Cover Image: The Secret Room

The Secret Room

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Member Reviews

An interesting thriller featuring a strong protagonist in Zoe.  No spoilers from me on what's really going on but this will keep you guessing.
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The Secret Room is the third book featuring Zoe Goldman, Forensic Psychiatrist.  This time around, she is finally working on her fellowship at the prison.  Patients of hers seem  to keep dying and things are looking suspicious.  This was a welcome addition to the series.  

I loved this installment.  I read it in pretty much one sitting.  Zoe has been a favorite main character of mine.  I love a flawed character and Zoe has lots of flaws.  But, she is also smart and resourceful.  I love her drive to find out what is really gong on with her patients, even if it means breaking some rules along the way.  The other characters were great as well.  I loved Mike in the end.  The mystery kept me guessing.  I was genuinely surprised at one of the reveals.  I had my suspicions about the other one and was correct.    I'm not going to discuss the plot any more than that so I won't spoil anything.    

 The only negative thing I can say about this book is that is doesn't really hold up as a stand alone. You kind of have to read the first two to be caught up on some of the characters and how they relate to Zoe. I highly recommend this one as well as the series.
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Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Secret Room.  I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Dr. Zoe Goldman has been doing her forensic psychiatry fellowship at the Buffalo Correctional Facility, trying her best to help the inmates with various psychological issues.  Having lost two patients in the last six months, one to suicide and one of an overdose, the warden is none too pleased with Zoe and her methods.  Zoe is convinced that something more sinister is at play, but will she be able to figure out what is happening before more inmates die?  Will a new project help Zoe to face her past?

The book is written in Zoe's perspective, as well as that of an unknown perpetrator.  The author does a good job of weaving Zoe's personal life in with that of her professional one.  Despite the fact that I did not read the previous two novels, I feel as though I got a good handle on Zoe and her issues.  Some of the plot was unrealistic, as it is improbable that the warden of a prison would give the level of access to outsiders that he does.  The side plot with Zoe's boyfriend seemed to have no place and its omission would have helped to focus the plot more.  I would recommend The Secret Room to readers who like psychological thrillers and mysteries.
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Loved this book. Didn’t want it to end.  Highly recommend.  

Love love love.  Incredible book.  Fabulous book club pick too
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The Secret Room by Sandra Block is book #3 in the Zoe Goldman series and in this tale you can see the talent and depth of Block as she weaves another mystery of emotional, mental, and physical drama. Zoe Goldman is a terrific character and perhaps one of her more endearing qualities is that is as far from the caricature of a heroine or detective as one can get.

"...Aubrey is silent then and finally answers with an embarrassed nod. Maloney snickers, and Destiny pats her arm. 'You want to rest in the quiet room for a little bit?' She asks, Aubrey nods again, her nose runny. She looks like a little girl, crying over a lost snowball fight.
Destiny gives her another pat. 'It'll be okay. You'll see.'
'Please don't put me in solitary,' Aubrey begs.
'Don't you worry about that right now,' Destiny says, cooing.
'I can't go in there.'
'If you would cut this crap, we wouldn't have to send you there,' Maloney says. I'm thinking much the same, but it's not the time or place to discuss more effective coping skills.
'I can't go back there. The room.' Aubrey is talking to herself now. 'He kept me in a room..."

Zoe Goldman has had far from the smoothest careers. She has joined the team of Psychiatrists at the Buffalo Correctional Facility, treating the prisoners and trying to rebuild her shattered career. But Zoe's patients are beginning to die. Some are suicides and some are accidents. Now the rumors are beginning that perhaps Dr. Goldman is intentionally helping her more hopeless cases to a better place. That she is an angel of death, or instead a seriously incompetent doctor.

But Zoe doesn't realize yet is that someone is targeting her. Someone who knows all about Zoe's past and all about her insecurities. 

"...Razors, rope, gas or pills?
I stare at the message in dull confusion as my brain wakes up. The number is unfamiliar, a long-distance number. I think you are texting the wrong person, I text back.
No. It's a riddle for you.
I sit up straight in bed now, reading it again. 
Who is this?
Razor, rope, gas or pills. Can you guess?
The text looms on the screen while I decide what to do. My fingers tremble as I type. I'm not playing games. Stop texting me or I will call the police.
I'm not playing games either. But if you can't solve it, I'll give you the answer.
There is a pause then, and I find myself gripping the phone waiting.
Razors, rope, gas or pills?
How many patients will you kill..."

It would be a mistake to think that this novel is solely about Zoe Goldman or about the deaths of the inmates. There is the underlying mystery that is Zoe and what remains of her biological family. The brother whose guilt at not protecting her has crippled him and her sister, Sofia. Her sister who murdered their mother, burned their home and has attempted to kill Zoe several times. Sofia who is now asking for forgiveness.

Zoe is fractured and at times held together by sheer force of will. But still in her is the resolve that only a survivor can have. But will it be enough to save her patients from the killer among them, and what does her sister Sofia have to do with what is happening at the prison.

This series is one of my favorites. Each novel is a stand alone tale on its own. But to really get a sense of the characters, it is best to begin at, well, the beginning and then work your way to this tale. 

A really good read!
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I honestly could tell by the writing of the first 2 chapters that it wouldn't be a good fit for our box and had to put it down.  I may read it again in the future!
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This series is amazing. Love the kick ass strong female protagonist!!!
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Let it all fade away. Everything. Every problem, evil texters, evil sisters. Probation. Patients who rely on you until you fail them. Apricots you don't even deserve. 

Zoe has a plate full. With her patients being killing mysteriously in the penitentiary and text that arrive in riddles, Zoe must find out who is behind the texts to protect her patients. She suspects her sister Sophie is behind the texts but all her sister wants from her is her forgiveness as she is doing time for the murder of her mother. Zoe has her own issues. 

The narration is done in Zoe's voice has she has conflicting emotions about her sister, her patients, her relationship status, and the life-alternating surprise she keeps to herself. The other voice is the voice of a very demented female that is under the yoke of the Professor who manipulates her to do his bidding in the pen. Who has a agenda against Zoe and the people she loves. This part of the narration is very crass and even though each segment is short, can be very disturbing. 

The who done it and why all comes together- Was I surprised? No because I have read this author before and enjoy how she leads her readers down many trails. It is more plot driven than character driven for me. A change of pace!

A Special Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer jerjen

Zoe Goldman is a new psychiatric fellow at the local correctional facility.  She not only has to deal with her patients but she also has to deal with her supervisor, “Dr. Nowhere” who leaves a lot to be desired.  It is hard enough to try to care of the patients she is in charge of but when those patients start dying, she realizes she has a problem.  She does not know if these deaths are her fault, and she begins to question her ability as a doctor.  As the death count mounts, she realizes that she and her patients are being targeted by someone who is out to get her.  She had better figure out who it is before the next death is hers.

The characters are well developed and well rounded.  Zoe is a unique individual who has her own baggage.  She has ADHD and OCD and she is trying to deal with these conditions.  She has a sister that is a patient in the correctional facility because of murder and attempted murder.  That is a lot for anyone to deal with and Zoe does the best she can.  She felt very human and vulnerable to me and that made me like her even more.

The writing style flows smoothly.  The author is very talented in suspense writing and she grabbed my attention right from the start and did not let go.  I found myself unable to stop turning pages, needing to find out what was going to happen next.  But I was also afraid to keep turning pages because I was afraid of what would happen next.  The mystery was well plotted and held my attention from the beginning.

The author is also very talented in introducing more than one story line and weaving them together into a one fascinating book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted psychological suspense mystery.  I must warn you, it is not for the faint of heart.  But if you like a thrilling mystery than you should check this book out.  I plan on reading the first two books in the series.  I have not read them but I had no trouble following the storyline.
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I recently enjoyed reading The Secret Room by Sandra Block. This is a sneaky little gem of a story and while the mystery plays out, there are additional layers of mystery as the reader tries to decide who is friend and who is foe. Clearly, all is not as it seems on the surface. One is a foe, or is she? Another is simply an annoyance... or perhaps he's far more dangerous than he appears? At any rate, this cloak and dagger story lands you at the final page with full on Agatha Christie wonder, never even suspecting what comes next. I loved the way the story surprised me and kept me interested. Most of all I enjoyed the complex characters with their quirks and challenges. The prison makes an interesting stage for all this action, the staff are written in a way that made them infinitely believable, and the main character's own mental health issues are an interesting sub text. All in all a very enjoyable mystery!
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Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this title.  Unfortunately, I was not able to finish this book which means I will not be able to review it.  I truly appreciate the opportunity and apologize for the inconvenience the lack of review may cause you.
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Thank you for allowing me to read this early release so I can review. This book was worth the time and also first read by this author. I Certainly will be reading more. Highly recommend.
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THE SECRET ROOM is a completely absorbing mystery filled with suspense, twists, turns, and a bit of psychiatry on the side. I couldn’t put the book down. From beginning to the final pages, the tension gradually built up until the big reveal at the end. Some of you may see it coming and others may not, but the ride the reader takes with Zoe is beyond enjoyable.

Full disclosure, I had no idea that this book was part of series. I loved it so much and when I figured out that there were two books before it, I instantly one-clicked them. I cannot wait to read more about Zoe’s back story and what got her to the point she is at in this book. Zoe is one of those characters that even though they are flawed and may be vulnerable at times, they still win you over with intelligence, wit, and honesty.

I have read a lot of thrillers lately, but Sandra Block’s THE SECRET ROOM surprised me in the best way possible.
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This is the 3rd Zoe Goldman book and it did not disappoint! Sandra Block writes these amazing thriller books with a main character that you can relate to. Zoe Goldman is a psychiatrist at the local correctional facility. She had had her own share of bad events in her past things are starting to look up. That is until her patients start ending up dead.  Can Zoe figure out what is happening before it is the end of her career? This was a great weekend read!
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3.5 A very intriguing premise for this series. Dr. Zoe, serving her fellowship at a local forensic hospital. She has a very interesting back story, in fact her sister, is a prisoner at this same facility. Patients are dying, patients thought to be stable, and they all happen to be Zoe's patients.

So many things are happening in this book that serves to make the pace a very quick one. It is an entertaining it book but I felt it was too cluttered, to much was happening at the same time. In her personal life and on the unit, though I did find the cases she worked on interesting, too many things were happening there as well. Just didn't find it credible nor feasible, especially in such a short time frame. This is though a series I would definitely read again just on the strength of her character. She has many issues of her own to overcome and I want to see how she manages. So plus and minuses with this one.

ARC from Netgalley.
Publishes the end of August by Grand Central.
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This is the third book in a series.  However, one does not have to read the first two to enjoy this installment.  Zoe Goldman is back and this time the psychiatrist is working as a fellow in a prison.  Her crazy sister, Sofia, is incarcerated in the same prison.  Sofia does not play a large part in this particular story.  

Zoe's patients are dying at an unusual rate and she begins receiving texts that lead her to believe her patients are being specifically targeted.  With their shared history, Detective Adams, takes Zoe seriously when the prison warden will not.  Zoe and her boyfriend, Mike, face some new developments in their relationship and her brother, Scotty, also has some new developments in his relationship with Kristy.    

As usual, this is a well written mystery that does not quickly give away the reveal of who done it.  Ms. Block has created an interesting central character in Zoe and her supporting cast of characters are well developed also. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of the third installment of this enjoyable series.
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This book is a well written "who dunnit."
What is the secret room? Is is real or a place of mind? 
There are many interesting themes that surface during this novel. 1- The pro's and cons of medication; forgiveness, the need to be forgiven,and feelings of guilt. Each of these topics merge subtly as the story briskly continues to a surprising conclusion.
Definitely a good book.
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This is the first Zoe Goldman book I have read. I will now be going back to read others as I am hooked on the combination of edge of your seat suspense and laugh out loud  heroine.
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Great installment in the Zoe Goldman stories! In this one, Zoe's patients are dying. She is blamed and begins to doubt herself. Soon, she starts to believe that something sinister is going on and someone has had a hand in the deaths of her patients. If she wants to salvage her career and save patients, she must solve the mystery of what is going on.

Zoe Goldman is a great character and the storyline in this one kept me riveted! Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
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**Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary ARC of THE SECRET ROOM in exchange for my honest review**

3.5 stars

Dr Zoe Goldman is doing her psychiatric fellowship in a prison when her patients begin to die of mysterious circumstances.  She suspects Sofia, her sister and an inmate jailed for trying to kill Zoe. 

THE SECRET ROOM is Sandra Block's third Zoe Goldman novel. I recommend reading them in order, though each can also be read as a stand alone story. 

I'm a psychologist and a stickler for accuracy in mental health. Block does a good job with diagnoses and behaviors, though she took a lot of liberties with Zoe as a forensic psychiatrist fellow. For example, psychiatrists can't treat family members, particularly one tried to kill said psychiatrist and did kill their mother.

Block writes engaging prose and she kept me interested thought THE SECRET ROOM. I love that she created Zoe as such a flawed individual. Zoe is a terribly unethical practitioner, she ought to go work with the police or FBI, but not treat patients,  lol.

THE SECRET ROOM kept me guessing. I was certain about the identity of the suspect,  I actually hoped he or she had been the doer. The killer's identity felt like a letdown, but I can't say why because I don't want any spoilers.

 If you're a Zoe Goldman fan, THE SECRET ROOM is a great addition to the series.
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