Title: Her Last Secret (a gripping psychological thriller) by Barbara Copperthwaite
Genre: Currently #586 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense, Psychological
Publication Date: To be released October 13, 2017
Source: Bookouture and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Her Last Secret – I don’t think the cover reflects one of the characters, so…(?)
I loved little Mouse and held my breath. My favorite character, Mouse, so young, sweet, innocent of the drama going on around her and started holding my breath almost immediately, waiting to find out what happens to Amber. And the drama?
This is a character driven book that opens with the police called to the scene of what might be a deadly home invasion…surely some kind of intrusion. Then the author cunningly takes you back to a week prior to the Christmas day event, seamlessly introducing each of the major characters using their own POV, one by one. The true antagonist is not revealed until the end. There seems no clear protagonist, as the Taylor family, with the exception of Mouse, harbor stultifying secrets. And each will contribute to the dark, twisted tale that unfolds rather slowly, but ever more inexorably. You know this train wreck has happened, you just don’t know how, or why, or the extent of it. And there’s the rub.
Successful accountant Ben may not be the perfect husband or father, but he loves his family, and all the accruements that come with financial success. He has worked hard, but he may have made a few errors in judgment along the way. Dominique (Dom) is a full-time homemaker, caring for the home, her children, and her husband. She enjoys the outward appearance of the perfect family and home, but shares a very dark past with best friend Fiona. And then there is teenage Ruby, downtrodden and bullied, at wits end and out of options, desperate, she escalates acting out further alienating her family. Only Mouse is looking forward to Christmas, excited and happy, she is mystified at her parent’s indifference, while trying to cheer up big sister Ruby. It doesn’t work.
This book uses the detective’s initial investigation into the home on Christmas Day to hook you in and then proceeds to draw you with progress updates, inevitably deeper, into the psychological tragedy as it unfolds at a slow and steady pace, switching off POV’s to suck you in up to your neck. (It doesn’t help to mutter “no, no!”)
The author manages to capture the dialogue beautifully, whether adult, long-term female friends are exchanging confidences, or a teenager that is speaking to her contemporary. Oh my God–it’s so annoying–that teenager-speak! Little Mouse, so called not because of physical looks or lack thereof, but rather that she loves hiding in tight, dark little spaces to read (or to spy on other members of her family).
If you want to talk annoying, get to know Ben. Is he ever sympathetic? No. Dom, for the most part, just seems vacuous. How important can the perfect Christmas garland be when the family is falling apart? They are at odds with each other and who know what else.
The plot chugs to ominous stops–each becoming more alarming. You KNOW what happens–or you think you do–and hope not. At least for me, this story seems to hold the same universal problems that tend to plague most civilized people in this day and age. There are some very topical arguments for what is happening in today’s society and why it needs to be much more closely scrutinized, particularly for the psychological and actual physical damage it is doing to our youth.
I was given this digital download from Bookouture through NetGalley for read and review and thoroughly enjoyed the thriller as it took me from doubt to gasp. Heartily recommended for any who enjoys a progressive thrill ride into suspense or psychological thrillers.
Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars
The Author: (from Amazon Author Page) “Barbara is the Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, and THE DARKEST LIES. Her latest book is HER LAST SECRET. 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. To find out more about Barbara’s novels, go to http://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite or follow @BCopperthwait on Twitter. To find out more about Barbara go to http://www.barbaracopperthwaite.com
©2017 Virginia Williams