Book Review: Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

Dirty Little Secrets is one not to be missed, my first five star read of 2019. And I had so much fun reading this one with Eva @ Novel Deelights.

Book Description

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good. 

There’s just one problem. 

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight. 

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death. 

My Thoughts

Now here’s how you write a bestseller! Told from multiple perspectives, we hear from everyone in this this gated community, and how they did not harm Olive, but things get complicated when everyone has secrets to hide – but is one of the secrets murder? Spain also gave Olive a perspective in this novel, and it worked fantastically, a ‘commentary from beyond’ if you like, but it wasn’t done in a cheesy ghost story way, but in a way that strengthened the mystery.

This novel really is a page turner because it’s so entertaining, this community of people really are a special kind, all thinking they’re better than each other, all about keeping up appearances, and all with a potential motive for murder! You get the perspective of the police officers investigating Olive’s death too, and it was great to see them just as unsure as reader about who was guilty.

I was unsure at first too, but a little pat on the back to myself here, because I called it! I totally guessed this mystery, and I was so chuffed with myself, I analysed all the characters, the strength of their reasoning for possibly wanting Olive dead, and I guessed it! Did this take away from my enjoyment? Not at all. Yes, I guess there was no shock factor when all was revealed, but it was the best ending, and I was really impressed with Spain [and myself]! I loved the excitement of it, oh and did I mention how thoroughly entertaining this novel was?!

There were so many moments when this novel had me chuckling to myself – “her face ran at my fist” was one of those moments! But there were also some real tender moments that allowed you to emotionally connect with some of the characters. This emotional aspect was expertly weaved in, because intentionally so, these are not the most likeable of characters, so to be blindsided with this strong emotion was fantastic. Also, the secrets, the lies, the manipulation, it was brilliant, everywhere where you looked someone was keeping a secret, did I mention how thoroughly entertaining this novel was?!

There was only one noticeable gripe, and that was with a character who was born and raised in Nigeria before moving to Ireland, he didn’t come across as authentic as I’d have liked. More than adding “o” to the end of some of his sentences was needed, while I appreciated the diversity, it would have been nice to throw in a few stronger cultural elements. Yes it can be argued that he wanted to fit in in this rich community and so he discarded his culture, but again we’d have to question the message being delivered here if that was the case. I could easily have believed this character was a white male born and raised in the Ireland, yet he was someone who was born and raised in Africa, anyway, that was just some food for thought on my part.

Dirty Little Secrets reads quickly due to the short chapters, the expertly crafted mystery, and it’s highly, highly entertaining nature, this is one not to be missed, especially if you enjoyed Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. It also had shades of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng with its Stepford wives-esque community. Oh but when the facades unravelled, all the secrets came tumbling out! Highly recommended, all the stars, loved it!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to the publisher (Quercus) for providing me with a copy of this book*

27 thoughts on “Book Review: Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

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