It is my absolute pleasure to be opening up the blog tour today for Chris Curran’s new thriller, Her Deadly Secret. Happy publication day Chris – hope you are celebrating hard.
I loved Chris’s last book, Her Turn to Cry and so I absolutely couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to review this, and my thanks go to Chris for asking me to be a part of the tour. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you in just a moment, but first up here is what this book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
A FAMILY BUILT ON LIES…
A dark and twisty psychological thriller, in which a young girl is abducted and her family is confronted with a horror from deep in their past. Perfect for fans of BA Paris and Sue Fortin.
A young girl has been taken. Abducted, never to be seen again.
Joe and Hannah, her traumatized parents, are consumed by grief. But all is not as it seems behind the curtains of their suburban home.
Loretta, the Family Liaison Officer, is sure Hannah is hiding something – a dark and twisted secret from deep in her past.
This terrible memory could be the key to the murder of another girl fifteen years ago. And as links between the two victims emerge, Joe and Hannah learn that in a family built on lies, the truth can destroy everything…
Now the idea of a child going missing has to be one of any parent’s greatest fears. This is a fear that Joe and Hannah Marsden are forced to face when their fourteen year old daughter Lily fails to return home after school. And in that moment their lives are changed forever, in ways that they could never begin to imagine. Could their daughter have been caught up with the local cult, The Children of Light, or is there something far more sinister behind her disappearance?
Watching their horror unfurl on a TV screen, Rosie Weatherall knows all too well the pain of losing a loved one. Her older sister Alice was murdered when Rosie was just a teenager, and the pain of knowing just who had killed her had changed the course of her whole life. Rosie now has her own young daughter and is both fascinated and horrified by what she sees on the TV, little knowing how close to home the story truly is.
Her Deadly Secret is an absolutely fascinating and often heart wrenching look into the lives of two very different families who have suffered the same immeasurable loss some fifteen years apart. From the very beginning you can feel the anguish of Joe Marsden, the sense of foreboding as the bare facts of Lily’s disappearance begin to emerge. There is a kind of stillness in his actions, a emptiness brought about by loss that comes across in every word and makes you truly feel for him and all he is going through. In spite of him being the main suspect in Lily’s disappearance, there is something so honest in his bewilderment and his pain that you cannot help but empathise with him. As for his wife, she is evasive and withdrawn, both natural reactions from any mother faced with the loss of a child. Chris Curran captures their despair perfectly. And yet there is always an overwhelming sense of there being more behind their sorrow.
As for Rosie Weatherall, it is hard at first to know just how she fits in to this story. Her life was ruined many years before when someone very close to her was accused and convicted of her sister’s murder. She has spent many years angry and confused and when that person reappears in her life, it only serves to cause her more pain. She is someone you can kind of respect, having worked hard to make the best of a very traumatic life. I liked her character a lot, and understood her need to look further into her sister’s past when faced with the new evidence her mother shows her.
As the title suggests, there is a secret which has devastated all of their lives. But as to whose secret it is… That is a mystery which remains hidden for quite some time. There are links between the families and while there were enough clues left and hints dropped to make some of the revelations not entirely surprising, there were also so many lies and secrets and constant misdirection that it meant that the truth remained successfully hidden until the end. I thought at one point I had it all worked out, but then something would happen to flip my conviction right around and I was sure it was something else entirely.
This is not a high action novel. The brutality of the story happens early on and the rest is a slow revelation of the facts surrounding the case. Don’t let that statement fool you. That doesn’t mean that this isn’t full of tension because it is. And your attention will move back and forth between ‘suspects’ so regularly and surely that you’ll run the risk of getting whiplash. There is a growing sense of unease from page one, the feeling that although you may trust the central characters, the truth is that is could be anyone of the them who is guilty of murder. And the closing scenes will take you right to the edge of your seat as the slow realisation of what you are watching unfurl hits home.
Chris Curran has done a brilliant job of creating the characters in this novel, capturing the varied emotions perfectly. From the grieving parents Joe and Hannah, to the angry and confused Rosie and the overworked and stretched to the limit Family Liaison Officer, Loretta, there wasn’t a single person I didn’t believe in. And as for setting, the author created such a clear picture of Bexhill and Hastings, even of small estate that Joe lived on and the commune of The Children of the Light, that I truly felt I was there. I could taste the sea air and feel the oppression of the four walls in which Hannah and Joe waited for news of their daughter. Every element felt real and helped to draw me into the story. And draw me in it did. I started and finished in one evening, determined to know what had really happened to Lily and even to Alice all those years before.
A truly engrossing and compelling tale of lies and loss. Loved it.
My thanks to author Chris Curran and publishers Harper Collins for the advance copy for review. Her Deadly Secret is available in e-book now from the following retailers.
About The Author
Chris Curran lives in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex. Her first two psychological thrillers, Mindsight and Her Turn To Cry, were both Amazon bestsellers. She also writes short stories one of which was recently shortlisted for the 2017 CWA Margery Allingham award. Her latest novel, Her Deadly Secret, is published as an ebook on July 21st 2017 and a paperback in August.
Make sure to check out some of the other brilliant blogs taking part in the tour.