The Secret

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Pub Date 06 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 08 Jan 2022

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‘What an absolute corker! More twists than your local theme park rollercoaster!’ NetGalley review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Reading it felt like watching a movie peeking through my fingers’ NetGalley review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Everyone has secrets. And now, one of mine is yours…’

Best friends Hollie and Niamh tell each other everything. Behind the village of Abingworth’s closed doors, every family has its secrets – and their doors might hide the worst ones of all.

One day Hollie tells Niamh about a devastating discovery, swears her to secrecy, then vanishes. The villagers claim to know nothing. But when Hollie’s body is found, the police know one of their number isn’t just a liar, but a killer…

What did Hollie tell Niamh before she died? And who would kill to keep it hidden?

After all, two can keep a secret – if one of them is dead…

A completely unputdownable suspense thriller that will leave you reeling at the final twist…Perfect for fans of BA Paris and Claire McGowan.


Readers are GRIPPED by The Secret:

The ending! Omg I did not ever expect that – mind blown!’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Twists and turns guaranteed to keep you on the tip of your seat’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘One of the best thrillers I’ve read’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘I was gripped from the start and couldn’t put it down!’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Exciting, twisting, thrilling and intense’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Intense psychological suspense – a book you have to finish’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘I was not expecting the ending!’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘A brilliant small town mystery with shocks, twists and turns’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘A truly immersive, one-sit read’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Vow was good but this is even better’ Reader review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘What an absolute corker! More twists than your local theme park rollercoaster!’ NetGalley review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Reading it felt like watching a movie peeking through my fingers’ NetGalley review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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ISBN 9780008400200
PRICE £2.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Hollie and Niamh are best friends and tell each other everything. One day Hollie goes missing and is later found dead. Niamh's .Parents are Andrew who is the local Dr and Elise. The villagers see them as a loving family unit but once at home Andrew changes into the controlling husband that he is. Elise can't leave and so has to put on her face so no one finds out the truth about their relationship.
When Hollie is found dead questions get asked and certain goings on in the village come to light. Who is guilty and will do anything to hide the truth.
I really enjoyed this book and was not expecting the ending that it had.

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The Secret by Debbie Howells
This was a briliant small town mystery. Told from multiple points of view the story kept unravelling more and more shocks and twists and turns. Brilliant. Highly recommended xx

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Thank you NetGalley and Avon Books for the advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and i’ll defiantly be reading more. I found the first few chapters a little slow but once i got into it it sped up nicely, each chapter is written using one of three characters point of view which made it a quick read, it does however cover a number of very difficult issues which some might find hard to read (domestic abuse).
I did manage to see the ending coming but what a great twist it was .
Would defiantly recommend The Secret.

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Thank you to Avon books, and NetGalley, for another fast paced thriller with an unexpected ending! I love thrillers that deal with hidden community darkness, secrets, and "at all costs we keep our secrets" themes and this thriller delivers for readers looking for an engaging thriller. 3.75 stars, rounded up Some content in terms of abuse and suggestion of sexual exploitation should be noted for readers as that is part of exploring what underlies the mystery.

The examination of what we don't know about where we live and who is in our community are strong themes that bring in consideration of human behavior, motivations of people who engage in harmful behavior, and why people keep secrets. I appreciated the focus on a strong female lead who valued her the memory of her friend enough to demand to know what happened to her. All too often these are themes in suspense books but are worthy of thinking about in the context of how young people today see movements for social justice, for recognition that behaviors and actions in communities, etc, as ways to obtain change and justice, I appreciate a book that perhaps recognizes the power of an individual to look for answers despite obstacles.

The Secret by Debbie Howells is recommended for fans of thrillers that take on small town secret themes (I think of Mary Kubica as an example) and for readers who like an unexpected twist.

I will share my review on instagram, amazon, B&N, twitter, and my website closer to publication date! Thank you again to Avon for a fun thriller, I look forward to reading more from your authors.

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CW: domestic abuse, coercive control, child sexual exploitation

Hollie Hampton and Niamh Buckley are the only two teenagers in the village of Abingworth, so naturally they become friends. Sixteen year old Hollie, ethereal and over dramatic, is acting more out of character than usual. She knows a secret, one which she shared with Niamh shortly before she went missing. Could her disappearance be related to the porn ring that police have been pinpointed to the village.

It seems everyone in the village has secrets, relationships not as they seem, affairs and abuse hidden behind closed doors. This book covers a multitude of issues, I was gripped until the end. This is the first book by Debbie Howells I have read but I will look out for more books from her.

