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Seal of Secrets: A Novel of Mystery and Suspense Kindle Edition
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|Length: 256 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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However, I do have some criticisms. The first chapter is a scene that ends in a cliff-hanger from much later in the story, then it goes back to start "how it got to there". I know a lot of TV stories do this, but I think it is both a technical cliché now, and not a very attractive one. By and large the characters are well-drawn, particularly Chloe, and including minor ones like Indie, but (and it is difficult to explain this without spoiling) the emergence of Dove struck me as too abrupt, and it made too much of the rest difficult to swallow. Yes, it could have happened, but it needed a good deal more writing to convince me why it happened. A similar piece of "detail skimming" involved some police intervention. However, overall this is a highly entertaining book, and if you read it and don't worry about these niggling details you will find it quite enthralling.
The writing is very good. The plot unspools nicely. And there are a good number of surprises, including some rather startling (and disturbing) revelations as the novel progresses. I didn’t see the denouement coming.
A story doesn’t have to be believable for me to enjoy it, but the transformation of the teenage daughter was a little hard to swallow in such a short time frame. Not an avid thriller reader, I kept trying but failing to like at least one of the characters. But this story reminds me of “Girl on the Train” in that none of the characters are people you’d want in your life, although it’s still a memorable thriller.
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.
Respect to the author for illuminating some heavy topics, namely Stockholm Syndrome, sexual abuse, Catholic priests, and alcoholism. Each is dealt with carefully. The author provides multiple perspectives that make you think twice before deciding who is right and who is wrong.
While Raven's motivations were clear, I found Jack's to be less so. He was a difficult character to either empathize with or cheer against.
What I found lacking was a major plot twist that really shocked me. There were a few, but I wasn't taken aback by any of them. I felt as though the opportunity was there for something big, but it just didn't materialize. I think certain bits of information could've been withheld more strategically.
Overall, though, worth a read for those that prefer mysteries and don't mind dealing with heavy topics.
Most recent customer reviews
A real page turner. I started one evening, read until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. Finished it the next morning.Read more