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The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

December 19, 2015

Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?
Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed

Let’s start with the headline – this is a cracking read and a really strong book. I loved it.

What’s strange about that is that the main characters are in no way likeable or empathetic. In fact they are a loathsome bunch of self centred nouveau riche horrors, whose lifestyle epitomises everything that is wrong with shallow people who have way too much money and just too much power.

And yet they are completely fascinating in an unputdownable way. These are people who care nothing for the impact they have on others; whose actions have consequences that are truly awful, not least on the lives of their poor offspring whose lives are impacted in a way that they will never truly recover from.

These characters are so well drawn, so completely described that you can see them, know them and visualise exactly their behaviour. Insert into this heady mix a really devasting event – the disappearance of Coco, Ruby’s twin, and this novel grips and compels the reader to follow every turn of events as we discover more about the night that led to this tragedy.

Told in two time zones – the present, through the eyes of Mila and Ruby – and the past, with the events over an August Bank holiday weekend that ended in the nightmare of Coco’s disappearance.

This is a dark book, setting out very clearly the fractured relationships; the pain that wreaks havoc on the lives of the children and leaves them each in their own way broken and dysfunctional.

Where there is some redemption it lies in the relationship between Mila and Ruby, meeting again after many years as they set off to attend their father’s funeral. Seeing  once again the cast of brittle characters who masquerade as people, the girls slowly begin to piece together what they believe happened to Ruby’s identical twin, Coco.

The Darkest Secret is a true psychological crime novel, written with pace and has a completely compelling narrative. It is dark and terrible; by turns I was appalled and mesmerised and my heart went out to Ruby and Mila as I understood what they had been through.

Ultimately this is a sad book, but it is also brilliantly written and did I mention that it is also utterly compelling?

It gets 5 stars from me. Go buy it!

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood is published by Sphere on Jan 7th 2016.

From → Crime, Thriller

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