How Secrets Die
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
As Laurel Ridge embraces a stranger hungry for answers, a sinister truth is awakened.
A hard-hitting reporter, Kate Beaumont unearths the deepest lies and brings harsh truths to light. But the story that lures her to the gentle town of Laurel Ridge, Pennsylvania, is closer to her heart than anyone knows. The details of her half-brother’s sudden death have never made sense. She owes him justice, yet the one man who can help her is the stubborn sheriff she can’t stand.
Protecting his town is Mac Whiting’s top priority. Everything else—including pacifying a beautiful crusader on a mission best left resting in peace—is secondary. But as Kate’s search embeds her in his world and attracts a skilled criminal, she needs Mac’s protection. Drawn together by deadly secrets, they must find a way to trust each other before a killer silences them both.
It is always a delight when I can open the pages of a new Marta Perry mystery. Teasing the truth from a pile of secrets is one of the things her characters are accomplished in. I was captivated from the beginning of the mystery and it held my attention throughout. Kate, a heartbroken sister chooses to try to find the truth about her brother’s death by staying as a short-term renter in the cottage where Jason had lived during his internship in Laurel Ridge.
Kate, between positions in her career as an investigative reporter, left her life behind as she took an intermission in Laurel Ridge. Those she met in town were kind and welcoming even before they learned that she was Jason’s brother. As folks in small towns tend to do, once the residents heard who she was, some were ready to help and others were suspicious or even angry – including the sheriff and Jason’s former employers.
Characterizations are top-notch. Kate is a young woman who has things to learn here in Laurel Ridge that she never wanted or needed to know before. She has a healthy share of grit and intelligence! She is very likable and has the can-do attitude that most employers love. She is my favorite character in almost every way except that the thought of some of the lengths she goes to in an effort to find the truth behind her brother’s death or to help others almost gives me an additional grey hair! We learn almost as much about Kate’s half-brother Jason, in part to be able to understand him to search for the truth with Kate. Jason was introverted, an excellent gamer and highly adept with any techno gear. He lived in the characters in his head but was well in touch with reality. Jason’s father was Kate’s stepfather, Tom, who was a retired cop. He was the specter enshrouding the lives of Kate and Jason. When he passed, she found a box of Jason’s things at the Tom’s house, including one item that would be an invaluable aid to her in seeking the truth – if only she could understand his code!
Sheriff Mac Whiting is caring and protective, more to his townspeople than to Kate as a visitor until the incidents threatening her and those about her escalated. We learn more about him as the novel progresses. Peripheral characters and suspects are defined as needed to meet their roles. Many of the townspeople were kind and welcoming, in particular the Amish ladies.
The plot was detailed and executed with excellence. There were several plot twists and a U-turn or two as this reader was led through the search as if one of Kate’s friends. I was impressed anew with the excitement and suspense the author can weave within the fabric of the mystery. The interplay between characters is part of the charm of the story as well as part of the challenge; Kate has had too many lessons in not trusting others to simply take everyone at face value. The actual bad guy / bad gal blindsided me, as I had favored someone else for that role. As more was revealed about Jason’s personality, I grew to appreciate him more as a master gamer with enviable computer skills. The ending was better than satisfactory, leaving no open ends. I highly recommend ‘How Secrets Die’ to fans of Marta Perry and all who appreciate a well-written cozy mystery with a hard-to-solve mystery, an intelligent protagonist, and the possibility of romance that enhances without overshadowing the burgeoning suspense.