Just who was the blue-eyed girl with the red suitcase that forever changed Billy Ray Hutchins life? She called herself Charlene. She told him she didn’t remember anything about her past. Slow-witted, illiterate, Billy Ray took her into his home, an Arkansas mountaintop cabin, and into his heart. She liked Big Dog and she made great biscuits. Charlene and Billy Ray settled into a nice way of life; until the old man moved in across the road.
Arson, murder and mystery wend their way through the pages of this book. Unspeakable acts on innocents; a heart-wrenching crime scene that brings tears to the eyes of a seasoned police chief, false accusations that tear at the very thread of Billy Ray’s existence. When the attorney, Mr. Green, gave up his defense of Charlene, Billy Ray remained doggedly determined to find Only the Truth. Simple in mind and spirit he could see what professional investigators were missing.
It takes great skill, as a writer, to build an unforgettable character like Billy Ray Hutchins. Pat Brown has accomplished a remarkable feat allowing the reader into those special thoughts and emotions. Companion characters like Charlene, Mrs. Covey, the kindly over-the-road trucker, the sheriff and chief of police lend depth and interest to a story well told. The ending seems abrupt, leading the reader to believe we haven’t heard the last of Billy Ray’s story.
I recommend reading Only the Truth not just for its content but for Pat Brown’s unique style of writing. It’s refreshing, straight-forward, and doesn’t rely on contrived circumstances or ill-timed humor. You might want to start reading this book when you have a favorable block of time – it’s hard to put down.