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A gripping psychological thriller.
Elise had a seemingly enviable lifestyle, she has everything she needs, lovely house in a small village, is cabin crew for an airline, she has a teenage daughter, Niamh and her husband is the local doctor. However not everything is as it seems on the surface. She is stuck in an abusive relationship which is escalating and is becoming more and more out of control.
When her daughter’s best friend is found dead events from the past come back to the fore and everything seems to be linked to a child porn ring the police have uncovered locally.
A real page turner I could hardly put down. I wasn’t fully convinced by all the characters especially Elise but the rest more than made up for her.

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This was Very good mystery. I didn’t know who did it until the last page I would highly recommend this book

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I absolutely loved this book and there were so many layers that I didn’t expect but they fit so well. The twists were well timed and not too far out there but definitely caught me by surprise. I thought the ending was very interesting… I like how vague it was regarding Niamh as a murderer; she pushed Hollie, who hit her head but she was seemingly fine until she wasn’t and when Niamh had a change to save her, no matter how quick that moment came and went, she didn’t act!


“Only ten percent of people are good”. This quote makes its way throughout this book multiple times and the statistic proved to be true for the characters. This thrilling crime novel tells the story of the Buckley family who is haunted by death and abuse. The village in which they live in is unique and seemingly holds the darkest secrets, belonging not just to the Buckleys, but to the rest of the community as well, until the truth is forced to come to light.

This well paced novel is layered with multiple story lines and secondary characters who complete the plot. Although there are themes of mental illness, suicide, and domestic violence, these heavy topics are used in an intentional way that demonstrate humanity and leaves the reader questioning who belongs to that 10 Percent.

Thank you for this thrilling read! I will be posting a more content about this book on my Instagram @balancedbookshelf!

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Elsie Buckley is married to Andrew who is a doctor and they have a teen daughter, Niamh. Niamh has a close relationship with her friend Hollie. One day Hollie tells Niamh a huge secret that she is forbidden to share. After this, Hollie goes missing and soon after her body is found. Detective May is now forced to question everyone in this small village that they live in. She uncovers some pretty horrible secrets and she is left to discover what happened to Hollie. Was it murder and why?

This was a very detailed book with a lot of characters. Some parts were harder to read than others but the story was well written. The ending was a surprise and had some great twists. I would read more books by Debbie Howells. She knows how to tell a great story.

TW: Domestic abuse

Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for my ARC in exchange for my honest review

This review will be posted to my Instagram Blog ( in the near future.

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Deception And Duplicity…
An insular village; secrets and lies, deception and duplicity abound but who here would actually kill to keep something secret? A compelling, well written suspense with a credible cast of characters, an edgy storyline and touching on difficult, dark themes which are dealt with an empathetic sleight of hand. A truly immersive,one sitting read.

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Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read The Secret!
LOTS of secret and lies in this who dunnit thriller!
One you don’t want to put down and can’t wait to get back to.
One twist I guessed coming but did not expect the ending! You thought it was all wrapped up and all revealed, then BAM! Love those kind of endings.

I liked the different character perspectives and found the book easy to read, the words and chapters flowing.
The characters were believable, and you could feel empathy for SOME of them! The others could make your blood boil.
A sad but so real subject of how marriages can look perfect, but you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.

Would definitely recommend.

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Elise Buckley is on duty as cabin crew when she views a headline of a passengers magazine which states that ‘Only 10% of people are good’. She reflects on this and understands only too well how tenuous her family life with GP husband Andrew and daughter Niamh is. Niamh’s friend Hollie has a barrel load of baggage, what does she confide to Niamh before she disappears? The story is told by Elise, Niamh and by DS Jo(anna) May.

This novel confronts a number of very difficult issues and does so well. It’s a good examination of coercive control with all its horrifying ramifications. The book is quite sinister in a number of ways. There are several characters living in fear for a variety of reasons, some are controlled in ways that range from vicious to blackmail and there are several forms of abuse. The perspectives of Elise and Jo are done effectively, I’m a bit less certain of Niamh but as she’s a teenager then maybe her motivations are understandable. She’s caught between a rock and a hard place. The character of Andrew is done extremely well, what a vile excuse for a human being he is. The portrayal of the small Sussex village closing its protective ranks like the high hedges or walls that surround their multi million pound properties is also conveyed well although I’m not entirely convinced everyone would stay schtum, I know I wouldn’t! However, let’s keep that headline about the other 90% in mind!

Although it’s fair to say I do enjoy the book and find it a compelling read, towards the end the revelations are not that much of a surprise as they kind of had to be. However, full credit to the author for her stark portrayal of the issues covered in the book and especially via the character of Elise where she really digs deep into the psychology of her situation which leads to greater understanding of her actions.

