Cover Image: A Dark and Secret Place

A Dark and Secret Place

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Member Reviews

Dark, horrifying, and disturbing, this was all the things I love about books in this genre. 

I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. 

This story is a gem of the psychological thriller genre. I couldn’t put it down. It was intense and eerie. 

Fantastic and riveting. I love the reverse Red Riding Hood type tale.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

When Heather's mom suddenly commits suicide, she is left wondering why. Though the two weren't close, something feels off about her mother's death. She begins to dig into her mother's past after discovering a link to a notorious serial killer, Michael Reave, and what she discovers could end her own life as well.

I found this book to be very engaging and well done. The build up was paced well, the twists perfectly placed and well thought out. I didn't feel as though anything was rushed or done badly.
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Wow! Have you read a book recently that grips you from the very start and as you believe you’ve figured out all of the twists and turns, you realize that the story twists in another way leaving you shocked? This book is exactly that. Jen Williams must be a true crime enthusiast because she has taken all aspects of true crime and weaved a hauntingly disturbing tale that actually had me checking my doors and having an eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach as I continued to read. Excellent, adrenaline-filled, haunting, thrill of a ride that those who love thrillers and true crime will most certainly have to read!
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Well, you’ll never read a fairy tale to a little one without remembering THIS book…..who knew Grimm’s Fairy Tales could be SO grim? Think Woodstock meets Red Riding Hood. It totally had me hooked from the start of the story. I never made any associations between the characters in the course the book so it held my attention throughout. Heather gets a jolt of reality at the end of the story and with her personal history you wonder whether HER future is a page out of that Grimm book as well.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced e-copy of A Dark and Secret Place. 

I was intrigued by the description of the book. 
When Heathers mom dies, Heather returns to her family home and discovers that her mother had been corresponding with a serial killer. When a copy cat killer starts recreating the murders, Heather is asked to talk to the original killer to see if she can find out any information. 

It took me a while to get into this book. I didn’t really find it to be that much of a thriller. Heather was not that interesting of a character to me, but I wanted to find out who the killer was. I was surprised when the killer was revealed though. I would recommend this book for anyone who might not enjoy thrillers but would like to start reading them.
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Jen Williams does a serviceable job with a modern Gothic mystery in A Dark and Secret Place.

After her mother's suicide, Heather discovers years of correspondence between her estranged mother and a convicted killer. With some similar crimes being committed, Heather begins to wonder what was happening to her mother and the small town.

Overall a twisty, exciting read, although I felt the characterization ran flat at times.
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3.5 stars rounded up.

A slow start but ultimately an exciting read with an odd, unrealistic ending. Heather Evans returns to her family home after a long estrangement to take care of her mothers effects after her shock suicide. Whilst cleaning out the house, Heather finds a series of letters her mother had received from convicted serial killer Michael Reave, currently serving time in prison. With new murders in the news possibly linked to Reave, Heather is determined to find her mothers connection, and the new killer. I was instantly intrigued by the premise. After a patchy start, the story flowed quite nicely and I enjoyed the author's writing style. However, I understand why no one seemed to like Heather. She was pretty pathetic and whiny, basically threw herself at the detective and ignored pretty clear indications of an intruder. Hello, feathers don't just appear inside your house unless it's haunted. In fact, the only time I warmed to her was when she lashed out at the funeral. 
The ending was clumsy. There wasn't enough to explain Heather ending up at the cabin. And unfortunately, I saw all of the major twists coming so I rounded down half a star. But this was a very good crime thriller. Recommended. 

**Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for my 'very early' advance copy.
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Perhaps I just have very high standards for psychological thrillers, but I could not finish this book. I did not find the plot to be compelling and I did not empathize with any of the characters. The back of the book sounded so promising, but I just did not feel like it delivered like I hoped it would.
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I really enjoyed this thriller! Some parts of it are dark or suspenseful enough to almost become horror as well, and it's truly an addictive read. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because of the portrayal of journalists in such a negative/unethical light (which I won't go into here because I can't give details without also giving spoilers) - but perhaps journalists are just like that in the UK? Aside from that, I thought the characters were well fleshed-out and developed, the atmosphere and descriptions done fabulously well (I literally caught myself thinking 'hey this new character looks like that person' even though, obviously, I'd never actually visually seen the character), and the plot still gave me a surprise twist even though I figured out everything else.
Will certainly be recommending this book to everyone I come across.
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I loved reading A Dark and Secret Place. The writing was excellent. Heather returns to her childhood home after her mother’s suicide looking for answers. When she discovers her mom had a decades-long correspondence with a serial killer, she ends up with even more questions. While I was reading this book, I kept trying to figure out what other book it reminded me of. Not that it was derivative, just that it put me in mind of something else. I finally realized that it didn’t remind me of another book, but of a feeling- the feeling I get when I’m fully engrossed in my favorite thrillers. I have a few bones to pick with the ending and the whodunnit- but the writing more than made up for it. I hope Jen Williams writes more in this genre. Recommended for fans of Rachel Caine and Chelsea Cain.
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Yessssss! This is haunted! So bleak, incredibly dark, soul crushingly disturbing story may give you long and endless nightmares! 

Ladies and gentlemen, I can honestly announce that I found a great gem to read on Halloween month! 

Its genre is more closer to psychological thriller and mystery but there is monstrous serial killer out there to take the women into the woods, carving their hearts theme is closer to give you enough scare and horrifying screams belong to horror movies’ Queen Ms. Curtis! 

  Poor Heather Evans in her mid thirties returns to her family house, the very same place she has left when she was 16 after losing her father and having disastrously dysfunctional relationship with her mother and  she sworn not to return back ever! 

But now, her mother took her own life and the she suffers from guilt and grief, organizing her mother’s belongings, trapped in this humongous, eerie, gothic place which gives haunted vibes. She starts finding flower petals and bird feathers scattered around the rooms and shadows at the back garden close to the woods watching her moves and vanishing into thin air as soon as they are noticed by her. 

  And these ominous things are just the beginning of her haunted visit to her past. She finds her mother’s correspondences with a man, the very same man called Red Wolf who is notorious, vicious serial killer, brutally took lives of innocent women and carved their hearts (as a souvenir: he might have eaten them or buried them, who knows?) And from the writing style she realizes Michael Reave a.k.a Red Wolf might be really close to her mother ( a friend or God forbid her lover maybe!?) 

  So she decides to share this information with police and pushes her chance to talk with this dangerous man to learn more about her own mother’s secrets. Even though DI Ben Harper had second thoughts about the meetings at the prison, he reluctantly accepts it because a copy cat killer is out there kidnapping women and taking their lives and the newbie monster’s method has quite resemblances with Red Wolf’s technique. Michael Reave hasn’t said a word for years and now he is ready to talk with Heather. 

  After her first encounter with this dangerous man, Heather quickly realizes she’s slowly dragging to the cliffs and her life is under threat! Because monsters in the wood are now coming for her so she’d better run or face her past and release her inner darkness to fight them back. 

 Heather was quite lovable badass heroine, reminded me of Walter White’s famous line: so many times you think she is danger but you shouldn’t be worried about her because she is the danger! 

One of my darkest, gripping, nightmarish, riveting reading with great references of Red Riding Hood ( sometimes the girl in a red hood can be hunter and poor wolf can be a prey! )

Special thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions. I truly enjoyed it!
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Do elegantly written . Where do I start amazing characters amazing twist,  I want more from this author.  I already added this book to our book club list.
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A mix between thriller and crime with cults, serial killers, and spooky fairy tales sandwiched perfectly in between.  Williams does a great job of setting the pace, letting us know that something is up and keeping us guessing until the end.  A great read, especially for Spooktober!
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#ADarkandSecretPlace #NetGalley
Special thanks to Crooked lane books and NetGalley for providing me with ARC.

I don't love this novel, i finished it because i want to know what will happen in the end.

The characters are annoying me, i tried to focus in the novel but i can't , i put it down many times.
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Heather, a journalist moves home after her mother's suicide and discovers she's been writing letters to a notorious serial killer--the Red Wolf. At the same time, women are disappearing, and the killer's MO looks suspiciously like the Red Wolf's. Could there be a copycat killer, and is Heather's mother somehow involved--both with the past killings, and somehow in the present?

