I was totally suckered me in by the sense of mystery in Robert Reed’s “Truth“. The mystery is at first embodied in a prisoner the narrator is watching in preparation for interrogating him. Ramiro, if that’s his real name, is endlessly intriguing: his effortless smiles, his persistent attempts to engage his guards in conversation, and the peculiar genes inserted into his DNA. The narrator is also intriguing: the careful observation, the skepticism, the wariness that withholds for several pages even her name–Carmen.
Carmen has been brought in to replace the previous interrogator, Collins, a brilliant man who cracked Ramiro’s silence. She’s there to finish the job. And while she does she plays cat-and-mouse games with everyone, Ramiro, the prison administrator, the reader. It’s not the sort of game I usually engage in, as I usually lose. This was no exception. I thought I was keeping up with the game of implications unspoken and threats artfully veiled, but I was fooled by the ending. I still think she was cheating. Although the story is in first person, you get only the barest minimum of a glimpse into Carmen’s thoughts, plans, or motivations.
She is better at revealing other things. Along with the required revelation of who Ramiro really is, the story also gives an alternative explanation behind events of the last eight years, and scary implications of a war on terror that lasts beyond time. Carmen herself remains a mystery.