truth, Mariah Stewart proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she can brilliantly and suspensefully handle the truth. Can you? Then prepare yourself for the shocking, eye-opening Final Truth, in which a woman who specializes in exposing lies finds herself trapped in a real-life nightmare. All that stands between Lester Ray Barnes and the state of Florida's death chamber is a judge's signature. He is sentenced to die for the rape and murder of a young woman, his conviction hinging on two pieces of evidence: DNA testing and an eyewitness who placed him at the scene. But when the story breaks that the DNA testimony at trial had been fabricated and that the eyewitness was coerced by a cop, all hell breaks loose. In the absence of credible evidence to sustain the conviction, the court is forced to set Lester Ray free. It's the sort of circus the media adore-until it turns into the kind of Grimm's fairy tale the media love even more. Intrigued by the story of a young man railroaded by justice, true-crime writer Regan Landry is drawn into Lester Ray's camp like a moth to a flame. For Regan, writing is a way to stay connected to her late literary-legend father, and her knack for detective work makes her a natural when it comes to uncovering new leads in even the murkiest mysteries. Eager for the spotlight, Lester Ray willingly agrees to work with Regan on a tell-all about his experience as an innocent man on death row. But less than a week after leaving prison, he vanishes from the Sunshine State. Soon after, darkness descends on the outer banks of North Carolina as a string of women are raped and murdered in a frenzied spree. Fearing the worst, Regan, along with Special Agent Mitch Peyton and the FBI, sweeps in to confront the unspeakable: the horrifying possibility that they have helped to free a cunning monster with an insatiable appetite for death-and a ruthless determination never to be caged again. From the Hardcover edition.
In this series finale, true-crime writer Regan Landry helps free a rapist/murderer who seems to have been wrongly convicted. Then she wonders whether she's made a really big mistake. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 29, 2006
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Excerpt from Final Truth by Mariah Stewart
Regan Landry sat cross-legged on the floor of her father's study and thumbed through the contents of a file, one of several she'd brought up from the basement in an unmarked cardboard box earlier that morning. Her father, Josh Landry, internationally renowned bestselling author of true crime books, had been the world's worst record keeper. Almost two years after his death, Regan was still sorting through the boxes of material he'd left scattered throughout his home outside Princeton, New Jersey. So far this past week, she'd uncovered newspaper articles in a box in the attic that related to cases chronicled in the file cabinets in the basement. Not for the first time, Regan rolled her eyes. The man had been the most unorganized person on the face of the earth.
When her cell phone rang, she had to move several piles of newspapers to find it. A glance at the caller ID screen brought a smile to her face.
"So what are you doing on this fine morning in May?" Mitch Peyton asked.
"What am I always doing when I'm at my dad's?" She laughed good-naturedly. "Sorting through files and trying to organize the mess."
"I'd think you'd be used to it by now."
"I don't know why you don't just hire someone to do that for you."
"How would someone else know what to do with all this?" She glanced around the room and frowned.
"You'd tell them. You'd show them what you've done, point them in the direction of the materials that still need to be sorted through, and tell them to follow your lead. If a file exists, file the newly found material in it. No existing file, you make a new one."
"I wasn't aware that the FBI taught a class in Filing 101."
"You'd be surprised what they teach us down here."
"I've seen you at work, Mitch, up close and personal. There's little that you do that surprises me."
"I can see I'm going to have to work on my technique. Can't have the woman thinking she knows all my secrets."
Regan could have replied that Mitch had been an open book right from the start, but she let it pass.
As a special agent with the FBI, Mitch was a member of a distinguished team within the Bureau that sought out the best of the best. But when it came to Regan, there'd been no sign of the wily investigator with crack computer skills that had brought him to the attention of the team leader. Mitch was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve, and had since the first time they'd worked a case together.