The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard is an enthralling read that highlights a very important issue – human sex trafficking from the Baltic States. The story centres around a uniquely drawn protagonist, Anna, (a successful businesswoman in her forties) who is in Lithuania to visit a clothing factory that supplies her London based fashion company.
The opening scene is vividly drawn, the salty scent of the Baltic sea intermingles with the tang from the resinous pine forests. You can imagine the serenity and beauty of the scene which is then juxtaposed with Anna’s discovery of the murdered girl found alone on the beach. The girl is Margaryta, sixteen years old and wearing only a skimpy dress. Anna becomes involved in her story pushing to get justice for her. The story is important for highlighting sex trafficking, making it known that this is an international problem that affects women across many different states and countries.
Anna is a character for whom her career is her life but she really evolves during this story. She meets Will, a twenty-eight year old journalist and starts to reevaluate her life. A family tragedy makes her realise that work is not everything and that she longs for a child. We learn more about Anna’s life and the reason why she is so guarded and unwilling to trust people. Anna is also extremely tenacious when wanting to find out what has happened to Margaryta and we discover the reasons why she has become so drawn into Margaryta’s story.
The scenes set in Lithuania are very well evoked. There is a noir-ish feel to the story at times which we see in Anna’s scenes in the nightclub and her encounters with the surly Lithuanian Police. There is a real sense of uneasiness that runs through the story. You are never sure who is telling the truth to Anna and who is lying.
Overall, this is a uniquely compelling thriller that brings attention to the real human cost of people trafficking and deserves to be read by many.
Legend Press are excellent at publishing unique fiction about important issues such as PTSD, trafficking, euthanasia and complex family relationships. These stories are compelling reads that highlight the important issues and thus help to increase awareness and understanding of these issues. So Legend Press should be applauded for publishing these stories and let us hope that they light a beacon for other publishing houses to follow. For a glance at their excellent titles, take a look here.