Cover Image: The Son's Secret

The Son's Secret

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Member Reviews

This book was okay. I enjoyed reading it throughout, I would recommend it to anyone. I just wanted more, I was expecting more having read her other novels.

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I dont believe this really had the wow factor of a thriller going on for me. I predicted who dunnit and that took away the enjoyment of the book for me.

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When her son goes missing, Maggie Lawson will not rest until she finds him.
This is a stand alone mystery novel by Daryl Wood Gerber. I have read all of Daryl's books to date, and this is an enjoyable one. The story takes place in New Orleans, a town very dear to me. I love all the locations she picks to send her characters, and she does a great job in giving atmosphere to those areas.
The plot is pretty straight forward, but how we get from her son going missing to the ending takes some interesting twists and turns. The characters are well fleshed out, and their motivations and actions are consistent with their characterization.
My only complaint is that Maggie gets a little too frenetic for me. The situation would instill panic in any mother, but I felt that it was a bit much for me personally.
Overall, a good read with interesting characters and a great setting. A good read when you want a light thriller.
All opinions in this review are my own.

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Maggie Lawson is the highly intelligent and competent dean of a small boutique college. She is also the single mother of a college-age son, who has inexplicably gone AWOL at a time when she needs to get hold of him because his father Josh, her ex-husband, who is also an investigative journalist, is in hospital with a gunshot wound.

Maggie's brother committed suicide many years ago as a result of bullying, so she is prone to worrying about any potential sign of such instability in her son, Aiden.

After her son's earlier girlfriend Keira is killed by a hit and run driver, Aiden goes into something of a slump before bouncing back to marry - in a matter of months - his girlfriend's best friend Celine, who is a few years older than him. Maggie knows very little about this relationship, which is a further cause of concern for her.

This book started out well, but quite quickly, Maggie's level of anxiety over her son became annoying - especially when she started coming up with increasingly farfetched ideas and basically accusing everyone around her of kidnapping him.

Of course, Maggie turned out to have been justified in her concern (otherwise there would not have been much of a story!), but this book needed a bit less maternal hysteria and more subtlety in its plot twists. *And* I guessed the villain - and their villainy - early one. Anyway, to be honest, this one didn't really work well for me, though I am sure that other readers may find it interesting. Giving it 2.5 stars.

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Maggie Lawson is the dean of a small college and a single mom to a son who is in college. Things seem to be normal until she suddenly can't reach her son to tell him that his father has been injured. She thought they had a good relationship but ever since he got married things haven't quite been the same. She realizes that something more is going on than a son ignoring his mother and decides to investigate on her own. Was he kidnapped by someone his father exposed in hos writing? Did he get himself in some kind of trouble that she doesn't know about? Is it her fault for cutting off the money.she can no longer afford to provide him? As more and more comes to light she finds herself in danger. Follow along in this exciting new read and see just what secrets Maggie uncovers and the devastation they could lead to.

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I was kind of annoyed by the main character, Maggie. She is a very worried mother who thinks her son is missing. I get it, and I would be crazy worried too, but most of this book is just her being worried and accusing everyone she encounters as being the kidnapper of her son. The ending picked up for me and was a decent ending, in my opinion.

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From the first pulse-quickening chapter to the spine-chilling climax, Daryl Wood Gerber's "The Son's Secret" gripped my senses and refused to let go. This psychological thriller is a rollercoaster of suspense and intrigue, a literary labyrinth where every twist and turn heightens the stakes and intensifies the urgency to uncover the truth.

Meet Maggie Lawson, the brilliant and capable dean of a boutique college. Yet, in her world, even the most unyielding motherhood can crumble. The synopsis hinted at the tumult that ensues when Maggie, in a gut-wrenching moment, can't reach her college senior son, Aiden, after a devastating revelation about his father. The characters are not mere players in a narrative; they are intricately woven threads in a complex tapestry of mystery, leaving me questioning motives and alliances until the final page.

The plot is a tautly pulled string, resonating with tension and mystery. Gerber's narrative expertise shines through as Maggie's frantic attempts to contact her son escalate into a harrowing race against time. The story's pacing is relentless, a cadence of suspense that had me compulsively turning pages, desperate to uncover the secrets veiled beneath the surface of Maggie's seemingly ordinary life.

As the dark events unfold, Gerber masterfully navigates the terrain of psychological suspense. Every revelation is a gut punch, every twist a tantalizing tease that amplifies the enigma. The psychological elements are woven seamlessly into the narrative, blurring the lines between reality and deception. Maggie's journey becomes a labyrinth of doubt, and I found myself haunted by the same questions that tormented her—Is Aiden ghosting her, or has the dangerous world of investigative journalism her ex-husband pursued finally caught up with them?

