Soon after fifteen-year-old Will Reed and his friend Mason stumble over a corpse in the woods, Will’s ex-con father is arrested for the murder—and it’s Will’s fault. With the police about to close their investigation, Will must discover the identity of the ruthless killer before his father wrongfully goes back to prison.
In the spirit of City of Ember and The Goonies, it’s the discovery of a coded message that starts Will and Mason on an unexpected path of mystery and danger. Will hopes finding an ancient relic will guide him to the truth and prove his father’s innocence. Unfortunately, Will soon learns he isn't the only one searching for this valuable object. It’s a race to follow hidden clues until Will is confronted with a harsh reality. His determination to help his father has jeopardized the lives of the people he cares for. With a cold-blooded killer on his trail, Will must choose between the safety of his friends and family or freedom for his father.
Does Truth Always Lead to Redemption?
By Gary A. Caruso, author of The Dark Side of Truth and Our Souls to Keep
As a young, mischievous boy, most of my search for redemption was really just temporary forgiveness. A simple, heart-felt apology kept me from being grounded on weekends. That was probably because I didn’t do anything very serious. Sure I drove my parents and teachers crazy, and I even hit that girl in the nose with a chalk eraser. I swear I was aiming for my friend across the room. No apology would have saved me that time. The sight of red blood and white chalk was dramatic, which of course led to a dramatic suspension.
I didn’t understand that true redemption didn’t come from a creative excuse, a quick joke, or the laughter from my friends. As I struggled to correct my life’s path in a positive direction, I learned that redemption didn’t come from my parents or my teachers. My redemption was personal, and it only came after I was willing to acknowledge the truth about me—that the person I was creating was no more than the sum of my actions, even the small, mischievous ones. For me, this truth led to my own redemption.
But what if I had done something horrible, something mindlessly stupid that changed someone else’s life forever? What if my actions meant that someone innocent might go to prison—or worse?
In The Dark Side of Truth, Will Reed is faced with this situation. And the person’s life he affects is his estranged, ex-con father. After finding a corpse in the woods, Will accidentally leaves physical evidence on the body which leads the police to his father. For Will, redemption is firmly bounded to the truth. Who really committed the murder?
Yet, redemption is personal for Will. He doesn’t seek to remove the weight of guilt from his shoulders. For Will, redemption isn’t self-serving. It isn’t about feeling better or breathing easier. Freedom and safety for his father is the only redemption Will can accept. The truth can lead to redemption in either situation, but, just like you and me, Will gets to choose what redemption means for him.
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