A Shred of Truth

( 4 )

Overview

In The Best of Evil, Aramis Black uncovered family secrets and historical conspiracies, hoping that his own dark past had come to certain resolution. But now, in the dark of night, he finds his brother unconscious and tied to a statue in Nashville’s Music Row …with the initials AX carved into his back.

A shadow from his former life has reappeared, casting threats of violence and retribution. And soon the attacker is swinging his blade of self-righteous judgment directly at ...

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Shred of Truth

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Overview

In The Best of Evil, Aramis Black uncovered family secrets and historical conspiracies, hoping that his own dark past had come to certain resolution. But now, in the dark of night, he finds his brother unconscious and tied to a statue in Nashville’s Music Row …with the initials AX carved into his back.

A shadow from his former life has reappeared, casting threats of violence and retribution. And soon the attacker is swinging his blade of self-righteous judgment directly at Aramis, calling upon him to “face his sins.” Can Aramis finally break free from the guilt of his old ways… or will he succumb to the vengeance of an arrogant sociopath?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for A Shred of Truth

“Mesmerizing! In A Shred of Truth, Eric Wilson delivers a twisting tale of suspense, sorrow, and repentance that will grab you from the start and keep your mind occupied well past the turning of the last page. Aramis Black never looked so good. Warning: Reading this book may be hazardous to your sleep cycle!”
–Sharon Carter Rogers, critically-acclaimed author of Sinner and Two Graces

“Eric Wilson can flat-out write!”
–Creston Mapes, author of Nobody

A Shred of Truth serves up another cup of addictive suspense from author Eric Wilson.  The adventures of Aramis Black read like successive shots of adrenaline, offering readers fresh takes in Christian suspense.”
–Sibella Giorello, author of The Stones Cry Out

“Eric Wilson possesses a profound power of prose and dialogue that kept me riveted to the last, remarkable page. A great work from one of our most extraordinary writers of suspense.”
–James Byron Huggins, author of A Wolf Story, The Reckoning, and Leviathan

“Wilson has done it again! A Shred of Truth is a highly textured, superbly crafted story that will resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned.”
–Brandt Dodson, author of Original Sin, Seventy Times Seven and The Root of All Evil

“Eric Wilson continues to amaze me with every novel. A Shred of Truth grabs you at the first page and never lets go. From a hero who is flawed yet admirable to the demented evil out to destroy him, Wilson has given us his best work yet.”
–Brian Reaves, author of Stolen Lives


“Now that I’ve had my second cup of coffee with my favorite bad-boy turned java-shop host, I’m hooked on Aramis Black. A Shred of Truth gives us a heaping spoonful of terrific writing, a double-dollop of historical intrigue, and a custom blend of danger, mystery, and family drama. Is there any question that Eric Wilson is one of the best suspense writers around? Not by me–I’m ordering another cup!”
–Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578569120
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/17/2007
  • Series: Aramis Black Mystery Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Wilson is the author of Dark to Mortal Eyes, Expiration Date, and the first book in the Aramis Black series, The Best of Evil. He lives with his wife, Carolyn Rose, and their two daughters in Nashville, Tennessee.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Put to the test, Johnny Ray Black failed and got cut–a literal, skin-splitting ordeal at the hands of a killer. One minute he was mingling with producers and industry insiders, drinking Jack Daniel’s, and giving an acoustic performance of his first Top Ten single, “Tryin’ to Do Things Right.” The next he was bound to a statue and bleeding.

Still alive though. Thank God.

It was supposed to be a celebration. A party for the rising star. In a park at the north end of Nashville’s Music Row, I jostled elbows with his fans while bursting with pride. After years of honing his skills and playing small shows, my older brother had beaten the odds by signing with an independent label and charting a hit single.

He’d made a mistake, however, by admitting his weakness for redheads in an Entertainment Weekly interview.

She came to him that Friday evening in Owen Bradley Park. A test in red.

Beneath a moon turned soft and buttery by Middle Tennessee’s humidity, propped on high heels, she nudged between caterers in ruffled white shirts and bypassed the open bar. I’m told she wore a shimmering dress. She managed to evade my attention–a minor miracle, but recent experiences have made me wary of the opposite sex–and brushed up to Johnny as he finished his acoustic set.

Coy smiles. A whisper. Johnny finished another shot of Jack, then stumbled off with her beneath tree branches strung with party lights, toward the darkness of the nearby ASCAP Building.

I didn’t realize he was missing till a half hour later. Considering it was his own party, his disappearance was a bad publicity move. Where was his manager anyway? I’d seen Samantha Rosewood hurry away minutes earlier with a cell phone pressed to her ear, eyebrows knitted in worry.

My gut clenched. What kind of trouble had my brother gotten into this time? I searched the crowd, then stopped near the publicity tent and tried to recall when I’d last spotted him.

“Mr. Aramis Black.” A stubby man appeared in front of me. “You look lost.”

“I’m fine.”

“Bet it’s hard on you.”

“What?” My gaze zeroed in on this slick-haired booking agent, with his goatee and ostrich boots. Every year Music City draws thousands of country music wannabes, easy prey for men such as this. Who’d invited him anyway?