The author described wanting to write a horror novel, so I was expecting something scarier, and I was a bit disappointed to find that it just... wasn't scary. I do love thrillers, so I went back to it with that mindset, but I also found that it didn't draw me in. I didn't love the main character--or even like her, really--and I had no investment in what happened to her. I wasn't even invested in the core mystery, because it became fairly obvious what was going on pretty early on in the book. I also found the pace to be a bit slow, unfortunately. It's possible this just wasn't for me, but I don't think I'll be recommending this anytime soon.
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By: Jen Williams
Review By: I Love to Read (librarian)

Thank you Net galley and publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summoned home by her mother's suicide, Heather struggles to make sense of her mother's cryptic suicide note. Having left home as a teen, Heather realizes much about her mother's early life is a mystery. As she tries to unravel the past, she comes in contact with an incarcerated serial killer with whom her mother exchanged letters through the years. Now a copycat killer is murdering women. This macabre story is told in a time slip fashion featuring scenes from the past in the killer's point of view as well as the current narrative. The story moves slowly at times. The ending though fairly predictable, satisfactorily answers all story questions.
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A very good read for the season! This creepy and disturbing novel begins when Heather wants to understand why her mother committed suicide seemingly out of nowhere. As she searches for answers, she discovers her mother has been secretly corresponding with a serial killer for many years. In trying to understand, Heather visits Michael in prison. And things suddenly go to - a darker and more secret place. The story goes back and forth in time, yet works well. There is murder and violence but not unbearable, at least to me, to read. The last third of the book goes even darker as Heather and her friend go hunting for clues in a large forest. The creep factor is real with this gory story, but worth a read.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Wow! What did I just read? 
Ex journalist- Heather returns to her family home after her estranged mothers suicide. This was out of character for her mother so it leaves Heather with a lot questions. 
She finds letters in the attic from a serial killer. On top of that women are being murdered again. 
Heather of course is drawn to the investigation and visits the killer in prison. 

I finished this in one sitting it was so good. Very unsettling and intriguing. There was tension on every page and I slept with the lights on after reading. 

Anyone who enjoys dark thrillers should read this one! 
Thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for my advanced ebook copy.
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I really loved this book! 
I enjoyed Heather's character.
To me this was a quick intense book. 
At first it was a little slow but quickly picked up.

Thanks NetGalley Publisher and author for this copy.
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Wow. This book really surpassed my expectations. I hadn’t heard of the author before and as her previous work is fantasy-based I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was SO good!

Heather returns to her childhood home following her mum’s inexplicable suicide, and discovers a bizarre connection between her mother and a serial killer who’s been in prison for decades. Her quest to discover the reason for the link naturally leads to... well, a dark and secret place!

The storyline had me gripped from the outset and I loved the author’s writing style. The subject matter was grim, but unlike another reviewer I didn’t find the depictions gratuitous or overly graphic. 

The characterisation was brilliant - I loved how our view of Colleen changes towards the end of the book; after seeing her as a rather cold and distant character, when we realise the terrible choice she faced we view her in a completely different way. I also liked that Heather wasn’t depicted as one-dimensional; she had her own demons and flaws, but ultimately I empathised with her and felt she was a genuinely plausible and relatable character. 

Michael Reeve too was brilliantly portrayed - clearly disturbed and responsible for despicable acts, but I even summoned some empathy for him and found the last chapter quite moving. Had he been given a different start in life who knows how he would have turned out? Unexpected I actually felt some compassion for him - his life seemed so hopeless.

The author didn’t shy away from the reality of Reeve’s crimes and there were no inconceivable plot twists - the sad, dark reality was as anticipated and Reeve is presented as a complex character who we never really fully understand. 

The plot moved at a good pace and although I foresaw some of the twists/reveals, the major twist involving Colleen came as a complete surprise. I was sad to finish it knowing this is the author’s first and only thriller so far - hopefully there will be more to come, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another.

My thanks to netgalley, the publisher and Jen Williams for the ARC.
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