Overall, it’s not an easy read in places nor is it meant to be but it’s well worth reading.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Avon Books UK for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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I should have seen that ending coming, but I did not. One of the reasons I like mysteries is to see if I can put together the clues to figure it out. With The Secret, I could not and that already gets a star from me! There is a lot going on in the book. And at times a lot of characters, but they were always distinguishable from each other. Another star! Told from 3 different POV’s we learn what happened prior to and what happens after local teen Hollie is found murdered. Who would want to harm Hollie and why? In this seemingly idyllic village, nothing is as it seems and every one has a secret. This novel is full of suspense and intrigue. One thing is for sure, it’s never dull! Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this action packed thriller.

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We all have secrets but could you be killed for them.. The surprises and twists just kept coming with this book and I loved that each of the characters played such a big part in the revealing of the story - this story will have you guessing until the end.

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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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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 so love this authors books . always addictive how well do we know our neighbour s . Elise is married to Andrew she is an air hostess her husband a doctor they have a daughter Niamh they live in a village where everyone knows everyone but each neighbour has secrets Niamh friend Hollie is very troubled and scared . but Elise hides from everyone how cruel her husband is but one night Hollie does not come home and the police are called it is so good will have you gripped to the last chapter

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This was a twisty thriller with several threads running through it which kept you wondering how they all tied together right up until the end. This is one of those reads that gets increasingly engrossing the further into the story you get and the complexity of the characters just grows. Told from the viewpoints of mother, daughter and detective it’s a tale of friendship, secrets and a close yet distant village community with a dark undercurrent running through it. Niamh, the daughter, was a very surprising character, very perspicacious but playing her cards very closely to her chest. Overall this is quite a dark but intriguing read.

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This was my first time reading anything by Debbie Howells and I enjoyed it, I will say there's are some triggers around mental health/domestic abuse and some others in this book, so if you think that maybe not your thing right now then this is ok. There won't be any in my review but I think its important knowing that going into a book because honestly we need to look after our mental health the best we can.

Only 10% of people are good' this is a quote that repeats itself throughout the book, this crime novel tells the story of the Buckley family who seems to be haunted by death and abuse, the village in which they live holds some pretty awful secrets, and they are about to come out of the closet, bringing the Buckleys along for the ride.

Hollie and Niamh are the only two teens in the village, Hollie discovers a secret about the village and its residents, she tells her best friend and swears her to secrecy, the thing is one of them goes missing and the whole village is under suspicion.

The missing person isn't the secret by the way, but you won't find that out until the very end of the book, and I know that can be frustrating at times as a reader to want to get there faster, but I don't recommend skipping because a) why would you and b) you'll miss out on the good stuff.

It seems everyone has secrets in this village, its not the type of place you'd want to raise a family, relationships are not as they seems, there's affairs and abuse, there's some seriously vile characters who you will at some point wish bad things upon however there's some real champions too.

I liked it, I didn't love it, mainly because of the theme, it was heavy going, and I really had to put it down a few times and read something light hearted, but, crime lovers will love this., and like I said I liked it I just didn't love it. I probably wasn't in the best Frame of mind when I started but it oddly gets you hooked and before you know it you're in there and its a strange mix of not being able to put it down and needing to put it down

All in all I'd say four out of five for me - swerve it if you think the theme may not be for you, mental health matters.

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I found this book a gripping fast paced domestic thriller. When many people in a village have secrets, how do you know who to trust. The story is told from the perspective of Elise, Niamh and Jo. Elise is married to Dr Andrew Buckley, Niamh is their daughter whose friend Hollie has gone missing. Before she went missing Hollie told Niamh a shocking secret, Jo is the detective assigned to the case
There are many aspects of this book which may cause upset to readers, trigger points being coercive control and domestic and physical abuse, child pornography but it's written very empatheticly.
This is my first read by Debbie but I like her style of writing, I certainly didn't see the ending coming.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read the advanced copy, I am under no obligation to provide a review

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I really enjoyed this, yes there was some very hard parts to read. Lots of trigger warnings involved.
It was very detailed and the story line was very good. Some characters I loved and obviously some I despised. Which in my opinion makes this a fantastic book and a good author.
Really enjoyed the twists that were in this book.
Brilliant read.

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Behind the village of Abingworth's closed doors, every family has its secrets - and the Hampton family’s doors might hide the worst ones of all.

Remember back to your teenage years, hanging out with your bestie and sharing secrets?! Well, I’m pretty sure those secrets were nothing compared to what Niamh and Hollie share with each other. The girls come to rely on each other as they are the only teenagers in the village. Not only that, they both have workaholic parents who aren’t always around to provide the support the girls need. One day, Hollie shares a devastating secret with Niamh and then vanishes.

