UK Publishing Date: 7 Jan 2016. 400 pages.
The Darkest Secret begins in Bournemouth in the summer of 2004. Coco Jackson is three years old and has vanished from her bed overnight. The story begins to unfold from witness statements taken at the scene. There is obviously a conspiracy story around Coco’s disappearance and you begin to get a feel for the types of people that Sean had gathered around him for his 50th birthday party at Sandbanks.
It’s a good beginning, a really good beginning. It is, however, a book that requires some amount of effort on the part of the reader. Chapters are from different people’s perspective and then swap between present day and that terrible weekend in 2004. It takes a bit of concentration to get your head around all of the characters and to figure out which time period we’re in. That said, once you get immersed in the story it becomes a difficult book to put down.
Sean Jackson is a property developer and professional jackass. He is divorced from his first wife and a poor father to teenagers India and Camilla. His second wife Claire is feeling the strain and since she had the twins realises that Sean’s attentions are likely to be elsewhere. He surrounds himself with corrupt doctors, pompous Conservative politicians and generally people that you really wouldn’t want to know.
When Sean dies suddenly – handcuffed to a hotel bed in London! – one of his older daughters, Mila, is asked to identify the body. She hasn’t thought much about her Dad and his various families for years. When she is asked to accompany Ruby, the surviving twin, to the funeral, Mila discovers that there was a web of lies surrounding her sister’s death. And the perpetrators will stop at nothing to keep that secret safe.
Without giving too much of the plot away it is a gripping story and although I thought that I’d worked out what had happened, the final denouement was a real shock.
Supplied by Net Galley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
You can find the book here: The Darkest Secret