The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

51qMqw4BKtL._SY346_ Synopsis: My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.  Then identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.  But what really happened to Coco?  Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed…

Kat’s Review: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I was a little torn over this book, but eventually decided it was too good a read to mark as a ‘middle of the road’ 3/5. I am sure people will be wondering why, well essentially this is a dark book, and sometimes too much dark makes me so uncomfortable the reading isn’t as enjoyable. I think overall it’s balancing on that line but stayed just the right side for me. I have read Alex previous books and enjoyed them and the synopsis of this one certainly intrigued me. 

This book is based around the events of a tragic weekend in 2004 when 3 year old Coco goes missing, and then twelve years later at the funeral of Coco’s father Sean Jackson. The lead characters in this book are hideous and immensely unlikable. There are numerous characters, and they all seem to have their own selfish agendas and frankly I couldn’t warm to any of them. This is what I mean when I say the book is a little too dark, but a good kind of dark (if you know what I mean).

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The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

51qMqw4BKtL._SY346_

Synopsis: My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

Then identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed…

Kat’s Review: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I was a little torn over this book, but eventually decided it was too good a read to mark as a ‘middle of the road’ 3/5. I am sure people will be wondering why, well essentially this is a dark book, and sometimes too much dark makes me so uncomfortable the reading isn’t as enjoyable. I think overall it’s balancing on that line but stayed just the right side for me. I have read Alex previous books and enjoyed them and the synopsis of this one certainly intrigued me. 

This book is based around the events of a tragic weekend in 2004 when 3 year old Coco goes missing, and then twelve years later at the funeral of Coco’s father Sean Jackson. The lead characters in this book are hideous and immensely unlikable. There are numerous characters, and they all seem to have their own selfish agendas and frankly I couldn’t warm to any of them. This is what I mean when I say the book is a little too dark, but a good kind of dark (if you know what I mean).

The plot itself is cleverly constructed and the plot revealed in layers. We learn what happened to Coco in stages over the whole book and by the time most of the pieces are revealed things start to make sense. However, towards the end I had than sneaking suspicion that there would be no tidy and wrapped up neatly ending and I was right. On the one hand this really frustrated me and on the other I thought it was a brilliant way to end it. Overall a book that certainly won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but was hugely enjoyable (if not a little difficult to read in places). I think Alex Marwood writes slightly out of the box and it’s quite refreshing to read something that isn’t the same as everything else. I have always had mixed feelings with all of her books but ultimately enjoy them and will look forward to her next release.

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

51EXQZ2ESdL._SY346_ Synopsis: No. 23 has a secret. In this gloomy, bedsit-riddled South London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, a horrifying collection quietly waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide. 

Collette is on the run from her ex-boss; Cher is an underage children’s home escapee; lonely Thomas tries to make friends with his neighbours; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a ‘quiet man’ nobody sees try to keep themselves hidden. And there for them all is Vesta, a woman who knows everything that goes on in the house – or thought she did. 

Then in the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the six into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on their next victim…

My Rating: 5/5

My Review: I read Alex Marwood’s debut novel and as much as I enjoyed it, it made me feel uncomfortable. This second book made me feel uncomfortable but on a whole new level! I was bloody gripped from start to finish and felt like I was playing the world’s most twisted game of Cluedo (when you read it you’ll get what I mean)! The characters in this book I really liked as they all have their own dark secrets which have brought them to No. 23. Collet, Cher and Vesta made the core women and an additional 3 men plus the landlord make up the weird motley crew living there. From the outset I liked all the women, but the men…mmm well I just wasn’t sure.

As the story progresses you learn a little bit more about each tenant and how they have come to be at the house. The most vile character was the landlord and he had my skin crawling from the very beginning. When an ‘incident’ happens at the house, the 6 tenants become united and things take a turn for the worse. The second thread aside from the individuals within the house is that of the killer. We see the killer perform his rituals and the question becomes, which one of them in the house is responsible. I must say that I do have a strong stomach and tend not to be too bothered about violence and gore. However, Alex Marwood has managed to describe the killer and their actions in such details that it made my stomach turn on more than one occasion.

I played the whole game of thinking I knew who was responsible and got it totally wrong. This in itself is always a surprisingly pleasing element when reading a book like this. What did throw me was the ending, I certainly didn’t see that coming, yet the last 2 pages threw me because of the absence of one particular character (a question for the author me thinks). This book was slightly warped, very graphic, yet a compelling and utterly gripping book. I think Alex Marwood is one to watch, especially at night in a dark alley…any writer that does that good a job must get those ideas from somewhere. This one’s out on the 5th December 2013 and is an ideal present for somebody who wants a book that will have them gripped!

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

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MY RATING: 3/5

Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a journalist who has worked in the British press for many years. Wicked Girls was her debut novel and I was looking forward to reading it. If I am totally honest the synopsis seemed pretty dark but I still eagerly started it on my way into work. Two young girls at the age of 11 were imprisoned for the murder of a four year old girl. They weren’t even friends, having met that very day. Once inside prison they both have separate experiences and eventually get released and move on with their lives.

In the present time we meet Kirsty Lindsay, a journalist who is reporting on a number of attacks on young women in the seaside town of Whitmouth. We also meet Amber Gordon who is a cleaner at a funfair and is introduced to us when she is unfortunate enough to come across a dead body. Sadly when the two women meet they realise that this is just the beginning of their living nightmare

 The story was really well constructed and I liked the way the story jumped between the present day and the past. The story of the two women as young girls and how the events unfold that terrible day are done slowly. The layers are peeled back as at the same time the reader sees what is happening in their lives currently. It seems like these two women have no chance to redeem themselves as once again their lives clash in the worst possible way. The thing that I did enjoy was the writing style, it was easy to get into and the story was well paced. I did however have that uncomfortable feeling while reading this book, which was more to do with the subject matter than the author’s talent!

This particular book certainly has lots going on, and it certainly doesn’t shy away from dealing with the difficult subject of child killers. I think although the book kept me interested and I certainly didn’t take long to finish it, I just didn’t feel all that comfortable reading it. I failed to empathise with the characters even though I think this is just another viewpoint about the ifs, buts and maybes in cases like these. I will certainly look forward to reading what Marwood produces next but just felt that this book wasn’t for me. Having said that it certainly shows the authors talent and I think many people have and will love this type of book. Overall a good read but just not for me.