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Seal of Secrets: A Novel of Mystery and Suspense Kindle Edition
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This is relentless in its suspense, and in the reader's increasingly agonised need to understand what is driving Raven, and, later on, Jack. Unexpectedly hardnosed, almost brutal, Cook is both unflinching and expert as layers of character come into view. The four central characters are brilliantly lighted, from the early, engaging sketches to the riveting conclusion. The story is almost completely character-driven, a master-class in this area.
A tale that is frightening in what it reveals about the dark potential in humanity, it also sheds light on the quiet heroism and ordinary caring for one another that marks human beings as something special, something higher - in spite of themselves.
Not to deliver a spoiler, but I felt that Kaitlynn's later response developed too suddenly. I may be wrong, as I have not studied the phenomenon in any detail myself, as I am confident that Cook would have done. This was just my personal feeling as a reader.
This remains one of the finest mystery/suspense novels I have read, and Cook as a character writer is probably superior to authors like Val McDermid and Ian Rankin, while being their equal in terms of tension and plot. Five stars.
I enjoyed all the characters which were well-developed, loved the style of writing and the dialogue, and appreciated the insights the author obviously has in many elements of human nature. Cook has no trouble delving into the darker side of humanity, and delivering a few heart-stopping, dark twists with panache.
That said, there were a couple of areas that bothered me, which was why I gave it four stars instead of five. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, so suffice it to say that I had trouble believing in the character arc of Kaitlynn. Although I'm aware of the underlying psychology, I thought it happened too quickly.
The reveal at the end about one of the other major characters also felt rather implausible, but perhaps that is just me.
Regardless of these issues, I really liked the book and look forward to reading more of this author's work.
I hope we see more from this author. His books just keep getting better and better!