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I very much enjoyed Jim Lynch's two previous novels, Border Songs and The Highest Tide, so it was with delight that I picked up his newest, Truth Like the Sun. All three of the books are set in the Pacific Northwest, and Lynch's affection for the region clearly shows in his writing. While I saw some loose similarities in the first two books, this third is, in some ways quite different, and that's ok.
Truth Like the Sun alternates between 1962 and 2001. In 1962 we see a young Roger Morgan cheerleading, organizing and managing the Seattle World's Fair, including the construction of Seattle's now-iconic Space Needle. In 2001, Roger decides to run for mayor of Seattle, and he draws the interest of Helen Gulanos, a newspaper reporter newly arrived in Seattle along with her young son. As the story develops, we learn more about both Roger and Helen, both of whom have more in their backgrounds than is immediately evident.
As is expected by now, any political campaign draws out the muckrakers, and while Roger is presented as a sympathetic character, he also has done things that could be questionable. As Helen pursues the story, she uncovers more and more detail, making her wonder if Roger is really the nice and honest person his image suggests. The reader wonders too - Lynch has a gift for creating characters that seem so real, you're tempted to go look up details to see if they really existed. (In this case, they exist only in Lynch's imagination.) Lynch sprinkles the 1962 segments with "cameos" by real-life celebrities of the time, including LBJ, Edward R Murrow, and even a delightful scene where Roger takes Elvis Presley to a back-room card game in town.
In 2001, while Roger is considered "Mr. Seattle", he has never run for office before and the realities of a political contest take a toll on him. Helen's story collects more and more dirt, but it is unclear how many of her sources are telling the truth and how many have a vendetta against Morgan - he does have enemies, as, it turns out, does Gulanos.
When I reached the end of the book, I sat back and contemplated for a while. Lynch's novels never have "tidy" endings - yes, the major plot is resolved, but his characters usually end up in a state of transition, not closure. And so it is with Truth Like the Sun. Many of your questions will be answered, but not all of them. No, this is not setting up for a sequel, it's just the way life is, and that's one of many reasons why I enjoy Jim Lynch's books so much.