Published: April 2nd, 2020
Genre: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Thriller
Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC of this novel .
‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’
Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?
Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from ‘a secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…
And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.
Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?
The Secret Admirer is another fantastic and gripping installment in one of my favourite series. Once again Carol has written a tense, electrifying and emotional read that had me hooked from the first page.
After 19-year-old Gemma Barnes is killed in an acid attack, Detective Natalie Ward and her team are called in to investigate. It is Natalie’s first day back since a personal tragedy and she is still struggling with her guilt and grief. There are few clues and when Gemma’s housemates start to disappear, the race is on to find who is behind the murders.
Natalie and the team are back investigating a complex case filled with a multitude of characters and suspects. I loved that there wasn’t a clear culprit and that you feel like it could be anyone, giving a sense of frustration that matches what is felt by the team. You can feel the pressure mounting as the numerous motives, clues, red herrings and twists keep both the reader and the team on their toes right until the very end.
The letters from the secret admirer were the key to the case, and the mystery of who was behind them was the biggest of all. Including letters or chapters from the mysterious culprit is one of my favourite tropes in this genre and this author always executes it to perfection. I enjoyed the glimpse into the mind, feelings and perspective of such a twisted individual and how you could see them losing control as the letters went on and they began to become threatening.
Each time I read an installment in this series I love the author even more. Her writing is always brilliant and full of the perfect mixture of suspense and sentiment. In this book, there is a lot of focus on Natalie coming to terms with losing someone close and the end of her marriage. Just reading about the aftermath of the events of the last book had me in pieces all over again. As someone currently undergoing trauma therapy, I found Natalie’s trauma to be sensitively and expertly written. It was clear it was well researched and felt very real, my heart breaking for Natalie as she battles to move on with life after such a devastating tragedy. However, I was ready to be mad and bereft all over again when Natalie’s ex-husband David came into the frame as a suspect in this case. How could you do this to us and Natalie after all she’s been through? It had me on the edge of my seat praying that he wasn’t the culprit. You’ll have to read it to find out if Natalie’s world is broken even more by the events of this book.
The Secret Admirer is a riveting, compelling and heart-rending thriller that is perfect for anyone who enjoys this genre. You can read it as a stand-alone but I would highly recommend reading the whole series, not only because it’s fantastic, but because it gives you an insight and connection to the main characters. Now I just have to wait impatiently for book seven!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carol Wyer garnered a loyal following as an author of romantic comedies, and won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015). In 2017 she stepped from comedy to the “dark side” and embarked on a series of thrillers, featuring the popular DI Robyn Carter, which earned her recognition as a crime writer.
The Staffordshire-based writer now has more crime novels in the pipeline, although she can still sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.
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