9296582.795 Yorke, Margaret ALMOST THE TRUTH A routine burglary turns to rape, and then something even uglier, when Hannah Jarvis, who can't forgive her father, Derek, for counseling submission instead of fighting to save her, withdraws from him and men and the world. The coppers have long locked up junior burglar Barry Carter and his senior partner, Morris Black, of course, but time marches on, as it does in Yorke's remorseless chronicles of middle-class disaster (Dangerous to Know, 1994, etc.), and five years later, Barry has discharged his debt to society and is turned back to the world. By this time, Derek and Janet Jarvis have drifted into divorce; imperious Janet, her daughter's only support during the traumatic months after the rape, has bought a dress shop and coasted from early success into bankruptcy and a job tending bar. Meanwhile, inoffensive Derek, stung by his daughter's rejection, has resolved on a murderous revenge. Yorke makes all this rise-and- fall nonaction—the passage of time while her unwitting characters wait for the real action they're sure is just around the corner—riveting, not through the violence of her characters' behavior (though Barry, released from prison, offhandedly proves that his initial rape was no fluke) but through the clipped, propulsive rhythms of her prose, which suggests both the surgeon's knife and the voice of doom. Is it too late for wily veteran Yorke to enjoy the crossover success of her mordant spiritual cousins Julian Symons and Ruth Rendell? Time, as Yorke might sniff, will tell.
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