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  • Judith D Collins

Other People's Secrets


By: Meredith Hambrock

ISBN: 9781666614213

Publisher: Dreamscape Media

Narrator: Frankie Corzo

Publication Date: 09/06/2022

Format: Audiobook

9 Hours, 58 Minutes

My Rating: 3 Stars 🎧 (ARC)


SEP 2022 MUST-READ BOOKS


Baby’s down—and could be out for good—when she faces off with forces bent on turning her lakeside paradise into a living hell, for fans of Alissa Nutting and Amy Engel.


Baby’s heart is in the right place, but she’s got problems—namely, a fierce taste for booze and an on-again, off-again boyfriend who can't commit. She’s living and working at Oakwood Hills, a crumbling lakeside resort, with her friends, Crystal Nugget and DJ Overalls, reeling since her adoptive mother died of a stroke. And now, the return of the local drug kingpin, Bad Mike, is about to throw her already unstable summer into full-blown chaos.

To make matters worse, the owner of Oakwood Hills announces plans to sell the resort to Amelia, her boyfriend's wealthy twin sister, who plans to renovate it, sucking the life out of the only home Baby's ever known. Desperate to thwart the sale, Baby and her friends decide to try to recover a sunken treasure rumored to be sitting at the bottom of the lake. But Bad Mike also has his eyes on the prize and when the search gets criminal, Baby will be forced to walk down a road full of hidden secrets that will change how she sees herself—and her life—forever.


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My Review


Meredith Hambrock's debut, OTHER PEOPLE'S SECRETS, features BABY, a woman who was found in a dumpster as a newborn, and her life has been tough since in this crazy family drama.


She finally has found a place she calls home, where she lives and works at Oakwood Hills, a crumbling lakeside resort. Her adoptive mom died of a stroke, and she is stuck in this small town, barely getting by as a bartender. She drinks too much, has an attitude and foul mouth is self-destructive, and has made bad life choices.


She has a dead-end summer boyfriend romance and going nowhere. We also hear from characters, like DJ and Crystal, and others.


Things get heated due to the owners having sold the resort, and they plan to make big changes. This will not include Baby. She is not happy. The person who plans on buying it is Amelia, her boyfriend's wealthy twin sister, who plans to renovate it.


She wants to keep things the way they are. She and her friends try to find a way to keep the resort. To complicate matters, the local drug dealer is back in the picture and looking for revenge.


To make things more interesting, a sunken treasure is rumored to be sitting at the bottom of the lake. What will she do with the money if she and her friends recover the safe? However, the drug pin is after it too.


The discovery of a connection between her family and criminal activity turns Baby’s search into a complicated and intense race against time.


Underneath the surface are dark secrets in this small town, which may slowly rise to the top. Whether rich or poor, everyone has dark secrets.


A story of the HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS. I would not classify this as a thriller but more of a mystery and a drama. Lots of drama and eccentric characters. However, the last part of the book gave some hope even though there were no likable characters.


THE AUDIOBOOK: I also listened to the audiobook, found it very annoying, and kept having to fast forward through it. If I heard the word "Baby" one more time, I thought I would scream! It was repeated over and over. Instead of Baby talking when it was her time, the audio would repeat "Baby said" each time she spoke which does not make for a pleasant listening experience. Very awkward, and have never seen this done before.


While no fault of the narrator, Frankie Corzo, I just did not like the way the audio was laid out. I would not recommend the audio. Maybe try the book instead. The book seems to have a higher rating on NetGalley versus the audiobook. Based on the fact I am reviewing the audiobook only, I will have to give this one 3 Stars, which is generous. Appears I am not the only with complaints about the audiobook.


I look forward to reading more from this author; sadly, this book was not for me.


Thank you to #DreamscapeMedia and #NetGalley for an ALC in exchange for an honest review.


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 3 Stars

Pub Date: Sep 6, 2022




Praise


“[A] dynamic debut . . . [the] surprising plot twists match eccentric, reckless characters.” —Publishers Weekly

“Clever and endlessly compelling, Other People’s Secrets hooks you from the very first sentence and doesn’t let go. This book, like its messy and endearing protagonist Dumpster Baby, is full of both heart and razor-sharp edges, and it’s one you won’t want to miss.”

—Brianna Labuskes, bestselling author of A Familiar Sight


“Other People's Secrets has all the things I demand of a crime novel: fun dialogue, quick pacing, a perfectly plotted quest, and a legitimately terrifying meth dealer. It's also got a thing too precious to demand of anything, and that's heart. This book is full of funny, flawed, real characters whose humanity and depth reaches out from every page. I read it cover-to-cover in three days.”

—Andrew Battershill, award-winning author for Marry, Bang, Kill.


“Other People’s Secrets is a frank, funny, edge-of-your-seat thriller that yanks you in on page one and doesn’t let go. Hambrock's refreshing voice is pitch-perfect as she explores the simmering tensions between the haves and have-nots in a colourful resort town. With unforgettable characters and life crackling on every page, this is a standout debut.”

—Michelle Kaeser, author of The Towers of Babylon


“The madcap energy and inimitable voice of Other People's Secrets are as irresistible as its protagonist, Baby—an impulsive, stubborn, 29-year-old wild child, fighting to save the town and chosen family she loves. As Baby brawls, drinks, and schemes, toe-to-toe with a meth kingpin and a family of callous, ultra-wealthy vultures, in a world that's been stacked against her from the moment she was found as an infant in a dumpster, the writing is vivid and close to the skin, making visceral the hangovers, clogged toilets, and joys that make life worth living.”

—Kim Fu, author of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century






About the Author



Meredith Hambrock is a Canadian fiction and television writer who grew up in Toronto and now lives in Vancouver. Her short fiction has appeared in several magazines including Maisonneuve and Descant. She’s been a finalist for the CBC Short Story Prize and most recently wrote for the sitcom “Corner Gas Animated.”

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