Howells is such a fantastic psychological thriller author! She masterfully doles out just enough information to keep readers in the dark yet craving more clues. Although I did figure out the twist in this one, I was more invested in the ‘why’ than the ‘who,’ and feverishly flipped pages as I neared the end. Howell’s short chapters, despicable and moody characters, and well-paced narrative made this a quick, yet heart-pounding read.

Be forewarned; this is a dark domestic psychological thriller. Howells tastefully writes about difficult issues and complex relationships. The small village setting and gossipmongering are essential to the propulsion of the plot, as is the need for secrets to be kept. Howells writes to explore the idea that if only 10% of people in our world are good people, then we must know or be living with someone who isn’t as they appear to be. You’ll have to read to find out what secrets Abingworth is hiding and if the statistics can be applied to this village. Who is hiding a secret and what is it?

Debbie Howells, the irony/significance of Niamh’s name is not lost on me!

I was gifted this advance copy by Debbie Howells, Avon Books UK, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

Publishes January 6, 2022.

I was gifted this advance copy by Debbie Howells, Avon Books UK, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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Niamh and Hollie are best friends, teenagers brought together through family and pain. When Hollie disappears does Niamh know what happened. Niamh’s parents Elise and Andrew are far from perfect. Andrew being the GP and wanting to keep his perfect life on the outside of their house but inside the house he is very different. One secret is in fact many secrets.
This took me a little time to get into but when you hit that ‘one page’ that turns the story round then you know it’s a good read! Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.

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Oh my goodness what a roller coaster of a ride - I know this is used commonly but this is brilliant. I hadn't read anything before by this author but she got coercive control done to a T. I thought I knew where this was going but I didn't.

This was definitely a one session read; so much that I hushed my husband as I was nearing the end.

Please read this book it will be worth it.

I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own.

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The village of Abingworth is a rather exclusive area to live, with large houses placed in countryside gardens with wooded areas and plenty of privacy. This is a village where the residents don’t have a huge sense of community or honest, real friendships. This is one of those areas where keeping up appearances is everything and for those with a social standing, it’s most important of all. Of course there’s so much more going on than anyone would admit too. Troubled teen Hollie has gone missing. Just beforehand, she briefly visits her friend Niamh and tells her a secret. One she swears to keep safe. However, as detectives arrive and start to ask difficult questions, can Niamh tell the secret to help find her friend? Or is it something so terrible that only by keeping quiet, can she keep her friend and herself safe?

This was an entertaining domestic thriller with some fairly dark themes too. The story is told through two narrators, Elise who is Niamh’s mum and Jo who is the detective on the missing person’s case. Elise is a flight attendant, working unusual hours on
mainly short haul flights. In the first few pages as Elise drives a short distance home from the airport she has a lot on her mind. She is quite matter of fact in about Andrew’s serial infidelity and muses on who it could be this time. Early on, the author takes us on a night out with Elise and Andrew, who is the local GP. This is not so much a relaxed evening out, as it is a show. They must present their most united front in the local, so that everyone they meet must be sure of their relationship and their respectability. The truth is much different.

This book brilliantly portrays coercion and how domestic abuse develops, slow and insidious, until you almost don’t recognise yourself. There are plenty of twists and turns here that keep you guessing, but one revelation jarred a bit and it felt weird that it hadn’t been mentioned sooner. It turns out that this picturesque village has some terrible secrets, all centring on a mansion where Hollie liked to trespass and explore. Elise wants to find out what happened to her, but also protect her daughter Niamh - the last person to talk to Hollie. Does she know more than she’s letting on? I was hooked till the end, as I usually am with this author. I hate false situations where people are putting on a front constantly, the question here is are they doing this to fit in or do they have something to hide? This is another entertaining thriller from this author and will keep you guessing.

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Wow! This thriller really caught me and now I feel like I need a few moments to process!
The speed, the tension, the intricately woven plot, the fallibility of the characters made me bite my lip as I raced through it! Each character so well brought to life, so unique, vulnerabilities clearly demonstrated!
Secrets abound in this closed community! The twists and turns and developments are brilliant! How an author plots all of that amazes me! Trigger warnings for strongly coercive characters and domestic violence though.
It is difficult to write a detailed review without giving spoilers, which I won’t do, if you like psychological thrillers, tense and pacy then read this! I LOVED IT!!

