The Darkest Secret – Alex Marwood

5 Dec

As a fan of Alex Marwood’s previous two bestsellers (The Wicked Girls and The Killer Next Door),  I waited with a bit of trepidation for the proof copy of her latest ‘The Darkest Secret.’

It is a myth that musicians dread the ‘difficult second album,’  and the same can be said for authors.  It’s the third book that really proves if a novelist is here to stay.  So picking up my copy of The Darkest Secret, I turned the first page and held my breath.

The strap line on the cover states “They said Coco went missing in the night. They lied.” The story is set over two time frames 2004 and fifteen years later.  Identical twin Coco Jackson goes missing during her father’s fiftieth birthday party, set at the posh Sandbanks mansion her father is renovating.

Coco’s parents are not just rich, they are influential, as are the friends they are on holiday with.  The marriage is decidedly rocky and the secrets beneath the surface are about to crack.

Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of a respected print journalist and the press release states The Darkest Secret is a “ripped from the headlines novel.”  But I would argue that the genius of Marwood’s writing in both this and The Wicked Girls, is she doesn’t steal from the headlines she goes and peeks at what may be behind the headlines.  It is what the newspapers don’t and can’t ever say that Marwood wants to focus on and finds the most interesting.

The ripples from Coco’s disappearance continue through the years and fifteen years later the reader is taken to her father (Sean Jackson’s) funeral when many truths, half truths and secrets will be slowly revealed.   Marwood skillfully teases the reader and just when you think you have a handle on what happened on that fateful weekend in 2004, you have to turn the page to have all that you suspected turned on it’s head.

The characters that people The Darkest Secret are brilliantly drawn by Marwood, as in her first two books she shows great mastery at character  delineation. She never holds back from the small intricacies of humanity and human nature that make a thoroughly believable, if not always likeable protagonist.  Sometimes she can jar you with details that disturb and discomfort the reader but she never shies away from painting an incredibly vivid  and visceral picture.

The book starts immediately with witness statements and this is a great hook to get you instantly gripped.  No such thing as a difficult third novel for Alex Marwood.

Coming to ebook on 1st January 2016 and paperback on 30th June 2016.  The Darkest Secret is going to be her biggest seller so far and bound to cause some headlines of it’s own.

Everyone will be talking about The Darkest Secret, don’t get left out order now, five Stars!

 

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