“All the attention your brother’s getting. Must make you jealous.”

“Not at all. He’s worked hard for it.”

“That he has.”

“You know where he is by any chance?”

The agent chuckled. “In the stratosphere, that’s where. And still rising.”

I gave a weak smile, scanned the cluster of partygoers at his back.

“You ever think of sharing the spotlight, maybe singing as a duet?”

“Nope.”

He tapped my chest. “You’ve got the look, my friend. Maybe we should talk.”

“Not gonna happen. Johnny’s the one with the voice and the guitar.”

“What about some harmonies? Think Montgomery Gentry or Brooks and Dunn. Those boys won’t be around forever, and we’re always looking for–”

“I’m not the type.” With a tug on my shirt sleeves, I revealed twin tattoos of banners wrapped around double-edged swords. Live by the Sword on one forearm, Die by the Sword on the other.

“Come on now.” The dude winked–actually, full-on winked at me. “These days, country fans aren’t afraid of a little ink. Why live in your brother’s shadow?”

“Go away. Please.”

“Just think of–”

“Before I hurt you.”

“Oh. I… Okay.” He swung round and bellied his way back into the crowd.

A voice from my right: “Aramis, you got a minute?”

“What now?” I turned to find myself face to face with Chigger. The man’s mouth is curled into a perpetual sneer, and we eyed each other like wary boxers. He wore a ball cap, faded jeans over thick legs, and a Lynyrd Skynyrd hoodie. With his good ol’ boy quality and electrifying stage presence, he’s been a mainstay in the country scene for the past couple of years. Come Monday morning, he’d be joining my brother as lead guitarist for the first leg of a national tour.

“Got somethin’ to show ya.”

“Show me then.”

“This your brother’s?” Chigger lifted a black Stetson into view.

“Could be.”

“Found it lyin’ out in plain sight near a bench. Not like Johnny Ray to leave his hat behind, so I figured you might wanna hold on to it till he gets back.”

“From where?”

Chigger shrugged. “Ain’t seen the man since he got up and sang.”

“Me neither.” I took the hat, noted the initials JRB inside. “Appreciate it.”

Chigger nodded and moved on without another word. I wandered toward the sidewalk that edged the park, my fingers rubbing the Stetson’s brim. Jagged flaps in the material signaled to me that something was wrong. On a roundabout across the street, spotlights pointed up at a forty-foot statue, and I examined the hat against their glow.

Five slices in the brim, two letters: Through the narrow slits, my brother’s form came into sudden focus. He was tied to the statue, chin down, golden brown hair glued by sweat to his neck.

“Johnny?”

Dread tightened its grip around my stomach.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Aramis discovers his wounded brother and wonders if it is "retribution of some sort, my sins coming back to haunt my family." Do you think he's right? In what ways have past mistakes "haunted" your own life?

2. Detective Meade tells Aramis that "a price must be paid for wrongs committed." Do you believe this is true in the judicial system? In the emotional sense? In a spiritual dimension?

3. In the first part of the book, did you begin to suspect what AX might stand for? How did your suspicions change as the story moved along?

4. Aramis has some conflicted emotions in his reunion with an old girlfriend. Have you ever had such conflicts? Did you agree or disagree with his responses in the museum? At the hotel?

5. In Newmann's classroom, he challenges students to see through cultural lies and deceptions. Describe a time you fell for an urban legend or rumor?

6. At one point, Aramis tells his readers: "I, too, knew the sting of father's blow and his glare of his disdain. Violence wasn't something I'd learned from TV or the Xbox." What do you think about this statement, in regards to ugly incidents we see on the news?

7. Throughout the book, Aramis shows a rough side still needed to be polished. Yet we also see a soft side. What particular scenes helped you see this aspect of his personality?

8. Sammie Rosewood is a financial partner with Aramis. In what ways did you see their relationship change through the course of the book?

9. Aramis doesn't care much for his brother's guitar player. When he meets Trish, he discovers things about Chigger he didn't know. Did these discoveries give you more empathy for Chigger?

10. Mr. Hillcrest expresses a religious piety that is laced with anger. In what ways have you seen that same self-righteousness exhibited? Have you ever thought similar things toward others?

11. In one dream, Aramis imagines he's a Knight Templar. What symbolism did you see in this scene, relating to his own life or to the unveiling of the story's mystery?

12. Aramis is told by his attacker that we must all "die to the old self." This is a concept taken from the Bible. In what ways is it twisted by that attacker's misconceptions about God and forgiveness? In what ways does it apply to Aramis? Does it have any application in your own life?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read!