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Wow! What an absolute corker of a book! More twists than your local theme park rollercoaster and some absolutely horrid characters who make for a great read. Families, close-knit villagers who close ranks when push comes to shove, dubious financial transactions and secrets between friends, not to mention an occasional lie to distract from what goes on behind closed doors. All of this and so very much more kept me turning the pages in Debbie Howells' latest gripping tale so fast that I had whipped through it in under 24 hours. And that is a rarity for me!
Niamh and Hollie are the only 2 teenagers in the village of Abingworth and as such stand out among the residents. They live in each other's pockets, telling each other everything. Yet when Hollie goes missing, Niamh seems to be in the dark as much as anyone as to what could have happened to Hollie.
The ensuing police investigation uncovers far more than just what happened in Hollie's last hours and involves more of the village's residents than anyone would have expected when that first missing person report came in.
This is definitely a book which you need to put aside a few hours for; get some snacks in, turn off your phone and keep the coffee pot brewed because you won't want to put it down once you get started.
I'm not saying any more than that because the reveals need to happen entirely as the author intended so no hints let alone spoilers in my review. The only thing I will say is BUY IT!! You will NOT regret it.
Huge thanks for the opportunity to read a prepublication copy of this book via NetGalley.

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The Secret is a tense psychological thriller that kept me reading late into the night.

In the village of Abingworth, everyone has a secret to hide.

Best friends Niamh and Hollie are the only two teenagers in this small community. They tell each other everything. One day, Hollie shares the secret of all secrets with Niamh and makes her promise not to tell anyone, no matter what.

Not long after this, Hollie goes missing, and her body turns up days later.

When Detective Sergeant May gets assigned with solving this case, she quickly learns that this village is full of people who don’t say much but are quick to point fingers at one another.

This psychological thriller is slowly paced and intricately plotted and has multiple POVs. The chapters are fairly short and had me eagerly turning the pages. It deals with some dark themes, so it won’t be one that everyone can digest.

I think the author accurately shows how debilitating emotional and physical abuse can be.

I recommend this to those prepared for a psychological thriller that takes it time examining dark subject matter.

CW: emotional and physical abuse/violence, child exploitation (non-descriptive).

Thank you to Avon for the arc provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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“But none of us knows what lies behind appearances, or what we’re capable of in extreme circumstances.”

Teenagers Dylan and Hollie were in love…everyone in the village could see how perfectly suited they were for each other…until one day, they were not…

In the small village of Abingworth, residents are hiding secrets behind their closed doors. When Hollie tells her friend Niamh hers, it has deadly consequences. Hollie vanishes and once the police begin knocking on doors, they slowly put the puzzle pieces together that the villagers are hiding something. When Hollie’s body is discovered, the search then turns to who murdered the teen and why? Could it be the neighbor who is suspected of distributing child pornography? Perhaps the womanizing local doctor who abuses and controls his wife? The abused wife? Or could it be any one of the villagers hiding behind their mask of normalcy? The list of suspects grows as the secrets become told…one by one…

If edgy psychological thrillers are your cup of tea, then put on the kettle and dive in! Deep, dark and depressing with a twisted ending that will cause you to question if some secrets are better left just that…a secret…

**I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

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*There are TWs for this book so make sure to look them up before reading*

Wow! This book was so gripping and had so many twists and cliff-hangers that you just wanted to keep reading it! I have found that I love reading books that are set in small villages because you know that people have secrets that they aren’t sharing with others! Howells did such a good job keeping you on your toes throughout the book! When I thought I had it figured out, she would add another twist in there. I also think that she did a good job handing sensitive topics including child pornography and domestic violence. I also love reading books from multiple POVs (which this was) because you can glean so much from the different characters and their thoughts. Overall, I loved this book and I would definitely recommend it!

This review will be posted to my Instagram blog (read_betweenthecovers) in the near future!

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back to the back, this is fantastic!, it has so many aspects and subplot’s which all increased the character and plot development.

There were so many different sides to the characters (Andrew 😡) it was so interesting following Jo and the team to find out what had happening.

A fast paced, twister of a thriller which is a must read!

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I loved this book, but I knew I would as I've sped through the author's previous books.

The story centres around Elise, her very damaged relationship with her husband Andrew, their troubled teenage daughter Niamh and her close friend, Hollie. When Hollie suddenly disappears after having confided a dark secret to Niamh, this sets the wheels in motion for a multitude of secrets, lies and some extremely shady behaviour to be unearthed.

I was gripped by the clever and constantly evolving plot, and each of the characters, even though some were obviously extremely unlikable! The village setting is well portrayed and shows no matter how well you think you might know your neighbours, nobody ever truly knows what goes on behind closed doors. There are strong themes of domestic abuse, coercive control and pornography, all of which are skillfully and sensitively written.

It's the kind of book where you think you've started to figure out what's happening, until another twist completely proved me wrong!

This is a real page turner and only reinforces my view of how engrossing the author's books are. I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys gripping well written psychological thrillers.

