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The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood
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The Darkest Secret

by Alex Marwood

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15810106,777 (3.72)17

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SWEDISH REVIEW

Den mörkaste hemligheten är den första bok jag har läst av Alex Marwood och kommer inte vara den sista jag tar mig an. Jag älskar mörka psykologiska thrillers och handlingen i denna bok var intressant med en försvunnen liten flicka vars tvillingsyster 12 år senare frågar sin storasyster vad som egentligen hände när de tillsammans åker till deras pappas begravning.

Ja, vad hände egentligen med Coco? Blev hon kidnappad, försvann hon, eller ligger någon av gästerna i huset vid försvinnandet bakom det? Det är några av frågorna jag grubblade över medan jag läste boken. Det är en mörk bok, men inte så mörk som jag hade förväntat mig, mycket pga. av att människorna i boken är så avskyvärda att jag inte förvånades över avslöjanden som kom fram i boken. Boken verkligen kändes som om en studie i människors värsta beteende. Från de som var vidriga i sin hela personlighet till de som med ett falsk leende kunde ljuga och manipulera omgivningen. Kort sagt, jag blev inte så överraskad över vändningarna i storyn pga av att jag redan misstänkte att de flesta människorna i boken var genomruttna och kunde begå vilka som helst brott. De enda som vann sympati var systrarna Ruby och Milly samt Claire när man började känna henne lite mer.

En intressant bok som kändes lite ojämn, speciellt framåt halva boken när jag kände att skiftningarna mellan nutid och dåtid kändes lite segt. Men helt klart en läsvärd bok!

Tack till Modernista för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

The Darkest Secret is the first book I have read by Alex Marwood and it won't be the last. I love dark psychological thrillers and the book was interesting to read. A little girl goes missing and twelve years later her twin sister is questioning her older sister on the way to their father's funeral.

What really happened to Coco? Was she kidnapped, did she disappear or is someone among the guests in the house at the time behind it all? That's some of the questions I was wondering about as I read the book. It's a dark book, just not as dark as I excepted it to be. Most of the people in this book are so rotten that I just didn't get surprised by the revelations that were revealed as I read the book. It felt like reading a study on human behavior, and the worst kind. All from those that have a disgusting personality to those that with a false smile could lie and manipulate everyone around them. In short, I never really got surprised when the story took a twist because I already suspected that most of the people in the book were bad to the bone and could commit any kind of crimes. The only people I found some sympathy for was the sisters Ruby and Milly and later on Claire when one got to know her better.

It's an interesting book that felt a bit uneven to read, especially around half the book when I felt that shifts between past and present started to drag the story a bit. But it's definitely an interesting book to read!

Thanks to Modernista for the review copy! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
This was a good book, but something felt missing for me. ( )
  ChrisWay | Aug 22, 2017 |
In 2004, during a weekend away for her father Sean’s 50th birthday celebrations, three year old Coco Jackson disappears – apparently taken from the house where she slept with her twin sister Ruby and other children in the middle of the night. A huge media campaign follows but Coco is never found.

Twelve years later, following the sudden death of Sean Jackson, the truth about what really happened on that weekend is slowly revealed as his family and friends prepare for his funeral.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. Psychological thrillers are a favourite genre of mine but they can also be a real let-down when they venture into the realms of the ridiculous. However, this book seemed actually plausible and I think that may have been due to the writing. And, sadly, possibly also due to the fact that there have been some high profile disappearances of children over the years. Alex Marwood is a journalist and I can’t help wondering if this case was at least inspired by one particularly famous child disappearance.

There is a dual storyline – the first part set in 2004 and told from the point of view of various characters. The truth of what happened is drip-fed bit by bit. The second part is set in 2016 and is narrated by Mila, one of Sean’s daughters from his first of four marriages. As Mila reconnects with Ruby, the twin sister of Coco, she revisits her own past and deals with her feelings about her father and the fragile ties that can bind a family together.

