All the Dirty Secrets
reviewed by Carolyn Scott
Recently divorced Liza Gold is looking forward to a week at Dewey Beach on the Delaware/Maryland shore with her best friends from high school, Shelby, Todd and Archer. They’ve been best friends since they all met at the elite Washington Prep School in the 90s and Dewey Beach is where they came to party after graduating high school at what is known as Beach Week.
Now twenty-eight years later they are back at Shelby’s family beach house so she can spy on her twins who have just graduated from Washington Prep and are partying at Beach Week.
One reason for Shelby’s anxiety is that their own Beach week in 1994 didn’t end well when one of their friends, Nikki Montes, went for a night time swim and drowned. Liza’s daughter Zoe is a sophomore at Washington Prep, something Zoe can only afford because she works as a journalist at the school writing their alumni magazine and social media. She is happy that Zoe is currently staying with her Dad while Liza enjoys some time away and won’t be attending Beach week for another two years.
However, unknown to Liza, Zoe has a new best friend, Emery Blake, a senior at Washington Prep who has talked Zoe into attending Beach Week with her. However, after they arrive at a beach house party, Emery sneaks off to meet someone and doesn’t return and the unthinkable happens – Emery is found drowned. Liza is convinced that the two deaths twenty-eight years apart cannot be a coincidence and must be related, but how could they be? In order to find out who killed Zoe’s friend, she must re-examine everything she knows about the events leading to Nikki’s death all those years ago.
This psychological suspense starts off as a slow burning mystery as we get to know the characters and the background to the events, but the suspense soon ramps up with shocking revelations and more than a few dirty secrets and shocking coverups spilling out. The elitist atmosphere at Washington Prep and the sense of entitlement of the wealthy parents and their children all contributes to the sense of betrayal that Zoe starts to feel.
Told in two lines from Liza’s and Zoe’s points of view, they will both come to question their friendships and those they trust. Although Zoe is portrayed as a spoiled, whiny teenager, who angry with her parents and doesn’t even try to be civil to Zoe, she will come to realize how much she still needs her mother. The final clever plot twist is one I didn’t see coming and made for a shocking conclusion to this gripping mystery.
With thanks to Macmillan-Tor/Forge via Netgalley for a copy to read.
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