Thanks to the author, Debbie Howells, publishers Avon Books UK and Net Galley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The secret is a story of village life and how is can hide many secrets. Elise and Andrew moved to Abingworth to make a fresh start after his affair but sadly it does not go as planned.

Told from multiple perspectives this psychological thriller is quite a slow burner. It deals well with the themes of domestic abuse and child abuse.

I didn’t feel like you go the usual twists and turns of a psychological thriller, the ones there were I was expecting. That said it was a great story and characterisation.

Definitely worth reading.

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Abingworth is idyllic. One of those postcard pretty villages, where the houses are beautiful, the residents affluent, and the families perfect. Of course, like all villages, there are secrets and lies, but this one has a deeply dark and very unpleasant issue at its core.

Elise and Andrew Buckley, along with their daughter, Niamh, are one of those ideal families. They live in a big, beautiful house, Niamh goes to the local private school for privileged children, Elise works as cabin crew though there is no need for her to work at all, and Andrew is the local GP, loved and revered by all his patients and the local community. In all, the perfect family. Or are they? What deep, dark secrets do they have? As the story evolves, we get to see how disfunctional this family unit is, and what terrible lives they lead.

Beyond the storyline, this book raises some hard issues, no spoilers, but we never know what goes on behind close doors.

This was a good read, some scenes shocking but well written.

Thank you NetGalley.

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This book covers some difficult subjects- abuse, pornography - but in a sensitive way. There are so many twists making it a gripping read and one that I will recommend .
Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review an ARC

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Trigger warnings: Death of a child/parent

What a book! Debbie can take all my coins because what a wow! The book centers around Hollie and the ripple effects her death causes on those left behind. Hollie and Niamh are close friends even though they are of different ages and one day Hollie tells a secret to Niamh but what happens to a secret when one person dies?

How far will one person go to protect a secret. Among the suspects are almost perfect Dr. Andrew Buckley and Elise who are Niamh's parents. The seemingly good doctor and flight attendant also have their own secrets and Hollie's death also cracks open the Pandora box. Among the other suspects are Hollie's parents, the neighborhood man in the suit and pretty much the whole town.

If you are looking for a thriller you can read all day without taking a break this is it. The book captures and won't let you go till you are done. A huge thanks to Avon Books for my complimentary copy . All opinions expressed are my own.

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What an ending.... this was such a great book.
So much going on and not sure who to blame.
Well worth the read.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an early release of this book.

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My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Avon Books UK for the ARC.

Wow! just how many twists can one story hold! I was absolutely glued to the pages from start to finish. This is well-written and so intriguing as to how a myriad of secrets are revealed, and the ending - well, I never expected that! Really good characters and believable dialogue.

There are just two teenagers in the wealthy village of Abingworth near Chichester - Hollie who is 16 and Niamh who is 14. Hollie had a boyfriend Dylan and all the villagers knew they were in love, but then they split up and Hollie becomes somewhat unstable and makes Niamh her best friend. Niamh knows Hollie is worried about something and eventually Hollie confides her secrets. But Niamh has to promise she won't tell.

Niamh's parents are Elisa, cabin crew on short-haul flights, and Andrew who is the local GP. Andrew is a serial adulterer and Elisa suffers his controlling and abusive behaviour only for the sake of her daughter.

Hollie goes missing for two days and is discovered in a frozen pool in the grounds of an empty house. A murder enquiry is launched, led by DS Jo May who herself has recently come out of an abusive marriage. The police see this enquiry as a way to dig further into the lives of the residents because they believe a child pornography ring is operating in the area - codenamed Operation Raiinbow.

As the investigation continues, Niamh, being Hollie's best friend, is frequently questioned, and gradually drip-feeds pertinent bits of information. However, Jo and her team feel that the residents aren't being as forthcoming as they might - they all seem to be hiding secrets.

And indeed they are!

Can Elisa and Niamh escape their living nightmare? Who would want to kill Hollie?
Will Andrew be exposed for the psychopath he really is?

Lots of twists here. Couldn't put it down.

Really good.

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Hollie and Naimh are best friends. They tell each other everything. One day Hollie confides something to Naimh, making her swear she will never tell a soul. Then Hollie disappears.
Detective Joanna May leads the search for Hollie. She is currently working on Operation Rainbow, an investigation into a suspected porn ring. Is it possible this is somehow connected with Hollie’s disappearance? That beneath the respectable veneer of residents in the quiet village of Abingworth someone is hiding secrets?
This is a page turning read which tackles some unpleasant themes. Abuse and child pornography being two of them. Naimh’s father Dr Andrew Buckley is a total monster. Controlling, physically and mentally abusive and serially unfaithful, he hides his character behind the respectability of his role as the local GP. He’s probably one of the worst characters I have read in any book. His wife Elise suffers in silence, aware he currently has the upper hand, but all the while planning escape with Naimh. As Jo May’s investigation proceeds she begins to uncover some surprising things.
This is a dark psychological thriller with multiple twists and turns. Well written, I found it difficult to put down. Worthy of every one of the five stars I have given it.

