By: Michael Robotham
Publication Date: 7/11/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars +++
Top Books of 2017
In the bestselling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally bestselling author whom Stephen King called “an absolute master” of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family?
Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.
When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…
With its brilliant rendering of a shocking kidnapping plot and the secrets some women hold close, The Secrets She Keeps delivers a dark and twisted page-turner that is absolutely impossible to put down.
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An avid Michael Robotham fan since his first book to his latest— and each one in between! The talented Australian crime fiction author returns following Close Your Eyes, landing on my Top Books of 2016, as well as Life or Death on my Top 10 Books of 2015 with his twelveth novel—yet another supercharged smashing hit THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS!
5 stars +++ Let me say, there are some juicy evil secrets here . . . KILLER! Top Books of 2017.
Set aside the time (unputdownable). Would make a fabalous movie! A story that will change the way you view other people’s lives. Fitting for today's world of social media.
Two women. Two lives. Two worlds. Two pregnancies. Two sets of very different secrets. The dangers of envy and lies.
Character-driven, skillfully-plotted —Robotham pulls you into the dark secret world of two different women in this riveting domestic suspense thriller.
Two pregnant women. Two women from different walks of life. How will their worlds connect?
The search for happiness. Survival. Managing expectations. Wishing for something someone else has.
Agatha watches Meghan from the window of the suburban London grocery store where she works part-time stocking shelves. She is pregnant. Her baby’s father is away. She leads a sad life. What an imagination!
She desires a perfect life. She wants to be a perfect mother and wife. She will have this world.
“We need the darkness to appreciate the light, and the bumps along the road to stop us falling asleep at the wheel.”
Meghan is chic, elegant, dazzling. Meghan has it all. Perfect children (Lucy and Lachlan), a handsome husband (sports reporter), Jack; stylish, nice friends, beautiful, plus she writes a mommy blog. She is pregnant. Meghan Shaughnessy is a former journalist but now a super-mom with tons of followers.
One follower is obsessed and carries it further.
Agatha is delighted to discover their two pregnancy dates are within the same month. She must figure out a way to get to know this woman. To get close to her.
What is Agatha's agenda? She is the more mysterious one. Agatha is not so pretty. People do not notice shelf-stockers. She imagines herself friends with Meg. She soon learns Meg’s habits by the things she buys and shops for in the store. She wants to have a life like Meg. She waits for her man, Hayden to return from the Navy. He does not know she is pregnant.
Despite her dead-end job and the desperate ordinary life, Agatha has her imagination and her dreams.
However, is Meg’s life as glamorous as Agatha thinks?
Meg’s marriage is not so perfect. The happy go lucky easy-going Jack has turned into a brittle man whose emotions seem to be wrapped tightly in barbed wire that she cannot hope to unloop them.
Agatha watches Meg, Jack and the children for hours. She stalks. She has been inside their home. The house next to the train track. She may see more than she wanted to. (loved this part with Jack/Realtor/Agatha).
Megan had an affair with Simon. Secrets to take to the grave.
What is Agatha hiding? What does her Jehovah Witness childhood have to do with the present? The horrors and monsters. She is attracted to people. When it comes to her past, people get some of the truth, some of the time.
Told in alternating voices, Agatha has a haunting past she hides. Meghan’s perfect life begins to unravel. What unfolds is heart-pounding chilling suspense! They may have more in common than they know.
A top-notch thriller. A compulsive read. Dark, twisted, and emotionally charged!
Am always amazed at how a man writes such strong women characters. He gets inside their heads—flawed characters, full of emotion, sprinkled with wit, humor, book titles, movies and lots of heart and intensity.
The author mentions in the acknowledgments: . . . “The Secrets She Keeps, a novel whose structure, substance, and twin voices are the most ambitious I’ve ever tackled.”
Congrats! Just when I think the next book cannot possibly be better than the previous, the author manages to create another intelligent award-winning psychological masterpiece!
Not only is Robotham one of the most talented writers, he could be a standup comedian. Hilarious one-liners.
I love the Joe O’Loughlin series; however, the author’s stand-alone's are to be savored as well. One of the top crime thriller international authors today. As always, glued to the pages. (Your US fans adore you!) Looks like we will get to see more of Joe O’Loughlin, with The Other Wife, coming July 2018 (can’t wait). A pre-order for sure!
Also purchased the audiobook (currently listening). Love narrator, Lucy Price-Lewis delivering a riveting performance.
For fans of Karin Slaughter, Paula Hawkins, Paul Cleave, and Liane Moriarty. Highly Recommend.
A special thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for an early reading copy.
July Top 20 Reads
Praise for The Secrets She Keeps
“Robotham captures the physical misery that often characterizes late-term pregnancies and writes convincingly in a female voice, but where this book excels is in the increasing sense of threat he crafts so well. With its interestingly imperfect characters and escalating sense of urgency, this novel will keep you reading as fast as you can.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“[An] emotionally charged domestic thriller...Robotham’s narrative is intimate and insightful. Brilliantly rendered characters, relentless tension, and numerous plot twists make this a winner.” —Publishers Weekly
“Two terrific female characters, both with secrets. Add Michael Robotham's clean prose and whipcrack pacing. The result? A book you won't be able to put down, although you may occasionally want to hide your eyes.”
“Skillfully placed twists give a fresh take to this well-plotted tale of psychological suspense...Readers will find themselves frantically turning pages to see just how this is all going to end.” —Booklist
About the Author
Gold Dagger winning author Michael Robotham was born in Australia in November 1960 and grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped in 1979 and became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.
For the next fourteen years he wrote for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.
In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were bestsellers with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.
His partially completed first novel, a psychological thriller called THE SUSPECT, caused a bidding war at the London Book Fair in 2002. Soon afterwards it was chosen by the world’s largest consortium of book clubs as only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries.
Michael’s novels have since been translated into 23 languages and have won or been shortlisted for numerous awards including:
The Crime Writer's Association Gold Dagger (won) LIFE OR DEATH 2015 (shortlisted) SAY YOU'RE SORRY 2013.
The Crime Writer's Association Steel Dagger (shortlisted) THE NIGHT FERRY and SHATTER.
The Ned Kelly Award for Best Novel (won 2005 and 2008) LOST and SHATTER.
The Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel (shortlisted) 2016 LIFE OR DEATH
Michael lives on Sydney's northern beaches, where he thinks dark thoughts in his 'cabana of cruelty' - a name bestowed by his three daughters, who happily poke fun at the man who has fed, clothed and catered to their every expensive whim. Where is the justice? Read More