The Secret - Katerina Diamond

Note to publisher: the title of book #2 in the Imogen Grey series is missing an “s”. Secrets. Everyone’s got 'em & some are real barn burners.

There are multiple plot lines in this story & they’re positively gordian, looping forward & back to weave the lives of these characters into a snug knot that is beginning to unravel. Some of them have cameo appearances as narrators but there are a handful who are central to the story.

 

Bridget Ford was fairly new at an Exeter brothel when 2 of her colleagues were horribly murdered by men looking for her. She’s lucky to have escaped but has no idea what’s waiting around the corner.

 

DS Adrian Miles is a homicide detective slowly drifting toward burnout. The bodies he’s seen haunt his nights & his usual partner is on medical leave after their last case. The last thing he needs is the scene that greets him when he’s called to the brothel.

 

DS Imogen Grey is finally back on the job after recovering from a gun shot. Exeter was supposed to be a fresh start after the fallout from a messy situation within the Plymouth police force. Now she’s got a great partner at work & can keep tabs on her crazy mother. When she meets Adrian at the brothel, it’s clear her down time is over.

 

The boy is just 10 years old when we first meet. We don’t know who he is but as his chapters unfold, we watch as he grows up in a dysfunctional family ruled by his violent, criminal father.

 

Isabelle Hobbs was just a little girl when she was snatched from home more than 10 years ago. Despite the lack of a body, her parents were convicted of murder & sent to prison.

 

There are many more characters slipping in & out of the pages & part of the suspense is due to not knowing whose side they’re on. Exeter seems to be a breeding ground for despicable people & it’s not long before the cops’ search for Bridget pulls them into a world of child abduction, drug dealers, corrupt cops & human trafficking. Chapters alternate between Imogen’s last case in Plymouth 2 years earlier & the present. As familiar faces begin to cross over between the time lines, the alarming scope of the plot gradually emerges.

 

So….heads up. If you’re a little on the squeably side you may find some scenes disturbing. But while graphic, they are completely in keeping with the criminal elements they describe. These are not people burdened with pesky things like ethics or morals. But they are products of their pasts & it becomes clear several never had a chance at “normal”. At times even Adrian & Imogen struggle as the line between right & wrong becomes faint.

 

They, too, have been shaped by the hard realities of their childhoods & are the emotional heart of the story. Their personal lives are irrevocably altered by what they uncover & by the end you realize it’s not over. While much is revealed & tied up, one significant part of the story remains open to be explored in the next instalment.

 

This is a book you’ll be sneaking into the bathroom at work to read. Once the bombshells start dropping, you’re hooked & simply have to know how it all shakes out & who will be left standing. Gripping, gritty, scary & tense….they all apply. Bring on #3.