Bridget Reid is in deep trouble. She has a secret that someone is willing to kill to protect. On the run, she barely manages to evade her pursuers. Cold, and afraid, the last thing she knows before passing out is safely making it to the place she agreed to meet her boyfriend, praying he gets to her in time. When she wakes she finds herself in a whole new nightmare, trapped in a basement room with a man who wants to keep her as his own.
Called in to investigate a triple homicide, DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles know from the crime scene that they are dealing with a ruthless and psychopathic killer. When a face from Imogen’s past reappears, linking their case to that of missing Bridget, Imogen is forced to confront some hard memories and secrets which she had never wanted her colleagues in Exeter to find out about.
But what is the truth? The more they investigate, the more Imogen realises that what she thought she knew, may be just another lie and that for her, trust is something which balances precariously on a knife edge. As for Miles, an appeal from his son for help causes him to have to look deeper into his extended family. But what he finds, far from what his son had imagined, may yet be the biggest shock of all.
‘The Secret’ is the follow up to ‘The Teacher’ and, as the second book in Katerina Diamond’s DS Imogen Grey series, is a highly compelling read. Touching on some very hard subjects such as abuse, the sex trade and murder, it is not for the faint hearted, that is for sure. From the very outset the action is piled on, the tension ratcheting up with each page turn and as a reader you are pulled along with it at a great pace of knots. This is heart-thumping reading, following Bridget without knowing what she has done or why people are willing to kill her for it. And I for one was not expecting the truth.
The characterisation and partnership of Grey and Miles is one which is skilfully written and works well. They are a wholly likeable partnership, a certain chemistry and friendship between them which really translates off the page. The fact that Grey trusts Miles speaks volumes, especially as you learn more of her history throughout the book. She is a troubled soul, and Miles is the one person she feels she can turn to and they one you know instinctively will always protect her. There is the loyalty inherent in his character making him very appealing. As for Grey, she is tough, somewhat aloof, understandably so, and determined to keep her distance from others. But she is a character who has grown on me. I like her grit and I like her focus.
The story itself is a complex one, pulling together many threads, including filling in a lot of Imogen’s backstory. There are surprising twists throughout and as a reader you are certainly kept guessing as to who to trust. Told from the perspectives of Grey, Miles, Bridget and a fourth, unknown voice, the narrative moves from past to present seamlessly. From the past, the boy’s narration, we learn more of the roots of the present day investigation. In among this, we also get the recaps of Grey’s past, her history with DI Sam Brown and her reasons for leaving Plymouth. In the present, the remaining perspectives serve to tie up the investigation to the past, giving Grey far more than she bargained for.
For me, what really worked in this book, was the use of the boy’s voice. So cold and frighteningly disturbed, you can see his slow and steady path from young man to deranged killer. Despite being reviled by his actions and taking no pleasure from them, he is worryingly dispassionate about it. While you can see the influences of a very hard and depraved upbringing, he is a very dark character but one which works so well.
And as for the ending. Well. That was a lot of oh my gosh moments as the truth becomes clear, and a few eeew moments to as Grey’s lover takes his revenge on the man who hurt her all those years ago. And I love eeew moments. And the developing realisation for Miles I can only assume will be followed up in the next book. It certainly deserves to.
Gritty, pacey, heart pounding action. Diamond is not afraid to tackle the hard subjects in a very direct way, and I, for one, love it.
A bit fat, wickedly gruesome 5 stars from me.
I received an advance copy of ‘The Secret’ from NetGalley and publishers Harper Collins UK, Avon. The book is released on 20th October and is available to order here: