One Little Secret

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

One Little Secret is a compelling story with promise. While the book wasn't terrible, I feel like so many of these books are trying to be the next Gone Girl.
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From my blog: Always With a Book:

I first discovered Cate Holahan when I read Lies She Told, which I absolutely loved. I knew after reading that book that I would be reading whatever else she read, so when I saw her new book available on Netgalley, I immediately requested it.

One Little Secret is a fun, locked room mystery that really keeps you engaged from start to finish. I loved how while this does start off a bit slow, it really picks up and becomes more and more intriguing as it moves on. As we get to know the couples and see how their stories intertwine and learn their secrets and lies, it becomes quite devious and downright delicious, and really kept me guessing right up to the very end. 

I like when I don't necessarily love all the characters and that is exactly what I found here in this book. There were some really awful characters here, but then there were some that you definitely find yourself rooting for. I like that kind of makes the book so much more enjoyable, in my opinion.

I liked how the story was structured - the back and forth between the days after the murder and the time leading up to it. This really kept the story moving and you guessing. I kept thinking I had it figured out, but let me tell you - I didn't even come close!

This is a fun beach read. It's a quick, easy read that provides great entertainment, with some serious Big Little Lies vibes going on. I definitely recommend adding this to your beach bag this summer!
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The book is a classic locked room murder mystery, which is a trope I personally like. I enjoyed seeing the mystery unfold and making up my own theories of who could have done it and why. In the beginning it was a bit hard to follow characters as there are quite many of them, but once I got the hang of it, I was absorbed into the story.
One thing I was not a huge fan of was the ending. It was unexpected but nothing mind-blowing and I was hoping for something else.
All in all, I think this book makes a great beach read or is perfect for summertime in general and I would especially recommend it for Big Little Lies fans for it has a similar vibe.
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Cate Holahan’s latest, One Little Secret, is definitely the kind of thriller you want to read at the beach… especially if that beach is at the end of Long Island. 

If Liane Moriarty and Agatha Christie had a book baby, One Little Secret would be the result. Holahan’s Hercule Poirot is Hamptons police detective Gabby Watkins, recently promoted and trying to prove herself while raising a teenage daughter in a biracial marriage to her high-school sweetheart. Smart, hard-working, devoted to her family and to justice, Gabby is a compelling protagonist, and I would have been happy had the book been written solely from her point-of-view.

The Liane Moriarty side of the book is the three couples who come to town to share a beach house. Neighbors, the six aren’t exactly friends; Susan put together the week-long vacation to try to make friends in her new community. A stay-at-home mom homeschooling a son with Autism Spectrum Disorder, she feels isolated and craves adult friendship. She wasn’t expecting to host a murder, but after a night where each couple tears each other apart, she and her husband Nadal find the body of Rachel--a lawyer whose husband Ben stays home with their kids--washed up on the beach.

Click on the link below to read the entire review
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One Little Secret is a twisty thriller about 3 different couples, who also happen to all be neighbors, that book a weekend getaway at the beach. When one of them turns up dead in the morning, you’ll find yourself reading on to find out who did it, as everyone seems to have some sort of motive.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Wow! What wild and crazy neighbors! This was a sit on the edge of your seat kind of book. From the very first moment you are trying to figure out everyone's angle and what they are really about. This book is fast paced and unforgettable. Cate Holahan shows you that when it comes to couples not all is as it seems. The lives of these complex characters whose crazy impulses seem to threaten the very lives they hold dear, but they still can't seem to control themselves. She weaves a tale of betrayal, lies, lust, and cheating which eventually leads to murder. Will the community of friends and families ever be the same?
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Summary from Goodreads:

"Everyone has a secret. For some, it's worth dying to protect. For others, it's worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town - and desperate for some kid-free conversation - she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others' marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look."

My Thoughts:

One Little Secret was one of those suspenseful thrillers that just sucked me in and didn't let me go.  I went into this book after finishing two contemporary romances in a row so I was more than ready for a thriller to change things up.  I started this book and just let the author take me for a ride!  In this book there are three different couples who are all neighbors and have decided to rent a house on the beach together for vacation while their kids are away at camp.  The book flips between the present and the day before.  We get to see pieces of their lives, their relationships with their spouses, and here and there a secret or two was hinted at.  Let me tell you that I just ate this all up with a spoon!  I have been here lately for the domestic dramas with suspense mixed in!  I loved the fact that it felt like we were experiencing the investigation in real time thanks to the present day sections of the book but that we were also getting to see stuff from before too.  The book went back and forth between chapters but the author does it so seamlessly that it was just perfection.  What I liked best about this book though was that at some point in this book, I suspected every single one of the characters (besides the individual that was killed).  That's the mark of a good book in my opinion!  There were characters that I definitely didn't want it to be and ones where....well, we will say that just wasn't the case. None of these characters were likable all of the time but there were ones that I could at least relate to or found redeemable.  That's key in a book like this for me I have to say!  I know the trend lately is books featuring characters that you hate but that's just not really my type of thing.  I need a character I can root for usually for me to really enjoy the book!  I also have to say that I really loved Gabby (the detective)!  She was a character that I could get behind so I was rooting for her to figure out who the killer was.  

Overall, I just really enjoyed my time with this book.  This book had a Big Little Lies vibe to it with the three couples, the hidden secrets, and the interactions between them all as a group.  I think if you liked that book then you will probably enjoy this one as well.  I'm super excited to read more by this author and am glad that she has other books for me to look forward to.  She kept me guessing throughout this book which is always a good thing.  I don't want to say much more than that as I think this is a book to just experience or go into without knowing too much about it.  I can easily recommend this one to fans of thrillers, mysteries, and suspense.  This would be the perfect book to get lost in on the beach during these hot summer days or even while you beat the heat in the air conditioning.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A suspenseful read that kept me guessing the entire time!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Meryl Moss Media.  Honest Thoughts are my own.
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Here are some fragmentary reactions to One Little Secret by Cate Holohan:

•	There was unrelenting suspense, enough to carry the reader through a somewhat muddled storyline. One big contributor to the muddling was the jumble of the parents' and children’s names among six neighboring couples. I seldom have trouble keeping track of characters, but in this case I repeatedly muttered, “Susan is married to – that’s right, Nadal. And Jenny is with Louis, the doctor. That leaves Rachel with Ben.”
•	There were a lot of first world problems, predictable in a story about prosperous people on an exclusive dream vacation. But these six were almost stereotypes of self-absorbed, wealthy folks. No one expressed any concern beyond what happened inside their well-groomed heads or what affected their status.
•	There was only one sympathetic character -- the local detective, who was indeed sympathetic, but not fully realized. I needed a bit more fleshing out to understand her actions.
•	Back to my opening. The suspense was skillful, and the alternating time lines were done well. Dialogue seemed natural. This great beach reading (in both senses – the setting is the Hamptons, with direct access to a private beach.) It did keep me reading, despite my picky reactions.

Thanks to NetGalley for an advance readers copy.
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Susan was looking for some couples time with her husband and 2 Neighbor couples. It was supposed to be a way to let loose and enjoy themselves while their kids were away at camp, but sometimes the best intentions can yield the worst outcomes. When large amounts of liquor are involved, inhibitions are thrown to the wind and bad things tend to happen. After a night of drinking, one of the women is found dead on the beach where they are staying. Now everyone is a suspect and the couples are trying to find out who it is among them. 
Gabby is the detective on the case and she is battling her own demons. Will she be able to find the one whose secrets were worth killing for and stop them before someone else is murdered?
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Cate Holahan is great at taking commonly used mystery/thriller tropes and making them seem fresh or giving them an interesting angle such as domestic violence, infidelity, etc. I was also impressed with the timeline(s) of this book. I typically hate dual+ timelines, however jumping between Day Before, Day of, and Day After was a lot of fun.
I chose this book because of my enjoyment of Cate Holahan's, The Lies She Told. Unfortunately, I didn't think One Little Secret was quite as good and I didn't rate the book as highly as I'd hoped to. I felt that Detective Gabby was too underdeveloped to have her own narrative and I'm unclear why the reader is introduced to her husband and daughter. Likewise, the entire subplot revolving around her investigation in the drugging and rape of a local au pair seemed really out of place amongst the rest of the text.
Finally, the ending was unsatisfying for me. I wasn't surprised by the reveal of Rachel's killer. In fact, the smaller twists throughout the book packed more of a punch for me. I also thought it a strange choice that the killer would end up punished for something other than the killing.
Overall, I'm still a Cate Holahan fan and look forward to her next release.
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What can “one little secret” do to a group of friends, thrust together in a beachfront home, forced to confront their issues? 

A whole lot.

This book has the feel of “Real Housewives” mixed with Agatha Christie, when six friends, three married New York City couples, send their children to summer camp and head to the Hamptons for a week of sand and sun. But everyone is hiding something and those tangled relationships come to light when tragedy strikes soon after arrival. What is the straw that broke the camel’s back - and what will the outcome be?

This is an interesting book because it’s so interesting and you get so wrapped up in the characters’ lives, but I can’t say that I liked any of the characters. They were all really flawed, kind of terrible people. But what doe all of that mean for the story? That’s the question that kept me reading furiously. I was so into untangling everything going on that I couldn’t put the book down.

