Joe and Hannah, her traumatized parents, are consumed by grief. But all is not as it seems behind the curtains of their suburban home.
Loretta, the Family Liaison Officer, is sure Hannah is hiding something – a dark and twisted secret from deep in her past.
This terrible memory could be the key to the murder of another girl fifteen years ago. And as links between the two victims emerge, Joe and Hannah learn that in a family built on lies, the truth can destroy everything…
A story which unfolds from the point of view of three families. The key players in my eyes were Joe and Hannah, they are in a dark, dark place as their daughter Lily is gone.
The police are investigating Lily’s disappearance and they have Family Liaison Officer, Loretta, working with Joe and Hannah. Loretta is there to provide support to the family at a difficult time but she is also expected to establish a bond with a view to obtaining information about Lily which could help the investigation. Unfortunately for Loretta Hannah is virtually catatonic and hardly speaks. Meanwhile Joe is doing what he can to get Hannah to speak with him but he is acutely aware that the police suspect he may even be involved in Lily’s murder. Joe had been away from the house quite frequently prior to Lily’s disappearance so he finds he cannot answer Loretta’s questions about Lily’s behaviour of late.
Unable to gain any significant information from Hannah or Joe we see Loretta coming under increasing pressure from her boss. Not helping her situation is a bullying colleague and, at home, a recent separation from her husband problems with the behaviour of one of her kids.
Two families down and we turn to Rosie. Years ago Rosie’s sister was murdered and her father was arrested and jailed for killing his eldest daughter. Now Rosie’s father is out of prison and she learns that her mother has allowed him to return home. Having cut off communications with her father years prior to events in the story, Rosie’s mother tries to encourage her to come meet her father – they both believe that someone knows her father is innocent of the killing…he received letters whilst in prison in which the anonymous sender indicated they knew he did not kill his daughter. Rosie is determined to find out who may have written the letters.
With three narrative threads to keep track of I thought Chris Curran did a great job of keeping each of the families interesting and under pressure. You want to keep reading to find out how they will overcome their immediate problems, plus you know that there is a reason there are three viewpoints to a single story – at some stage you expect paths to cross, I just didn’t know where that may happen. The only way to satisfy that curiosity was to read more and more chapters.
I read of many murders, kidnapping and violent attacks during the normal blogging year but the suffering of Joe and Hannah troubled me more than I am used to. Perhaps it is because most tales focus on the killer or the investigation and less so upon the family of the victim? Sharing Hannah and Joe’s grief and watching them struggle to comprehend the position they are in was unsettling and I put this entirely down to Chris Curran’s sympathetic unpicking of their lives.
I refer to books like Her Deadly Secret as “people stories”. Now I know that most books are “people stories” but this is a tale which is very much driven by the characters and their lives, we don’t rely upon clever action set pieces. No witchcraft or demons are lurking in the cellar and is unlikely the TARDIS will land to allow The Doctor to put everything to right. This is pure human and emotional drama and it works very well. Highly recommended.
Her Deadly Secret is published by Killer Reads and can be ordered here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Deadly-Secret-gripping-psychological-ebook/dp/B06Y5ZFF1Z/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8