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Cover of The Last Truth

The Last Truth is about denial and the burden of unwanted responsibility. The damage caused leads a divided family to violence, destruction, and understanding

The Last Truth is about the damage done by living with denial and the burden of unwanted responsibility. It examines how a mother and her two children, separated from each other, find ways to live with the damage done by selfish need, the pretence of good intention and turning a blind eye. It leads each of them down a twisted path to violence. In trying circumstances the children are reunited as adults and, in sharing their stories, a terrible truth emerges. The truth cannot lay buried any longer and its uncovering results in tumultuous and shocking events enacted by those who urgently need to escape culpability or obliterate the challenge to what has been denied.

The vulnerability of the damaged individuals followed in The Last Truth is matched by that of the public services they encounter, whose agents and institutions are revealed as equally self serving and harmful. Their capacity to exercise their power to ‘manage’ truth, and act in ways that lay blame on individuals for circumstances they impose, is a recurring theme. It is a preoccupation of the characters whose behavior is shaped by their experience of public services.

The book will appeal to those readers interested in psychological drama and crime stories, but the layering of intimate psychological experience, the evolution of disorder, misuse of authority, protection of privacy, organizational violence and the moral questions of personal and organizational responsibility, may give it wider appeal. It asks whether it is reasonable for some people to be held solely responsible for their actions when so many influences contribute to what they have done? How should responsibility for harm be distributed when so many have caused it, but only a few have the protection of legitimate process to step away from accountability?

The Last Truth is, in the end, optimistic of the human condition, but not before a tough examination. The story is divided into three sections and is set in an industrial city in England.

***

"I recommend Brian Thomas-Peter's novel The Last Truth. This novel does something exceptionally difficult: it makes convincing fiction out of real clinical and forensic experience. That is a great challenge; and BTP meets it." Brean Hammond (Emeritus Professor of English Literature at University of Nottingham) recently offered this pre-publication review of The Last Truth, on LinkedIn.

Read more reviews of the early draft here.

Brian Thomas-Peter came to the UK as a teenager, from Canada where working clinically with damaged and sometimes difficult people and the systems that served them became his life’s work. He graduated in Economics but completed a second major in Psychology before completing post-graduate training in Clinical Psychology. As a young psychologist, he worked with children in care, adults with mental health difficulties and the families of elderly mentally infirm. In1982, he joined a high security forensic psychiatry service, working primarily with young disordered offenders, whilst completing a PhD. Five years later was appointed Director of Psychology in a large medium secure forensic psychiatry service, where he completed an MBA.

He was involved in training Forensic and Clinical Psychologists in Australia and the UK and was in demand to provide expert psychological evidence in major criminal trials in the UK and advice to the Parole Board. He has advised Government Ministry’s and major Inquiries into Untoward Incidents in psychiatric services in the UK and Australia.

His academic life included a number of fellowships and an 11-year tenure as Honorary Professor of Psychology at Birmingham University. He has published in edited books, peer-reviewed journals and been a regular contributor to international academic conferences as well as making a major contribution to the development of the Forensic Psychology profession in the UK. In 2004, he became an Accredited Behavioral Investigative Advisor to the Police National Crime and Operations Faculty.

He moved to Oxford as Director of the Regional Forensic Psychiatry service before moving back to his Canadian roots in 2010, as Provincial Executive Director of Forensic Psychiatry for B.C. Later, he turned his attention to education again as Dean of a Faculty of Child Family and Community Studies in British Columbia, Canada.

He currently lives on an island on the west coast of Canada and spends most of his time writing. He enjoys sailing, skiing, playing ice hockey and opportunities to be foolish with his grandchildren.

Mrs Myerson placed the bottle of milk in the fridge, having dismissed ideas that the noise that had woken her was a branch of a tree falling on the house, or a gang of burglars that had invaded. How silly she could be. In any case, the rich food offered at dinner at her friend’s house brought on the inevitable indigestion and this would prevent her from getting back to sleep without some assistance. A cup of warm milk and some time reading was required. With cup in hand she came out of the kitchen and looked across the hall, it became clear to her immediately what the noise had been. She had forgotten to close the living room door and the drafts of the old place had caused the door to bang. It had happened often in the life of this house. How many times had she told the children to close the doors, and not to slam. She chided herself for being old and forgetful and walked towards to the door.

From inside the darkness of the living room, through the crack of the open door, Tad watched her approach. The door handled rattled and the door closed suddenly. It was a surprise to see the door close and he startled at the noise of it shutting. It was disappointing. Sweat had formed on his forehead and the handle of the knife, but it was not anxiety that caused his shirt to stick to him. He looked around in the darkness for his shoes and decided to wait in the living room for the woman to go to sleep before looking in the kitchen. He was not finished with this house. He might drink from that milk bottle from which she poured the drink she was sipping at this very minute, upstairs just a few feet away. He had the knife, could do or take whatever he wanted.

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"I recommend Brian Thomas-Peter's novel The Last Truth. This novel does something exceptionally difficult: it makes convincing fiction out of real clinical and forensic experience. That is a great challenge; and BTP meets it."  Brean Hammond (Emeritus Professor of English Literature at University of Nottingham) recently offered this pre-publication review of The Last Truth, on LinkedIn.

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