The Moment of Truth Review
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Former drug dealer Maurice Ousley seems to have turned his life around. In addition to playing for the NBA and being voted into the All-Star Game, he’s a CPA who owns an upscale barbershop and a car wash and volunteers at the Boys Club. He’s in a serious relationship with a beautiful professional chef, Gabrielle, and he’s about to propose. However, the past revisits him, and, through no doing of his own, he could lose it all.

Just when he’s ready to pop the question to Gabrielle at an upscale restaurant, he discovers a secret that she’s been hiding from him. As with so many things, it’s not the secret itself but the lie that he finds disconcerting. He wonders if he can really trust her.

In an attempt to blow off steam and think things over, he goes to a party to celebrate the All-Star Weekend. When his driver comes to pick him up and take him home, he finds that he’s not alone. He becomes the captive of a fugitive who kidnapped his stepfather a year earlier, though it could have something to do with his biological dad, whom he hasn’t seen for years.

  
 
Through all that goes on, Maurice has to search his soul, let go of grudges, and learn what’s really important in life. I wish that were the point of the story, but it’s not. Neither is the basketball setting, for those of you who hate sports. The point is in the suspense, which is where I was eventually let down.

In most thrillers, there are plausible scenarios and suspects who could have a bearing on the story. You read in anticipation, eager to find out who is the actual culprit or accomplice and which events lead to the motive of the crime. The Moment of Truth did keep my interest, but it was only because I was trying to figure out how so many unrelated events and unlikely characters could have an effect on the outcome. In fact, there are so many characters that I actually had to keep a scorecard of all of them—a waste of time, since most of the characters don’t really have anything to do with the crime. Neither do all of the extraneous flashbacks. What turned out to be merely fluff left me feeling cheated.

The characters, meanwhile, have no depth. Maurice seems too perfect, as I alluded to earlier, and I prefer characters with at least a little mud on their hands.

Author Mark O’Neal does manage to swing a carrot in front of readers in the epilogue. Is that enough to save the story? Probably not, but many—myself included—may be tempted to glance at the sequel, if there is one, to finds out what happens next.

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