The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
Publishing Date: 7th January 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Mystery, Thriller
Taut, emotive and utterly compelling, an unputdownable ‚ripped from headlines’ read from Alex Marwood, author of the huge word-of-mouth bestseller, The Wicked Girls.
When three-year-old 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 during her father’s 50th birthday weekend?
Set across two weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second, at the funeral of Coco’s father, where at last, the darkest of secrets will be revealed…
The Darkest Secret was my first Alex Marwood’s book but after reading it I can certainly say that not the last. This book was a gripping, heart – breaking and very complex mystery casting a huge group of characters, full of lies, secrets and loathing, coming at a very good pace and at all the right moments. One of the most compelling and heart – breaking reads ever. I think I am going to mention my heart breaking few times here, but when I thought it couldn’t break any more, well, it did. There were a lot of jaw – dropping moments in this novel.
This story explores thousands of secrets and lies between one very complex family and its – not sure if I can call them friends – so let’s say, hangers – on. It was not only the case of searching for a missing child, it was much, much more, the book was sophisticated, intelligent, high – quality suspense novel with characters that I was continually changing my opinions about. The author has done a brilliant job of portraying the characters, of pulling the wool over my eyes and when I thought that I have the characters under control, that I know who shall I commiserate with and who is to be judged, then Alex Marwood just turned everything upside down. The characters are a group of spoiled, rich people who always get what they want, and the way they were described drew every kind of emotion of me, but mostly, as the reading went on and on, I only felt more and more loathing. Those people are really trying to the reader, they are the most selfish and self – absorbed bunch of characters that I’d probably ever came across, and I’ve no idea how did almost all of them could looked at themselves in the mirror, and still there was something incredibly fascinating in them, in their lives. Alex Marwood has just drawn a group of unforgettable characters and unforgettable plot, a powerhouse of a book. We had a very good feel of who they really are, deep inside, and what drives them to be like this. The author doesn’t make any judgment on her characters, she let the reader to decide for themselves what to think, she just brilliantly captured all the personalities and introduced them to us.
I am still impressed with the way the novel is constructed. It is set only over two weekends that are fifteen years apart, and yes, at the beginning I had a helluva of problems to eventually make out who is who, as there were so many characters introduced to us, and so confused to decode the connections and relationships between them, and I must be honest – it continued through the book when suddenly one person or the other was mentioned again, I needed to think who it is and to whom their belong , and it is a huge group of character we are talking about, what with all the couples and children. The author managed to tangle the plot incredibly, to deliver a rich, complex web of secrets, intrigues and lies. There are not many books that can make me feel so heart – broken and so shocked – this one managed it.
I was not so sure about the end but in the perspective I think it was the best ending there could be. Yes, in my opinion it didn’t give the closure but I am really not sure what the closure could be. One is sure, the end was incredibly sad and I think that each end would, in fact, come to me as surprise – everything was possible. And now, in perspective, I can see that the author was dropping hints here and there in the story, but to be honest, I didn’t even try to guess the ending.
What hurt so much is that it sounded so authentic, so realistic, the way it is dealt with, the way it is written may suggest that it really happened, or can happen, and those who suffer the most are those who has not a lot to say – children. It’s cleverly plotted, as it is truly not the disappearance of Coco that makes the book, but all those pitiful, shameless characters in all their glory. It is incredible how well did we know the characters without the author going on too deep about them – it was not necessary. It was enough how she described all those alpha and power – obsessed males with a trophy wife on their arms, the body – obsessed women who would go for anything to have a worry – free weekend.
It is truly excellent thriller. This book is a fast – paced, dynamic and incredibly moving tale taking place over two weekends set years apart with vivid characters, spot on dialogues and sharply observed, with a truly realistic sound to it. It had me hooked from the beginning to the end. Full of tension and questions that I was not sure I want to know the answer, as the truth was so painful – fantastic read, highly recommended!