In any event, it’s an absorbing read. Sean Jackson is a deeply unlikeable, narcissistic and selfish character and indeed most of the adult characters in this story are the same. Pity the children who had the misfortune to be part of their families. Speaking of those children though, I did love Mila and enjoyed her character development. I also adored Ruby, who was entirely believable as both a typical teenager and a young girl who had had to live with survivor’s guilt her whole life.

As mentioned earlier, I did think that the final twist was pretty predictable, but there were still a few surprises along the way, and the writing was great and kept me reading on and on.

Overall I would highly recommend this book, and will definitely look out for more by Alex Marwood. ( )
  Ruth72 | Apr 13, 2017 |
Sean Jackson is a sociopathic narcissist whose extended family of cast off wives and children lack even the small comfort of their shared experiences thanks to secrets kept by his small group of friends, the so-called Jackson Associates - four couples linked by childhood friendship and adult profit. As the storyline alternates between Sean's 50th birthday weekend and the weeks surrounding his death a decade later his second daughter, Mila, finds her way to the truth behind her toddler stepsister's disappearance. Or does she? Among other things this is a belated coming-of-age story as twenty-something Mila comes to know her lost sister's now-adolescent twin and realizes that she can't continue her Trustafarian lifestyle indefinitely. In an amusing riff on our tendency to apply psychological labels indiscriminately, Mila and Ruby share a fascination with the DSM tho their insights miss the mark. A question remains: is truth always best? Perhaps there are times when truth does more harm than good or perhaps, as we so often elide, it's complicated. A character reminds us of the Buddha's qualifier, "is it kind and is it helpful?" (p. 274)
Mila: "Divorce - it might be your easy way out, but it'll stay with your offspring for the rest of your life." (p. 252) ( )
  amac121212 | Dec 30, 2016 |
What a fantastic book! This is my first by Alex Marwood but I'm looking forward to reading more if they're all like this one.

The book is set in two different times. In 2004, at a house party for her father's 50th birthday, three year old Coco Jackson goes missing. And in 2016 the story is narrated by Mila Jackson, Coco's older stepsister, following their father's death. The story of what happened to Coco is drip-fed as we follow the events of that weekend and in turn find out what has happened since.

The plotting in this book is brilliant. As the story progressed I did start to guess what had happened but the author still had surprises and twists and turns in store for me. It's also a look at how good PR can do wonders for you and your reputation. There are some thoroughly unlikable characters, full of indulgence, back-stabbing and cheating. The ending is fascinating and really challenged what I thought I knew.

Absolutely gripping I thought. ( )
  nicx27 | Aug 21, 2016 |
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Epigraph
I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice. Then must
you speak
Of one that lov'd not wisely but too well

William Shakespeare, Othello

When a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy.

James Goldsmith
Dedication
For Sally and Bunny Frankland
With love
First words
TO: Client, Media, Contacts
SUBJECT: URGENT, MISSING CHILD,
PLEASE SHARE
DATE: 31 August 2004
ATT: Coco.jpg, bracelet.jpg

Dear all -
Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
They said Coco went missing in the night.
They lied.

Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

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.


When 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 fifteen years later at the funeral of her father — the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed...

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No descriptions found.

"From Edgar Award winner Alex Marwood comes another gripping psychological thriller. When a child goes missing at an opulent house party, it makes international news. But what really happened to Coco Jackson? Real estate mogul Sean Jackson is throwing himself a splashy fiftieth birthday party, but trouble starts almost immediately: His ex-wife has sent his teenage daughters to the party without telling him; his current wife has fired the nanny; and he's finding it difficult to sneak away to his mistress. Then something truly terrible happens: one of his three-year-old twins goes missing. No trace of her is ever found. The attendees of the party, nicknamed the Jackson Associates by the press, become infamous overnight. Twelve years later, Sean is dead. The Jackson Associates assemble for the funeral, together for the first time since that fateful weekend. Soon the barbed comments and accusations are flying. By the end of the weekend, one will be dead. And one of Sean's daughters will make a shocking discovery. Praise for Alex Marwood: "Scary as hell. Great characters."--Stephen King "Real, chilling, true to its world and its characters. In short, a knock-out."--Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of What the Dead Know"--… (more)

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