The strength of "The Son's Secret" lies not only in its ability to maintain an unrelenting pace but also in the emotional resonance it evokes. Gerber delves deep into the complex mother-son dynamic, portraying Maggie's relentless pursuit of her child as a testament to the indomitable power of maternal love. The characters are vividly drawn, each layer peeled away to reveal hidden facets, and the narrative unfolds with a delicious mix of unpredictability and inevitability.

While the novel's brilliance far outweighs any drawbacks, it's fair to acknowledge that the resolution, though satisfying, may leave some readers craving an even more profound revelation. Certain plot elements, while effective, may tread on familiar ground for seasoned psychological thriller enthusiasts. However, these minor quibbles fade against the backdrop of the narrative's relentless grip.

In conclusion, "The Son's Secret" is a psychological masterpiece that catapults readers into a world where secrets breed shadows and every revelation is a step deeper into the abyss. Daryl Wood Gerber has crafted a symphony of suspense that resonates long after the final page, making this novel a must-read for aficionados of the genre. Brace yourself for a thrilling odyssey through the murkiness of deception, and savor every heart-pounding moment. 📚🕵️‍♀️💥

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Maggie, a respected Dean at a boutique college in New Orleans, is suddenly ghosted by her just-barely adult son. When her ex-husband is shot, but her son doesn’t show up, Maggie knows something is seriously wrong. But she can’t make anyone else believe it, except finally her son’s beautiful but distant wife, with whom Maggie has never really connected.
Many mothers of adult children will understand the fine line Maggie has been trying to walk, trying to be supportive without being intrusive, and the anxiety when she can’t determine whether or how much his disappearance could be her fault. All while she is trying to do her job at the college, dealing with entitled donors, a coach accused of inappropriate behavior and assorted other fires, large and small. Each day the anxiety is ratcheted up, getting closer and closer to the breaking point for both Maggie and her son’s wife.
I would not recommend reading this if you’ve just had a fight with your adult children.
Gerber navigates a number of relationships with built in minefields, and does so credibly. The setting is classic New Orleans, humid, a little spooky, and taking everything in stride.
Enjoy the twists and turns, along with a few red herrings!
Thanks to NetGalley and Severn for the reading copy.

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The Son's Secret is a stand-alone twisted domestic thriller.

Maggie Lawson is the dean of a boutique college. When Maggie can't reach her college senior son, Aiden, to tell him that his father has been shot, she starts to panic. She texts. She calls. She is scared.

Maggie can't get anyone to believe Aiden is missing. She has gone to the police, friends, her daughter-in-law and no one seems concerned.

This was an interesting story. Lots of characters and lots of red herrings to keep you guessing. I wasn't particularly fond of Maggie. When we meet her, she is starting to spiral in fear over not being able to reach her son. This only gets worse as the story builds in intensity. Sometimes it felt as if her imagination was getting the better of her. But in the end, she did know her son well enough to keep fighting to find him.

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Deftly Drawn..
Maggie Lawson is a capable woman. Normally in total control and wholly confident. However, circumstances have conspired, putting her in an appalling situation. A tragedy has occurred and she cannot contact her son. Why does no one believe her? As events unfold and the situation becomes darker secrets may out. Engaging and immersive tale of suspense with a deftly drawn cast of characters, a tension fuelled narrative and a twisting plot.

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Wow! This story was intense. Maggie knew something was wrong with her son but no one believed her. She had a lot of her own demons to deal as well as trying to convince everyone that something was wrong. There were other things happening that may or may not have been related to Aiden’s disappearance that muddied her search. I couldn’t put it down!

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) copy of this book and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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A mother's intuition always knows best, but what happens when no one else believes her? Convinced her son is in danger a mother fights against time and everyone in her life to prove it. A gritty, dark and twisted psychological thriller that will have you turning pages as quickly as you can to see if the mother will be in time or if she is just out of her mind. If you pay close attention to the clues in the book, you should slowly start to reveal the villain, but beware there are many villains to choose from so make your choice wisely! I swear this author gets better with each book and I'm not sure how that is possible when I think each book is outstanding then the next one outshines the last! Characters crafted so lifelike that you actually feel as if you can reach out and touch them are wrapped in a gripping plot that will have your heart pounding as you follow this mother on her harrowing journey to find her son! Definitely a great read if you like mysteries and thrillers!

