What’s it about?
Who killed Gray Mitchell?
Gray Mitchell’s body is found buried under fresh snowfall in the early hours of the morning outside Stromford Cathedral. D.I. Jim Neal and D.S. Ava Merry are called in to investigate. It seems that a number of people had motives to kill him, including Mitchell’s partner.
Then another shocking act of violence occurs, also connected to the cathedral. Detectives Neal and Merry’s investigation reveals an intricate web of secrets connecting the crimes. But there is something the detectives have missed, the dark secret which can break open the case.
In a breathtaking climax, Jim Neal fights for the life of someone very close to him.
If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will be gripped by this exciting new crime fiction writer.
Dark Secret is the second in a new series of detective thrillers featuring D.S. Ava Merry and D.I. Jim Neal. Ava Merry is a young policewoman, recently promoted to detective sergeant. She is fitness fanatic with a taste for dangerous relationships. Jim Neal is single dad who juggles his devotion to his job with caring for his son.
Jim Neal and Ava Merry are called in to investigate the death of Gray Mitchell. Gray’s death is certainly suspicious because none of his friends believe in suicide and when they investigate his phone they find a message he received in his final hour from someone threating to jump from the cathedral. The autopsy further reveals he was hit on the head too. All through the story Gray seems like he’s a really good guy and nobody should mean him any harm. So the investigation does not lead anywhere until some of his friends start to make themselves suspicious, his partner of 20 years seems to have an affair, Gray himself was seen in a café with some guy, and then there was also the initial rivalry with Laurence who also offers a themed tourist tour in town and whose behaviour is kind of flaky. When a second murder happens even more questions raise. Who was to gain from all this? The answer is revealed by some unexpected evidence and it’s only in the last part of the book that we are taken on the right path.
This is the first book I read by Janice Frost and it is apparently the sequel to another book, called Dead Secret. Although I missed a little bit of background on both Jim as Ava, this can certainly be read as a standalone. Ava and Jim are both single and you can feel the mutual interest but they don’t act upon it and, although he is her superior, I certainly hope in the next novel they will get together, or at least let the tension run even higher. The book starts off rather slow, there is a lot of questioning of his friends and co-workers and nothing much to learn, but it got more interesting after the second murder. I was kept in the dark for a long time and I kept on wondering who of his friends could have had a dark secret, but then they all seem to keep something one way or another. I could not have come up with the solution myself and in that fact was maybe a bit disappointed, it’s just not possible to figure this one out on yourself. I maybe expected a bit more suspense and a bit less tell.
*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion*