The Secret Admirer by Carol Wyer

Today it is my great pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on The Secret Admirer, the latest book in the Natalie Ward series by Carol Wyer. Happy publication day Carol.

I’m still reeling after the ending of The Blossom Twins, and it seems the characters are too. So can Carol Wyer follow up such an emotional and tense read with another winner? Let’s find out …

Source: Netgalley

About the Book

‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?

Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from ‘a secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…

And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.

Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Grippingly fast and nail-bitingly tense, The Secret Admirer will have you flying through the pages long into the night. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

Available from: Amazon

My Thoughts

The Blossom Twins was one hell of a read. Carol Wyer pushed herself, her character and her readers to the limit, giving us a story which packed one hell of an emotional sucker punch. Following that was always going to be one hell of a challenge for a series that, in a very short space of time, has become a firm reader favourite. Thankfully Carol Wyer is one heck of a writer and delivered a story which picks up where its predecessor left off and is every bit as tense, suspenseful and emotional.

This is the story of Gemma, a language student at the local University, who. finds herself victim of a serious assault that ends in her dying from her injuries. There are no clear suspects or motive for the attack and, on the surface at least, Gemma seems like the perfect student. But does perfect really exist? And why are her friends and housemates being so evasive in talking about Gemma, and keeping secrets from the police? That’s what falls to DI Natalie Ward and her team to find out in an investigation that has everyone on edge.

There are many threads to this story, and as a reader I was kept guessing as to what had driven the attack on Gemma. There are several viable suspects, Gemma’s housemates chief amongst them, but the real motivation proves elusive to the team for quite some time. Threaded in amongst the main investigation are a series of letters written to Gemma from the eponymous ‘Secret Admirer’, letters which become increasingly more threatening as time passes. But who is the author? Well … the truth might prove rather surprising.

On top of the investigation, the team are all going through some personal challenges. From relationship breakdowns to the challenge of dealing with a brand new baby, they are all struggling in. their own way, and it fuels a very different kind of story. This is a tale with the whole idea of family right at the heart of it and it works perfectly to develop that sense of impending tragedy.

Now it’s difficult to say much about the lead up to this investigation without giving too much away about the previous book. It is safe to say that we join Natalie in a period of change and emotional turmoil, following events which have seen her take an extended sabbatical from work. Gemma’s murder is her first case back, a real test of her metal, and one that Carol Wyer has portrayed perfectly. That whole feeling of distraction, of a real sense of understanding and compassion towards Gemma’s mum, Sasha, which exceeds anything we have seen in previous cases, really rings true and adds to the emotional turmoil you can feel oozing from each page.

The scenes between Natalie and her husband, David, are packed with tension and anger. There’s has always been an underlying sense of turmoil brewing in their relationship, but David especially has been struggling with what has happened. His reactions, his actions, have a tragic sense of authenticity, and while his deterioration. takes place largely off the page, the devastating impact it has on Natalie and those around him is profound.

Tense, emotional and impactful. Another brilliant read.

About the Author

Carol Wyer garnered a loyal following as an author of romantic comedies, and won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015). In 2017 she stepped from comedy to the “dark side” and embarked on a series of thrillers, featuring the popular DI Robyn Carter, which earned her recognition as a crime writer.

The Staffordshire-based writer now has more crime novels in the pipeline, although she can still sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth. 

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Blog

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5 thoughts on “The Secret Admirer by Carol Wyer

  1. I have read this review three times, Jen and am sitting back with a lump in my throat. Not only is it a truly terrific review (you write so articulately and I really believe you should write a book) but your praise has genuinely humbled me. I think it’s because I pour every ounce of my soul into these books and when I read a review like yours, where the reader has appreciated my efforts and understood my intentions when I plot and interweave characters and emotions, I am ecstatic (!).
    Yours is the first review I’ve read today and you have placed me on cloud 9. Thank you and for being part of the blog tour. You have literally made my day and moreover, this is one review I have bookmarked to return to when I am struggling with my writing schedule because i know it will pick me up again. Thank you, Jen. x

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    1. You are very welcome. I’m loving the series and you always manage to convey a brilliant blend of thrills and emotion. This was another tough read, packed with so much heart and the series just keeps getting better. Loving it.

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    1. Thanks Lynne. Definitely a great series, both this and Carol’s Robyn Carter series heartily recommended. Natalie is a different beast when compared to Kim but the team is as great and the stories really draw you in. The last two especially are jam packed with emotion as well as a gripping storyline.

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