Today’s another one of those days when I’m really thrilled to be a Choc Lit Star! Having been asked to help choose the cover for Tell Me No Secrets by Lynda Stacey (and isn’t it just gorgeous?), I then had the real pleasure and privilege of being one of the few to read it ahead of today’s publication (kindle edition just 99p, I’ll add links to other ebook platforms later…). Lynda showed she could really crank up the tension and write a great story with her last book, House of Secrets – and it’s now had 100 five star Amazon reviews. But this one…phew!
Here’s the story:
Can a secret be worse than a lie?
Every time Kate Duggan looks in a mirror she is confronted by her guilt; a long, red scar reminding her that she was ‘the one to walk away’ from the car accident. Not everyone was so lucky…
On the surface her fiancé Rob is supportive – but the reality is different. He’s controlling, manipulative and, if the phone call Kate overhears is anything to go by, he has a secret. But just how dangerous is that secret?
When Kate begins work at a firm of private investigators, she meets Ben Parker. His strong and silent persona is intriguing but it’s also a cover – because something devastating happened to Ben, something he can’t get over.
As Kate and Ben begin their first assignment, they become close. But, what they don’t realise is how close to home the investigation will bring them, or who will be hurt in the process…
This really was quite a read – and in nothing but a good way! Kate is a great character – very likeable, strongly drawn – and you really feel for her as she struggles to conceal her visible scar after an accident that changed her life. She can’t hide the other scars though – her guilt about the others who weren’t so lucky, the damage to her self esteem, the problems with trust and the impact on her relationship with her parents.
OK, so maybe there aren’t too many of us who get the opportunity to train as a private investigator – even less of us (sadly…) get to work with a hot guy who really cares, with a hidden past and a knack for doing exactly the right thing at the right time. But the author really makes the story line work, a real page-turner and totally believable – I loved all the detail about running an investigation, the technology, the mind-numbing time in vans waiting for something to happen, even the photos of the backs of people’s heads being less than useful for identification. The way the story slowly escalates and becomes something other is really well done – also totally believable, with real shocks along the way.
I mentioned when I reviewed House of Secrets that the author is really excellent at creating characters. I was particularly struck, when reading this one, by the portrayal of Kate’s mother. Her put-downs take your breath away – but there’s a complexity around what lies behind it that’s extremely well handled. And as for Ben – well, he’s considerably more than just a “hot guy”. He’s caring and gentle, shows a nice touch of humour at times, is wonderfully solid and reliable – yes, he definitely worked for me!
Rob, though, is a real piece of work – there are lies, there are secrets, and then there are the kind of secrets that blow away the foundations of everything you hold dear. It’d be unforgivable of me to give away much of the story – I’ve stayed within what you’ll already know from the cover! – but this was one of those books that had me reading into the early hours, totally unable to tear myself away. I liked the Yorkshire setting too – there’s always something rather unsettling about an edge-of-seat thriller set against a background you know well, and there’s plenty of detail that takes you into the well-drawn locations.
Yes, I think this one is a real winner – a perfect balance between characters you’ll take to your heart and a story that takes you somewhere you really won’t be expecting, and all really perfectly handled by an author getting stronger with every book. I really loved this one.
My thanks to the lovely team at Choc Lit for providing my reading copy. If you enjoy Choc Lit’s books as much as I do, and would like to become a Choc Lit Star and help choose titles, covers and spread the Choc Lit love, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
About the author
Lynda Stacey is a wife, step-mother and grandmother who grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire. She is currently the Sales Director of a stationery, office supplies and office furniture company in Doncaster, where she has worked for the past 25 years. Prior to this she’d also been a nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor … and yes, she was crazy enough to dive in the sea with sharks, without a cage.
Following a car accident in 2008, Lynda was left with limited mobility in her right arm. Unable to dive or teach anymore, she turned to her love of writing. Her own life story, along with varied career choices. helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings. Lynda joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme: in 2015 her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.
She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her ‘hero at home husband’, Haydn, to whom she’s been happily married for over 20 years.