The ending was really intense and made a lot of sense, so I was really pleased with it and felt that it was satisfying. The Agatha Christie-esque part comes from the fact that it really is like a big puzzle with everyone connected in some way and everyone hiding something. It’s up to one detectives to put all of that picture together. It’s just down to good ol-fashioned detective work. Poison would like this one.

This is a great who-dunnit set against the beautiful Hamptons with rich city characters. It’s a perfect read for your own week a tthe beach when you need s good pick me up!
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Three couples hanging out on the beach. Cool. Should be a relaxing and fun getaway for them. Great time away from the kiddos. BUUUUUTTTT... I would not want to be one of those couples. They all seem like terrible people to be stuck with on a beach. Like a**holes with tempers drinking and being... well, a**holes LOL. 

I really wanted to love this book. It was a quick read and fairly addictive. However, I felt that it was maybe too fast? Like the build up to the thriller/mystery was rushed and then it was just over. The book felt shallow and I feel like the author could have done so much more with it. I enjoyed the book but I just didn't love it. I loved the concept and idea. The storyline was great. A woman ends up dead and everyone seems to have pieces of the puzzle and everyone is a suspect. So fun! I just wish there was just more. More depth and more drama.

Thank you Netgalley and to the publishers for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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Thanks to NetGalley, publisher and author to allow me to get a free copy of this book for review. Three couples spend time on a beach house, to get to know each other initially. There is a potential for fun, camaraderie and even long term friendship because no kids and lots of alcohol were present, except, something entirely different happened. Lots of secrets and revelations. Good book!
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3 1/2 stars rounded to 4 for this juicy beach read. The characters weren’t ones I loved or even loved to hate, but the storyline (while a tad bit soap opera-like in its crazy), was nonetheless fun.
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Three neighborhood couples rent a fabulous beach house for a vacation. One of them is murdered. Several turn out to have motives and are suspects. Kind of a soap opera mystery . . . excessive drinking, spousal abuse, sexual affairs, legal troubles, blah, blah, blah. A quick read and so-so whodunnit.
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Even though I thought this was a great read, full of suspense and whodunit interest, I did not love it.  I felt that there were too many "unanswered" situations, floating plot points inserted into the story unnecessarily and pointlessly and unreal or unrelatable situations.  Despite this, the novel was an engaging read, deliciously decadent and perfect for the beach read we are looking for in the summer.
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Thanks for requesting me the book.

I decided to dump this book out since I have way too many books last month so I will read this book someday..

Have a great summer!
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I would categorize One Little Secret as Domestic Suspense rather than Thriller.  Cate Holahan took some very unlikable characters and made me interested in their escapades, which is definitely to her credit.  The mystery is not particularly difficult to solve, though there are some twists along the way. The thing I had the most difficulty with was the police procedural aspect.  It seemed to come from the one hour drama cop shows, with the detective targeting a different suspect every time I turned the page. 3.5
All in all, One Little Secret was an entertaining read and I would read more from Cate Holahan. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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This could have been titled “Several Secrets” and not little ones either. 

Personally, I didn’t like any of the characters in this storyline. That means a lot to me in connecting with the novel. These neighbors that sublet a vacation beach house together for a week, sans kids, get to know each other better than they intended to, with liquor loosening their tongues. The characters each have undesirable qualities that did not endear this reader to them. Yes, empathy is felt here and there, but this could have been a lot better than it was.

There is domestic violence, adultery, substance abuse, power plays, too much to list but which didn’t sit well with me. Even the investigating female detective came across in such a way that wasn’t likable or admirable. Jumping in with conclusions and accusations and acting against her better judgment.

Character development was not sufficient in my opinion. The murder mystery and my obligation to read this ARC kept me vested in it. I didn’t find the ending altogether satisfactory either. There are some unexpected twists, and my favorite line of the novel was from Louis’s daughter Ally, addressing Ben “I know what happened isn’t my fault, but what happened to my mother is yours.” Right on, Ally, actually there was a lot of blame to go around. 

Many have found this a satisfying effort as a mystery. I do not discourage any potential readers from giving it a go, it just wasn't my cup of tea. 

2.5 honest stars from this reader (rounded up to 3)
Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for the chance to read and post an unbiased review.
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When three couples rent a beach house for a week, it seems like an ideal way to get to know each other better and to spend some quality time together.  But, almost immediately, it becomes obvious that there are many tensions under the surface and there more than one secret among them.  The next morning one of them is found dead and it is up to the town detective to find the murderer.  It turns out that nearly everyone has a motive and the detective has her work cut out for her.  

The story is told from several points of view as well before and after the murder victim is found. As a result, the reader will be guessing almost until the end of the story.  

One Little Secret is a superb book – one filled with suspense, well-developed characters, a terrific plot and good writing.  I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.  It would be a great book to read by the pool or on a long plane ride.  

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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