Cover Image: The Secret

The Secret

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Member Reviews

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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This is a book I could not put down…this book was sent to me on Kindle by Netgalley  for review…murder…mayhem…abuse…divorce…family…friends…psychological and physical abuse…narcissism…family dynamics…this story is woven as a true story but is fiction…when reading this book, I felt as if I knew the characters…the good part is that the bad guys are caught…they get what they deserve…the ending is somewhat surprising but not totally.  I look forward to reading more by this author.
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I absolutely love everything about this book from the story to the cover.  It’s a great story that completely brings you in immediately.  The pacing is perfect and I loved the ending.
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Great book I read this on a rainy day in a couple of hours.  I loved the characters and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened.  This book is a great thriller.
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