Cover Image: The Secret

The Secret

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Member Reviews

Teenagers Hollie and Niamh are best friends in their small village. One day, Hollie goes missing, right after she tells Niamh a devastating secret. The Secret is an intense slow-burn thriller that tackles several  brutal subjects, and the village residents who harbor those secrets, leading to tragic consequences. This one takes a full third of the book to amp up, but once it does, it shifts into another gear, and a lot of those secrets come into focus. Some of the scenes can be a little rough, and the slow start affecting my rating, but it’s worth the wait. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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We all have secrets
But would any of us be killed for them? A problem shared is a problem halved.... Not in this book. I thought I had this all wrapped up but the surprises just kept on coming. Each chapter plays a huge part in the telling of the story and its one that will keep you guessing to the very end.
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I was gripped from the start of this book and didn’t get much else done today as I couldn’t put it down. 

The story is told from the points of view of Elise, Niamh and Jo and covers a variety of difficult subjects including child pornography and domestic and emotional abuse. 

Elise lives with her husband Andrew and teenage daughter Niamh in a quiet English village. On the face of it they are the perfect family - Elise, an air hostess and Andrew the local GP. However, appearances can be deceiving. 

Niamh and her friend Hollie are the only teenagers in the village. It is every parents worst nightmare when Hollie goes missing and before she disappeared she entrusted Niamh with a secret making her promise never to tell anyone. Niamh strives to keep that promise. 

As I said above, I flew through this book and was desperate to find out what happened to Hollie etc. I did guess correctly some of the plot before it was revealed but that didn’t stop me enjoying the story. I did find some of the subject matter a bit hard to stomach but these things do happen even if we are not always aware of them. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced read copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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The Secret started off brilliantly and carried on throughout with twists and cliff-hangers that kept me engaged. I loved that not all the characters we were rooting for were always ones we liked, and Howells writes with a nuance that is so easy to read. 
There was difficult issues tackled well and with sympathy too, not an easy read at times as they were so well thought out and true to life. 

Thanks again to Avon and Netgalley for the chance to read and review.
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Thank you Avon Book, NetGalley and Author for this advance ebook copy in return for an honest review!
Avon Books y'all seriously made my month gifting me with a copy of The Secret! 😘
I enjoyed Howells previous book The Vow but The Secret is 10 times better! 

Family, secrets, lies.... Add these together and I'm there reading it! 
This book was a good quick suspense read! With great characters!.
The writing was done very well! Debbie knows how to keep her reader engaged and scanning the pages wanting to see how this story ends! 
This book sucked me in at page one and kept me turning the pages. 
This thriller was full of mystery, suspense, and twists and turns.
Really enjoyed this book and I can't wait to see what she writes next! 

Thanks again NetGalley, Publisher and Author for the chance to read and review this amazing book!
I'll post to my Social media platforms closer to pub date!

Avon Book
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This was quite an average thriller. There is nothing that is unique or memorable about it all all. The twists were very predictable and the characters were not realistic.
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#TheSecret #NetGalley 
An ok read. 
Hollie told Niamh about a secret she didn't share with anyone. Now she's dead and someone in the village killed her just to save their secret. Who's the killer? 
This book had a little to offer but I just finished it because of the author, I trusted her that something big is going to happen in the end but I was disappointed. 
It's an ok read with ok characters and so so narration. Read it if you're her fan. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Avon for giving me an advanced copy of this psychological thriller.
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This was a run-of-the-mill story for me. While I enjoyed it, there wasn't anything that grabbed me. There are some major trigger warnings to be aware of but I would recommend this to someone new to the thriller genre.
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The book has a good start and a promising premise. But the author seems to have lost the plot in the narrative. The reader is exposed to what is happening in everyone’s mind rather than the action on the ground. When the final reveal comes it sort of doesn’t pack enough punch.
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I really enjoyed this read. It's pretty dark but isn't that why we read domestic noirs?! It's quite a creepy story but it'll def have you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing til the end. It's not gory but it's also not for the faint of heart I'd say! Some of the topics are a bit.... well..... dark lol.. in saying that, that's what makes the story what it is. Very much a worthwhile read
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I 100% refuse to believe everyone in this village has 2-4 thoughts they just cycle through on repeat. Also? The reveals are...not all that revelatory. By the time we get to the big thing at the end? I did not care. At all.
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The Secret- Debbie Howells

My first time reading this author, and it's a blend of a coercive control domestic thriller and a suspicious death murder mystery with a sprinkling of blackmail and an investigation into a porn ring.

So, an interesting mix of ingredients.

For me it didn't quite live up to the potential. I liked having the perspectives of Elise (the wife suffering the abusive relationship) and Jo, (leading the Police investigation) who had survived a controlling relationship.

It's an easy read and moves along at a steady pace, but for me it lacked tension. I felt like I had missed something, and I might have, but there's a key relationship with one of the characters which is only explained later on, when it seems like it should be a key part of the main characters' lives.

Not really one for me, but I admire the attempt to marry the various elements into something a little difference.

