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"The lies aren't what he says; they're what he doesn't say."

  • Apr 13, 2013
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I've not read anything from Julie Compton before, but the premise of her latest book Keep No Secrets sounded like a interesting novel. Since it's a sequel to Tell No Lies, I got that one from the library intending to read that first before this one. But too many books and forgetfulness found me starting Secrets first without remembering the sequence. No matter... Once I got started, this was pretty much a "won't put it down" story. I'll be starting Tell No Lies tonight. :)

St. Louis District Attorney Jack Hillard has spent the last four years trying to recover his reputation and marriage after a one-night stand with another attorney, Jenny Dodson. It probably would have never been made public, except shortly thereafter she was arrested and put on trial for murder. Hillard was her alibi, as that was the night they were together. His testimony saved her from going to jail (her boyfriend ended up there instead), but it nearly ruined him. She disappeared after the trial, and he was left trying to put his life back together.

All his work towards that starts crumbling when Dodson shows up unexpectedly asking for his help in trying to find out who is sending her threatening letters. He tells his wife Claire, but she knows that Jack has never gotten over Jenny. Things go from bad to catastrophic when his son's 16-year-old girlfriend accuses Jack of sexual assault after he drove her home after she had been caught drinking. His son already hates him because of the earlier affair, and this accusation only makes things worse. When the press gets hold of the story, he's pushed to the breaking point... the public has already convicted him in their minds, Claire's not sure that she believes he didn't do what he's accused of, he's not sure he can believe everything that Jenny is telling him about why she's back, and he can't understand why his son and girlfriend are apparently trying to get him convicted of a crime he didn't commit. Whatever path he takes will hurt someone, and he's not sure if he can trust anyone to tell him the truth.

Keep No Secrets was a great read. The story continually twists and turns with each new chapter, and every time I thought I knew what was about to happen, I found I was completely wrong. All of the characters had depth and complexity, and it was hard not to empathize with what they were going through, even with all their flaws. I also had to deal with my cynicism regarding people denying things that they're accused of. It's not "guilty until proven innocent", as much as I tend to assume that these days. Sometimes the small actions and choices you make which seem innocent at the time look really bad when viewed from the perspective of someone else.

My only regret is that I messed up and read Keep No Secrets before Tell No Lies. I'll obviously know how Tell No Lies turns out now, and I think that I would have enjoyed Keep No Secrets more (if that's possible) had I read them in the right order. Still, that's my fault, not Ms. Compton's. I have no doubt that I'll be reading anything that she writes going forward, as she's on my "favorite authors list" now.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Publisher
Payment: Free

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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #46
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
About this product

Wiki

"InKeep No Secrets, Julie Compton merges psychological, family, and legal drama in a masterful thriller that rivals the work of Scott Turow and William Landay."
-Sharon Potts, author ofThe Devils's Madonna

"[Keep No Secrets] is smart, exciting, and original. The characters pop like firecrackers and the plot moves like a Ferrari, from one intriguing moment to the next. Get plenty of rest the night before you start this one, because you're not going to get much until you've finished it. Can't wait until the next one!"
-Elizabeth Sims, author of the Lillian Byrd Crime Novels, the Rita Farmer Mysteries, andYou've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams

"I'm not usually a fan of presumed-innocent plots, but Compton's skill at meshing several storylines,  detonating any number of secrets, and delineating credible characters kept me flipping pages, hoping that truth, justice -- and Jack -- win the day."
-Nancy Pate, blogger at On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever and former book critic forOrlando Sentinel
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