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I have read much of Daryl Wood Gerber’s previous works and really enjoyed them. I read all types of mysteries but I tend to like thrillers more than cozy mysteries, so I was very excited for this one. Unfortunately while it was a decent mystery it fell a little flat for me and was harder to get into than I expect. I didn’t really like the main character very much, but honestly I didn’t really like any of them. The main character fell between unreliable narrator and over anxious. While I did see the twist coming I thought it worked pretty well and did tie everything together nicely. Maggie knows something is wrong with her son, but she can’t seem to get anyone to believe her that something is off, even when he doesn’t visit his father in the hospital. The longer he is gone the more she knows something is seriously wrong. Will she find him before it is too late? Overall I gave this one 3.5 stars rounded up because I do love this author and it was a fun mystery.

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I have enjoyed other thrillers, as well as cozy mystery series by this author, so I wasn't surprised when I also enjoyed this one. The Son's Secret is an intriguing, suspenseful novel. Nobody believes Maggie Lawson when she fears something has happened to her college-age son, but Maggie knows her son and knows he wouldn't just leave. There are many people who act suspiciously in the story, so I wasn't sure what had really happened until the very end. 

I enjoyed the suspense and coming up with my own theories about what may have happened to Aiden. Some of the subplots and red herrings may have been a little too detailed, slowing the pace in some parts. However, overall, I enjoyed the book and was entertained from the beginning to the very end.

I received an advance copy of this ebook at no cost from NetGalley and Severn House, but my review is voluntary and unbiased.

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3.5 out of 5 stars
THE SON’S SECRET is the new suspense novel by Daryl Wood Gerber. I’m a huge fan of her cozy mysteries and had great expectations for this book. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time getting invested in the characters for the first third of the book. The short, rapid-fire sentences, meant to convey urgency, detracted from the flow, along with the frequent repetition. About half way through the book, the pace picked up and the plot thickened, so to speak. From there, the intrigued increased and the few suspects became more concrete and I found myself wanting to know what happened next. I had a good idea who the culprit was but not the why. It was a complete surprise to me once the final reveal became known and the pieces of the puzzle all made sense.

I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Maggie will tell you that she isn't a helicopter parent, she is a loving mother who cares about her son. All of a sudden, her son isn't returning her calls or texts. She is the only one who knows that he is missing. She has a feeling that her son is in trouble, and no one believes her. So, it is up to her to find him. As she searches for answers, she only finds more questions and secrets. So many secrets. Maggie feels that time is running out and she has to find him soon.

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The Son’s Secret is a standalone suspense novel by Daryl Wood Gerber. Maggie Lawson is worried when she cannot reach her son, Aiden, to tell him that his father has been shot. Aiden is a married and a senior in college (she expects him to answer her texts and phone calls promptly). I was not a fan of Maggie. She is tightly wound. If she paid as much attention to her job as her son, the college would not have any issues. I was not able to connect with Maggie or any of the characters. I felt the characters lacked development. Maggie begins digging to find out what happened to her son. The plot is like another story that I read recently. I wanted more suspense, action, and thrills. I identified the guilty party early in the story, but I needed to keep reading to find out why. The pacing was mixed. There were some sections that were too slow (needed a punch of pep). While The Son’s Secret was not a hit with me, I am eager for Daryl Wood Gerber’s next cozy mystery.

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My first book by this author and actually hadn’t heard of his Cosy series till I read some of the reviews of this book. I enjoyed the plot on the whole and whilst I. Had a guess at what I thought had happened and got it right I did go down a few rabbit holes along the way which adds to the interest. On the more negative side I did think it was a tad repetitive and that added to the feeling that there simply wasn’t enough tension.

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Maggie's son is missing. Her son Aiden is an adult. She is finding it hard to believe he would just ghost her and totally disappear or disregard her texts. Maggie loves her son very much and is going to leave no stone unturned until she gets answers. Where is her son Aiden? Why has he disappeared?
I found Maggie a complex character and really annoying at times. There were times I just wanted to say "seriously".
As a mother I could understand her need to keep digging deeper for answers while not knowing who she could trust.
A thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat as well as trying to guess who was behind what was happening.

Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the opportunity to read this book.

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Can you trust a mother’s intuition? A son disappears but no one takes it seriously. How far will the mother go to discover what is behind her son’s disappearance? Will it be too late when she is finally believed? This book is set in the historical New Orleans and pays tribute to its past. This book was a good read with well written characters that unfolded to reveal the events leading to the disappearance.

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