Thanks to Netgalley and Avon
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This was such a good read, it was totally engrossing i was completely gripped. It is twisty, mysterious and unpredictable. it was so tense and atmospheric, i will be thinking about this book for a while
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Teenagers Hollie and Niamh tell each other everything, and one day Hollie tells Niamh about a shocking discovery.  Then she vanishes...  Nobody in the village claims to know anything, but when her body is found it becomes clear that someone is not only a liar, but a killer...  What did Hollie tell Niamh before she died, and was it this secret that got her killed?  Who would kill to keep the secret?  A thrilling story that keeps you turning the pages until the shocking conclusion.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of the book in return for my honest feedback.
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I loved this book! Debbie Howell’s previous book “The Vow” was good but this is even better. 
It’s the perfect psychological thriller and the plot will grip you from page 1. 
The ending is amazing and unexpected. 
It’s definitely one I’ll be recommending to others.
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Well! Wow I'm reading this book and I'm like ok yeah this book is really good ! Great storyline, suspense, action, intrigue, and a whole bunch of twists and turns! Oh and a bunch of who done what to who?! So I'm like ok four stars I guess?! Then! Then! The end comes!! Omg I did not ever ever expect that!! Wow that kind of blew my mind for some reason! Wow just crazy! Mind blown! Lol just for that and the book was really good it definitely deserved five stars! Great read! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!
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Hollie and Niamh are the only teenagers in their small village so it’s natural that they’ve formed a close, almost unbreakable, bond. They are comfortable sharing secrets, even if it’s about their own families and often things that no one else would understand. When Hollie reveals something that pushes that confidence to the limits, then disappears, Niamh is sure her friend will come back. And it’s true that Hollie is found… but not alive. In come the police to see if they can piece together what happened and why a young woman is now dead. Will Niamh – who has serious family problems to contend with – speak up about what she know? And who would do anything to keep their truths from surfacing? The relationship between the teens feels realistic, in that almost claustrophobic way that adolescence is like – plus it’s a cracker of a read.
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Set in a small village, Niamh and Hollie are the only youngsters that live there. They are very close friends and tell each other everything until one day Hollie goes missing but she told Niamh something before she went missing but Niamh promised she wouldn't tell anyone. Then Hollie's body is found but who killed her? suspicions grow around all the villagers but which one killed her? secrets, lies and betrayals all surface. Will Niamh be able to tell the police everything she knows. I think this is my first book by Debbie and I would read more of hers, this was a good paced thriller that kept me engaged throughout, I did find the middle part a little slow but the ending was a shocker and one I didn't see coming.
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The first thing I would say about this book is that there are a lot of triggers around mental health, domestic abuse/violence as well as others which I won't list as it would like act as a spoiler.

This is my first Debbie Howells book and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Niamh and Hollie are the only two teenagers in a sleepy village and become friends. Hollie discovers a secret about their village and its residents and swears Niamh to secrecy, Hollie is then found dead and the whole village is under suspicion and Niamh agonises over assisting the Police by unveiling Hollie's secret or remaining loyal to her dead friend.

I think books like this, which relate to a long, drawn out secret (which is kept from the reader until the end) live or die by their ending when all is revealed. The reason that this is 4 stars rather than 5 is that I thought the ending was quite predictable (and I am very rarely able to guess the endings of books!).

However the story was good, and I think Howells captured the small village feel very well. There are some truly vile characters who you will end up hating and some real heroes who you will cheer for and Howells captures the essence of both the good and bad extremely well.

I would definitely recommend this book to others however due to the issues within the book it may be a difficult read for some. I should say, however, that Howells does write about the issues about very well and senstively.

Thanks to Avon Books and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Avon Books and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Secret by Debbie Howells is a very dark thriller about deadly secrets.  The story revolves around two teenagers: Hollie and Niamh. They're best friends and tell each other everything.  One day, Hollie tells Niamh one of her darkest secrets, and then she turns up dead.  Who would have killed Hollie in order to keep her mouth shut? And what was the secret that was so devastating it merited killing a teenager?  The story alternatives between three viewpoints: Niahm, her mother Elise, and Jo, a detective on the case.

Here is an excerpt from the Prologue, which is from Niamh's point of view:

"Hollie didn't have a chance. She was too fragile, looking for a love she needed but had never had. Not even from the people closest to her: the mother she adored who screwed her up, then killed herself; the father who didn't have time for her; the stepmother who tried to love her, but couldn't give her the mother's love she craved.
It seemed inevitable that Hollie and Dylan would fall in love. And, for a while, it was glorious... When love consumed you the way theirs did, everything else was irrelevant.
Until the day of yellow sky and wild winds, when it all stopped."

Overall, The Secret is a seriously dark thriller that will appeal to fans of Karin Slaughter.  The beginning of this book was great, but it went downhill from there.  I took off 1 star, because just like Karin Slaughter's Pretty Girls, this book is way too dark for me. I went in expecting a nice domestic thriller with some twists.  Instead, this book has probably every trigger under the sun.  I took off another star, because I couldn't stand Niamh's character.  Her actions, such as keeping dangerous secrets from everyone around her, are nonsensical and only serve to make the plot last longer.  I took off another star, because there are a lot of conversations, but not a lot of action. I wish there had been more showing instead of telling  If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of domestic thrillers, you can check out this book when it comes out in January!
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