I would like to thank Debbie Howells, Bookouture and Netgally for an ARC of The Secret in exchange for an honest review.

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A the only two teenagers in a small village, Hollie and Niamh tell each other everything. Behind Abingworth's closed doors, every family has it's secrets - and theirs might hide the worst ones of all. One day Hollie tells Niamh about a devastating discovery, swears her to secrecy.... then vanishes. All the villagers claim to know nothing. Until Hollie's body is found, and the police know that one of their number isn't just a liar, but a killer.

Elsie and Andrew are not happy, neither is their daughter Niamh. Niamh's best friend Hollie had told her a secret before she disappeared. Was it the secret that that Hollie knew the reason she disappeared? All the villagers claim they don't know anything about Hollie's disappearance, but someone must know something.

This is a steady paced, thrilling, twist filled and easy to read. The characters are well developed and believable. Filled with secrets, lies, and an ending I wasn't expecting. The plotline covers some pretty brutal secrets.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #AvonBooksUK and the author #DebbieHowells for my ARC of #TheSecret in exchange doe an honest review.

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To the village of Abingworth the Buckley’s have the perfect life. But behind the scenes the family is completely different. Elsie and Andrew are not happy. Neither is their daughter Niamh.
Niamh’s best friend Hollie goes missing. Before she went she told Niamh she had discovered something and swears her to secrecy.
No one knows what has happened to her. Even after she is found dead. Villagers keep secrets. But someone knows the truth.
Who would kill to keep things secret.
A quick and interesting read.
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to see an arc

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I enjoyed this suspenseful story. This is my first book by this author which I enjoyed from beginning to end. The characters pulled me into the story and kept me engaged to the end. This is a well written story where the author used details to make the story realistic. This is a fast paced story that is full of action and hard to put down. A story that is full of secrets and who can keep them. This is where the story starts. Two people have the same secret but what happen when one of them turns up dead? I enjoyed the twists and turns that left me sitting on the edge of my seat just waiting to see what would happen next. This is a great story that I truly enjoyed and is worth the pick up. I highly recommend this book.

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Fabulous! What an absolute corker of a book! More twists than your local theme park rollercoaster and some absolutely horrid characters who make for a great read. Families, close-knit villagers who close ranks when push comes to shove, dubious financial transactions and secrets between friends, not to mention an occasional lie to distract from what goes on behind closed doors. All of this and so very much more kept me turning the pages in Debbie Howells' latest gripping tale so fast that I had whipped through it in under 24 hours. And that is a rarity for me!
Niamh and Hollie are the only 2 teenagers in the village of Abingworth and as such stand out among the residents. They live in each other's pockets, telling each other everything. Yet when Hollie goes missing, Niamh seems to be in the dark as much as anyone as to what could have happened to Hollie. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Elise is trapped in a loveless marriage to Andrew, a local gp. He is overbearing and manipulative. Two sudden deaths and the investigation into a children porn ring intertwines with Elise’s life. Her daughter knows more than she has admitted. Secrets she has kept for her brother and friend. Elise also has a secret that she hadn’t shared. The story is told from Elise’s viewpoint , her daughters and one of the detectives. Thoroughly enjoyable read

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This was an exciting psychological read. It was uncomfortable to read in places but extremely well written.
I didn’t actually much like Niamh, though he upbringing and vile father probably had a part in that. I also didn’t warm to Elise but that’s not to say they weren’t written well. They definitely were!
The book seemed too slow down towards the end and become quite obvious and then a very sudden twist to finish
I will definitely search out more books by this author

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This book was a bit hard to read in places, a family suffering metal and physical abuse.
It had me really captivated and reading very late to find out what happened. The very end was totally not what I thought, but I love the way that Debbie Howells manages to get you immersed in the storyline.
Thank you netgalley

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This is an intense psychological suspense. The multilayered plot and relatable characters make this a book you have to finish.

The themes are noir-crime but they are sensitively written. Told from two unreliable protagonist viewpoints this is a poignant story with immersive suspense.

The third viewpoint from the detective on the case adds a police procedural element. The detective is complex and insightful.
The final twists resonate.

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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This book was a fast paced psychological thriller that grabbed your attention right from the start. The characters in this book all seemed to have a dark aura around them and the book was written with multiple points of view which made the flow easy to follow.

