TITLE: Dirty Little Secrets
AUTHOR: Jo Spain
MY RATING: 4/5
*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*
Death stalked the Vale.
In every corner, every whisper.
They just didn’t know it yet.
Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.
In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.
There’s just one problem.
Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.
The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.
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This was another borrow book – from my sister again unsurprisingly. I’m so glad that she picked it up because I may not have heard of this otherwise and that would’ve been a real shame!
Set in a gated community in Ireland this is that typical ‘all is not what it seems’ setting. On the surface the residents of Withered Vale have everything figured out, but behind their polished front doors and manicured lawns the real truth resides. Everybody has a secret that they are desperate to protect, and it seems as though Olive dying will help keep their secrets hidden. So, just who is responsible for her death? Is it even murder, or the suicide of a lonely woman?
Firstly I want to mention the location of this book – Ireland. This could be the first time that I’ve read a book set in Ireland, and it was a really refreshing change. Whilst the location wasn’t important to the story I did really enjoy the different setting, and I actually wish it had been explored more, although I appreciate why it wasn’t. Withered Vale is a gated community and thus designed to appear private but in reality be claustrophobic, and as a result the majority of the unfolding story takes place behind the gates. It was actually quite thrilling to gain an insight into such an alien (to me) lifestyle, I think I’m happy with my lot after reading this!
The book is structured so that each of the main characters take turns sharing their narratives. We are drip fed information through the differing perspectives until the big reveal at the end. I really felt as though any of them could be responsible, they were all rather unlikeable and equally suspicious. Some were more tolerable than others but overall there wasn’t anybody that I was really rooting for to be innocent. With that in mind you would expect a potentially lacklustre ending, one with no real surprises. Think again. Spain manages one final surprise right at the end which I thought was fantastic. I have read some conflicting reviews, where the ending has been criticised as being a bit of a cop out, so that is worth bearing in mind. I disagree with this sentiment though, I thought it was a really clever way to end Olive’s journey.
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Dirty Little Secrets starts off a little slow, and it is for this reason that I didn’t rate it 5 star. I was impatient to get stuck in, and I feel as though the action should’ve unfolded a little quicker in the first third of the book. It wasn’t really a chore to keep going but the pace of the second two thirds of the book was definitely better, and I wish it had been that way from the start. Having said that, overall it is a really gripping read, and one that I would advise to read quickly. You know those texts that seem designed to be devoured in one sitting? For me this is one of those books.
It’s packed full of mystery, and there’s a great juxtaposition with the developing relationship between the two police officers. One is fast heading for retirement and pretty disillusioned within his job, the other is an up and comer, fresh into the force and eager to hit the ground running. Through this case they build a friendship and give each other a new perspective and a chance to heal some old wounds. It is a really heart-warming partnership in an otherwise dark tale, and something you wouldn’t usually see in a book of this type.
Overall, I really enjoyed Dirty Little Secrets and I would highly recommend it. It would particularly appeal to fans of crime thrillers, so if that is you it is definitely worth picking up a copy. I’m about to begin an ARC by this author, which I’m super excited for. Hopefully it’ll be as good as this one!
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Have you read Dirty Little Secrets? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!