Published by Bookouture
Ebook: 13 October 2017
| About the Book |
Some secrets you can never tell.
Everyone thinks the Thomas’s are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.
They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.
Can the lies that bind them destroy them all?
This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.
| My thoughts |
The story begins as dramatically as it ends, with the police having been called to a property in a quiet residential street in the early hours of Christmas Day following suspected gunshots. What they find as they make their way through the house is gradually revealed throughout the book but in between, we hear from the Thomas family members themselves, with a countdown over a period of about a week and leading up to Christmas Day, where we discover that the carefully presented façade of a perfect family life is actually anything but.
The story centres around the four family members, parents Dominque/Dom, Benjamin and their two children, 15 year old Ruby and the youngest 8 year old Amber (known as ‘Mouse’). Mouse had that childlike innocence with a fondness for hiding in small spaces with her book, hence the name. Ben runs his own accountancy business, and likes to look the part of a successful businessman with the most expensive of watches, the flash Mercedes, the big house; he also funds his wife’s expensive lifestyle which include regular hair appointments and lunches with her lawyer friend Fiona. However, despite this apparently envious lifestyle, both Dom and Ben are hiding things from each other. Their daughter Ruby is heading for a meltdown – her life is being made a misery by bullying and in the absence of any comfort or help from her parents, she keeps a diary in which she records her most personal thoughts – none of which make for easy reading. She wasn’t my favourite character (that was Mouse) but Ruby was the character that I felt the most sympathy for. Her self-absorbed parents were so wrapped up in their own lives that she was mostly dismissed or punished for being a troublemaker – they didn’t seem to consider that there could be reasons behind her bad behaviour and she wasn’t mature enough to properly articulate her distress.
As we meet the characters and discover what their lives are actually like the story becomes more interesting. The intriguing structure and teasing cliff-hangers cast doubt all the way through and the story is presented in such a way that I felt that anyone at all could be responsible – for varying reasons. As the story went on, I suspected nearly everybody in turn and by the time I reached the final chapters, my head was spinning with all the possible conclusions that could have wrought such devastation on the family.
This was a well written and suspenseful read leading to a dramatic conclusion. The characterisation was excellent for both the main and peripheral characters. This is not a fast paced read but the slow build up just heightens the anticipation of what may happen and there were some difficult but rather relevant topics included which added to the realism of the story. In summary, a dark and engrossing read which kept me hooked.
| About the author |
Barbara is the Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, and THE DARKEST LIES. Her latest book is HER LAST SECRET.
Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.
When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.