The Secret – Katerina Diamond

“Can you keep a secret?  Your life depends on it…  Bridget Reid has a secret, one that could get her killed… If she can escape the man who is keeping her locked in a basement bedroom.  DS Imogen Grey is good at keeping secrets – truths she’d never reveal to her colleagues at Exeter Police.  She worked hard to get where she is – she nearly died for it. Now her past is catching up with her…  As DS Grey and her partner DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a terrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder. And they realise that some secrets are better left buried…”

Wow, just wow!  This gripping story opens with Bridget, working in a brothel wondering why her boyfriend “Sam” hasn’t been to see her.  When she takes a shower in the flat upstairs (the only one with hot running water) two men break in looking for Bridget.  Unable to find her, they brutally murder her flatmate with one of her “clients”, and the girl from the flat upstairs, who only went down to borrow a pair of earrings in return for the hot shower.  Bridget manages to escape for now, however after a dramatic chase she ends up injured in the river.  When Bridget wakes up she is warm and comfortable, however is being held in a locked room.  Her captor is familiar to her, but seems to only want to keep Bridget safe from those looking for her.  Bridget is content in her new surroundings, for just now……

DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles are looking for Bridget, she is actually an undercover police officer, and her boyfriend “Sam” is DI Sam Brown, Imogen’s former partner.  Imogen blames Sam for the attack that nearly killed her but agrees to help find Bridget.  As Grey and Miles search for Bridget, they start to unravel a network of drugs, prostitution, human trafficking, and murder that leads them both closer to home than they would ever think possible.  Every character has some kind of secret to hide, even if they are not aware of it themselves.  As the clock is ticking, can Grey and Miles uncover enough secrets to get to Bridget before it is too late?

This fast paced, heart thumping book has two timelines and  several points of view.  It alternates between present day, and 2 years ago told in flashback narrative.  It also has peppered between the two timelines, the occasional chapter in first person, giving an insight and key events in a disturbed young man’s life.  This shows the reader him evolving from an innocent little boy into a sadistic monster.  With all these different points of view it could be confusing, but the author manages it well with clear distinctions.  This intricately woven plot refers back to Diamond’s debut novel, The Teacher, quite a bit.  Whilst it is not necessary to have read The Teacher to enjoy this one, if you have read it, you will be able to fully appreciate the genius and careful planning that has gone into writing The Secret.  The book ends with a cliffhanger, I couldn’t believe there was not another page, so already I am looking forward to the next novel, I need to know what happens to the man with the silver pendant!!

The characterisation is sublime, I especially enjoyed meeting Dean Kinkaid, my favourite line from the book, which I feel sums up Diamond’s style so well: “Dean knew that you didn’t need an army-issue hunting knife to kill a person, you just needed something pointy.”

A fantastic five stars, I will be at the edge of my seat until the next instalment!  Thanks to Katerina Diamond, Avon and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy in return for an honest review.

 

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