    The second book in the Aramis Black series, and just as good as the first! This book had me on the edge of my seat. I really love Eric's work and I really love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    The Struggle

    We first met Aramis Black in The Best of Evil. We learned of his dark past, his tattooed forearms a constant reminder. Live By The Sword, Die By The World. After experiencing divine intervention at gunpoint, Aramis turned his life over to God. He moves far away from his former life and now reads the Bible, prays, runs a coffee shop--a tribute to his late mother. And his past came back to haunt him. As book two, A Shred of Truth, unfolds, Aramis learns there's more past to outrun. He finds his brother strapped to a stature and bloodied by the markings AX sliced into the man's back. Thus begins the continuing saga of Aramis Black. And the constant struggle to separate truth from lies, darkness from light, sin from righteousness. Having read each of Eric's novels I can honestly say this is his best to date. With each novel I've witnessed the growth of one of today's cutting edge novelists. His prose has never been tighter, more laced with emotion that the reader feels within themselves as they read. His weaving in of history never takes you out of the present immediate danger Aramis is in. And with all that goes wrong, a sliver of hope shines through along the way. I've come to really like this cast of characters. If by chance you haven't read The Best of Evil 'shame on you', have no worries. Though part of a series, this novel stands on its own as Eric guides us through the events mingling in tidbits of the past as needed and never slowing us down. I hope to see more of Aramis Black in future novels. For now, we have the upcoming novelization of Facing The Giants and a new series beginning next year unlike anything you've seen before. I, for one, can't wait. I'll save you a space in line at the bookstore.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    Aramis Black returns in A SHRED OF TRUTH, a new novel by Eric Wilson. Aramis first appeared in Wilson's BEST OF EVIL. In that novel, Aramis had to overcome a dark past and the evil surrounding his mother's death. He got the 'best of evil' by granting forgiveness to those who wronged him. In the newest novel, Aramis is still running his coffee shop, still working with the elegant and beautiful Samantha Rosewood, and still fighting to relinquish the ways of his past. Johnny Ray Black, Aramis's brother, is a rising country music star. The novel opens at a party/concert where Johnny is seduced by a beautiful redhead. Aramis later finds Johnny tied to a statue with the letters 'AX' carved into his back with a razorblade. About ready to go on tour, Johnny is too busy to deal with the assault, so Aramis talks to Detective Meade, a friend from the previous novel. Meade agrees to help Aramis search for the mysterious slasher and Meade says it may be related to the death of a homeless woman the year before. Soon Aramis begins receiving cryptic messages, and one message reveals a shocking truth about his past. Aramis vows to confront this tormentor head on, and begins carrying a gun wherever he goes. Aramis wages a constant battle between his new committment to God and his motto that he had lived by for so many years, 'Live by the sword, die by the sword.' Part of the fun in reading a series is that you get to enjoy the characters and setting over several novels. Wilson created many colorful characters in his newest work. Diesel works with Aramis at the coffee shop and also goes to school with him at night. Diesel is a great guy, but has a domineering, scripture quoting father who might just be using Diesel to get to Aramis. Felicia Daly is the beautiful ex-girlfriend that Aramis never got over. She's returned, and is now doing the bidding of AX. Chigger is the redneck guitarist for Johnny Ray, calls himself the 'AxMan,' and threatens Aramis on several occassions. Then of course there is Aramis Black. The novel is in 1st person so the reader sees events through Aramis' point of view the entire novel. Wilson's voice and tone come through in Aramis, a conflicted soul determined to find the truth about his past. In BEST OF EVIL, we learn Aramis was related to Merriweather Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame. His ancestory continues to haunt him in this novel. Wilson weaves a complex plot full of suspicions and sprinked with humor and wit. While I enjoyed this novel, I have a few minor complaints. First, the link between the man harassing Aramis and the history of Merriweather Lewis at times seems out of place for the novel. The premise seems far-fetched. Second, I think this is one of those series where you must read the first book to enjoy the second. Not a bad thing, but if someone reads A SHRED OF TRUTH without knowing it is a sequel, they might be disappointed. A SHRED OF TRUTH is a novel I'd recommend to fans of Brandt Dodson, Brandilynn Collins and anyone else that enjoyes a good mystery/supsense novel. Wilson brings a unique voice to the genre in Aramis Black, a man haunted by his past and determined to have a future shaped by God.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a reviewer

    In Nashville, Aramis Black has come a long way from his ¿Live By The Sword, Die By The World¿ lifestyle. He found God when divine intervention is the only reason he still lives. Now he runs and espresso shop and lives with his half-brother rising country singer Johnny Ray. --- At a gala to celebrate Johnny Ray¿s hit single ¿Trying to Do the Right Thing¿, Aramis searches for his sibling he finds him tied to the statue Musica in nearby Owen Bradley park with the initials AX carved into his back. Later Aramis receives an email from AX to meet in Cheekwood Gardens thinking an eye for an eye he goes there only to find his former lover during the dark days of Portland Felicia Daly there. The case takes several spins with deaths and a return from the grave that keep reminding Aramis of his sins that he thought he had faced, but now knows he has more to confess. --- The sequel to the exhilarating THE BEST OF EVIL is an exciting action-packed thriller that stars an atypical Christian antihero who turns to the Lord for solace, but his gun for protecting those he cherish as he follows the unbelievable clues seeking A SHRED OF TRUTH. The story line is fast-paced and beyond the plausibility zone, but no one will care as the various subplots come together in an entertaining no holds barred climax. Eric Wilson provides a unique Christian thriller due to the one of a kind star. --- Harriet Klausner

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