The story revolved around a small village in the UK with an ongoing investigation into a child pornography ring. Add to this the dark secrets of the Buckley family, the disappearance of a local girl and sometimes unreliable characters, this book kept me guessing right to the end. The Buckley family included Elise, (mother/wife/airline flight attendant), Niamh (teen daughter/student/friend) and Andrew (father/husband/local Doctor). The secrets of this family and the small community in which they lived intertwined and provided the backdrop for this quick moving storyline.

I enjoyed reading this eARC and would like to thank the publisher for the opportunity to review.

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Thank you Netgalley and Avon Books, this book is terrifyingly a compelling page turner, I anxiously enjoyed this story and whilst reading it “it felt like watching a movie peeking through my fingers that were covering my eyes” and yet I could not put it down. Midway through, there were parts that made me feel squeamish and quite uncomfortable and I feel it’s worth mentioning there are particular triggers throughout the story regarding child exploitation and domestic violence and yet I was so engrossed in the unfolding story I was compelled to keep on reading.

The idyllic village of Abingworth, where everybody knows everybody, it really does go to show, non-one ever really knows what goes on behind closed doors, over the neighbouring fence, down the end of that leafy secluded drive-way. How well do loving parents know what their adored children get up to, who they mix with, or the secrets they are hiding from their parents.

I couldn’t help repeating to myself throughout the story a headline ‘Only 10% of people are good’ that Elise a flight attendant, Niamhs mother, had noticed on a passenger’s magazine, and I felt as the story evolved there was never a truer word spoken. To me it felt it was ringing true of a lot of Abingworth villagers. It began to feel like I could count out on my fingers who that 10% of people were and it began to look a lot like only 10% of the people weren’t deceitful, cheating, or lying.

This is a really good read, plenty of plot twists with an ending I did not see coming, I do recommend you read this book, and other books by Debbie Howells you will not be disappointed.

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This book simply has to be one of the best books I have read in 2021!

I have not read Debbie Howells before, but after reading this one, I´m certainly going to add her to my list of outstanding authors.

The storying line is utterly compelling, two friends, Hollie and Niamh, one telling the other her secret, and what a secret! This book has everything, intrigue, murder, domestic abuse, blackmail, all brilliantly drawn together by the author. And as for the ending, never saw that coming!!

Sensational book!

My thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

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This was a great book. The chapters were fairly short and told from different POV’s.

There were lots of characters some I really disliked. Lots going on too, and this will keep you guessing until the very end.

It was interesting reading from Detective May’s perspective and seeing things from their side.

This was my first book by this author and I will definitely be reading more.

Thanks to Avon books Uk and Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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A fast-paced, gripping psychological thriller that won't let you think about anything else until you reach the end. I devoured this book in just two sittings.

The story is told from the POV of Elise (mother), Niamh (daughter), and Jo (detective), who try to come to terms and solve the mystery of the death of Hollie, a teenager found dead in the village where they live. The main story soon develops including a ring dealing with child pornography, a violent husband, and a village whose inhabitants all seem to be hiding something. I loved to see all the threads coming together and the ending was very satisfying.

This was my first book by Debbie Howells and definitely won't be my last.

Thank you so much NetGallery and Avon Books for the opportunity to read the advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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In my opinion this is a brilliant psychological thriller which had me gripped and read within 24 hours.
I would point out that this book may not be for everyone as there are a few triggers involved- mental health, domestic abuse and others which I won't mention to avoid giving any spoilers. However, these issues are dealt with sensitivity by the author.
Thanks to netgalley and Avon books for this recommended read.

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This is a book that will keep you guessing. You know from the beginning that the father, Andrew, is not a nice person. He’s cruel, unfaithful, and generally a bad person. What you don’t know is how is he, or is he is, part of deaths in the book.

The story has several narrators and I love this type of story. You get to see from different perspectives. I really enjoyed this book, especially the characters as they develop throughout the story. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a complex thriller with a lot of mysteries to solve.

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What a book! I had no clue what any of the twists would be, the plot is very well thought out. I enjoyed the writing style, it really brought the characters to life and made me so invested in Hollie and Niamh's lives. The setting of a small village works so well as it made the whole story feel isolated and closed in. I will definitely be reading more of Debbie Howells' books in the future!

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This is a real behind closed doors type of thriller and set in a small village to boot!

Elise is a flight attendant whilst her husband, Andrew is the local doctor. They live in a beautiful house with their teenage daughter Niamh. Although Niamh doesn't go to the local school her closest friend is Hollie who lives in the village and it soon becomes apparent that the two girls are sharing a secret. What it is will have serious consequences for many.

This is a tense thriller which stays the right side of believable that allowed me to be swept under by the swirling darkness of what truths the story shone a light on.

A great story to look out for in 2022.

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