Today it is my great pleasure to be joining in the blog blitz for the release of Barbara Copperthwaite’s new psychological thriller, Her Last Secret. Thanks to Barbara and Noelle Holten for inviting me to take part. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you in just a moment, as soon as we’ve taken a look at what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
Some secrets you can never tell.
Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.
They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.
Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?
This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.
If you enjoy the kind of psychological thriller which will draw you in from the very beginning, laying a foundation of mystery and intrigue, building layer upon layer of mystery, slow building tension and discovery, and infused at just the right moments with a startling revelation or heart-stopping, perhaps every heart-breaking, pause, then Her Last Secret may well be the book for you.
Called to the scene of a possible shooting on Christmas day Chief Inspector Paul Ogundele could not possibly be prepared for what he will find when entering the Thomas’s home. As a reader you are not privy to the full information straight away, and it is this small fact, this rather important omission, which guarantees that you will want to keep reading, to uncover, just as the police will, what has occurred on that fateful morning.
Much of the book is based around the days leading up to Christmas Day; in setting the scene for what the police have yet to discover, the whole book taking place over a period of just eight days. In that time, Barbara Copperthwaite sets out to paint a picture of a family, of their highs and their lows, and to capture the imagination of the reader. Oh and what a magnificent job she does. This is no ordinary family and this is no idyllic setting, no matter what the neighbours may believe. For like every family, the Thomas’s suffer more than their share of problems. On one hand you have the teenage anger directed from daughter Ruby toward her parents. On the other you have little ‘Mouse’, Ruby’s younger sister, Amber, a child so quiet, so introverted, that it is easy to forget she is there.
And then you have the parents. Ben and Dominique. Outwardly perfect. Inwardly both nursing their own demons. Dominique is paranoid, nervous, Ben overbearing and cock-sure. Neither makes a particularly sympathetic protagonist. Barbara Copperthwaite has done a superb job here of keeping them on just the wrong side of likeable, their character flaws irking somewhat, although Ben’s are far more obvious and probably unforgivable than Dom’s. Even Ruby is hard to like initially but as you learn more about what is driving her, what is tormenting her, the sympathy begins to build. If there is a true victim in this story, other than Amber, then it is Ruby.
I don’t want to go too far into the story or the plot as I feel it may give away potential spoilers and I truly believe this is a book you need to read for yourselves, that the slow reveal, the gradual build of the story, is the true value of the book. With each page turn, I could sense I was taking a step closer to the inevitable. Yet, while the conclusion of the story had been served to the reader from the start, the path which led us there was still full of twists and turns, peppered with half truths and misdirection.
I love the way in which the characters have been developed throughout the book. The author has a real knack for creating believable protagonists and then pushing them to their absolute limits. Each of the main players in this book goes on a tumultuous journey, is forced to a point of self realisation with tragic consequences. There is one really moving scene at the end of the book, where one character makes the ultimate sacrifice for one they love, which is both moving and heartbreaking, a sad but poignant moment on which to end the story. And yet… there is one more moment, one last turn of the screw and one last confession to be heard. It is quite simply, fabulous.
As well as being great entertainment, the book does contain a serious message too. Touching upon the darker side of the internet and cyber-bullying, the story may well resonate with many teenagers and young adults, even some parents who may have seen their children suffer. Noticing a change in someones persona, not stopping to really consider why… Well, maybe, just maybe, this book will finally make you stop and think. Laughter is a more socially acceptable way to hide tears, and anger a way to conceal fear. And sometimes, behind them both, lurks the darkest secret of them all.
Thanks to publishers Bookouture for providing an advance copy of the book for review. Her Last Secret is available now from the following retailers.
About the Author
What people say about Barbara’s books:
“Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,” Sunday Mirror
“Enthralling, tense and moving,” Real People magazine
“Totally gripping, and scarily believable,” Bella magazine
Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. She is also the author of THE DARKEST LIES, and her latest book HER LAST SECRET is out on 13 October.
Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.
When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.
You can follow Barbara on the following social media sites:
Do make sure to check out some of the other fabulous blogs taking part in the blitz.