The second in a series featuring Washington reporter Beck Rikki, “Naked Truth” has a plot more twisty than any I’ve read this year, which should have been a boon. The story revolves around a dead U.S. chief justice and seems to involve every major politician and lawyer in the country, and the sequences of doublecrossing rivals some of those old Ludlum thrillers. The various settings are pithily described, the dialogue froths with wit and energy, and the unwinding of the plot is pleasingly relentless. But our hero Beck, while dogged and smart in the way that crime solvers need to be, rarely came alive to me, and Pullen’s machinations with different points of view merely moved from one cardboard character to another. I liked the intricacies of American reportage and, until towards the end, enjoyed trying (unsuccessfully) to second guess the plot surprises, but the one-sitting reading left me cold.