Dirty Little Secrets

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

This book was brilliant! I picked it up one afternoon and I literally didn’t stop reading until I’d turned the final page! It follows seven residents in a gated community in the aftermath of one of the neighbours being found dead. The neighbours seem like they’d be close-knit and yet Olive had been dead for three months before anyone realised! The novel follows each of these characters as we get to know their back stories and how well they know each other. They all have their own secrets and things they don’t want to come out but the investigation into the murder means everything has to come out into the open. This novel kept me on my toes all the way through. I couldn’t make my mind up who was most likely to have harmed Olive and what I eventually settled on was completely wrong! The end when it comes is shocking and deeply unsettling but it’s also such a satisfying end to the book. I loved this one and I’m now so keen to read more by Jo Spain! I definitely recommend this book!
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I would give this book 3.25 stars.

This was a really enjoyable thriller.

I was immediately intrigued by the story when I discovered that parts of the story are told from the murdered woman's perspective.

In theory this had a lot of things going for it; it was a thriller with a small pool of suspects, unlikable characters and I was kept guessing the entire time. In practice though, I just could not connect to this story.

I would definitely recommend giving this thriller a go.
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Olive is dead but which of her neighbours killed her.  A proper whodunit.  Well developed characters and a great plot.
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Loved this book! It was fascinating to see the secrets and lies of the neighbours come to light. Olive's narrative in between reveals her encounters with them and casts doubt on everyone. Pretty much everyone has a potential motive, to the point that it's a guessing game as to what happened. At first I was a bit disappointed with the ending but a page or so later, I realised it was actually very clever, both from the author and the culprit. This is my second book from the author and another great read. Can't wait for more!
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I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous offering from the same author.
Olive Collins who is in her mid fifties is discovered dead in her cottage home, a six house development in Withered Vale. Her body has been decomposing for three months, none of the neighbouring residents bothering to knock her door to find out how she is. The Detectives Frank and Emma discover that Olive died from a heart-attack but their suspicions are raised when they also discover that her gas boiler has been tampered with and the windows and vents sealed shut. All the neighbours are questioned and it appears that they all have something to hide. Each of them have encountered disagreements with Olive in the weeks leading up to her death.
The neighbours vegetarian David and his wife Lily, Matt the accountant and his wife Chrissy, who is having an affair with salesman Ron . George, who is addicted to porn, Ed and Amelia the retired couple who are currently on holiday, single mother Alison and her precocious but fragile daughter, Holly. All of them are suspects and each of them have a reason for wanting Olive dead.
This is a really good book that is entertaining with a great plot.
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First Jo Spain novel I’ve read and won’t be the last. Really enjoyed how she weaves the various neighbours strands together and creates a real sense of mistrust between members of the little community!
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I really enjoyed this, my second read from Jo Spain. The story felt original and I loved the closed circle nature of the set-up - it was like a classic whodunit but with some adult themes and some very funny moments.

I also really liked the structure - hearing from all of the characters in turn, including the victim, and the flashbacks - hearing how Olive saw herself, versus seeing how she managed to alienate every single person around her. It was cleverly written and I hope to read more from Jo Spain.

Thank you to Quercus Books and NetGalley for the ARC of Dirty Little Secrets.
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Flipping brilliant!  A completely addictive read which will have your mind twisting and turning trying to work out whodunnit!  Thoroughly enjoyable and well recommended holiday read!
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A small enclosed neighbourhood, but there are hidden stories behind every door. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and did not feel sorry for Olive, who was dead for three months before she was discovered. By the end of the book anyone in the street could have killed her. She really was not a nice person. The ending was unexpected. Another novel by this author I thoroughly enjoyed.
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Hooked me from the first page, it is a typical who did it? Thriller, being one of my favourite genres I have read many and this was fantastic read. Just when you think you know who did it, there is a twist and you are left to try and piece it all together again. I know how detectives feel now lol.
The plot was great, very believable, something that could really happen in real life, the characters developed well throughout the book. Each chapter is told from a different neighbours POV. 
Who would have thought so many people would have secrets hidden?
I would definitely recommend it to fans of psychological thrillers. You will not be disappointed.
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“It’s the only way when you live in a cut-off community like this. Smile, make small talk, but keep your hedges high and your door closed.”

Ah yes. Keep those hedges high, but there are always back doors, and it seems some neighbours made good use of them. This is not a closed-room mystery, but it’s a closed community with a gate and not a lot of residents. 

The original resident was Olive, who lived in a small cottage on a nice piece of land. She was found dead, a good (or bad, if you were one of the first on the scene!) three months after she died. Natural causes, suicide, misadventure? Whatever the reason, she’s a disgusting, flyblown sight now, and the detectives heartily wish that someone had noticed her absence earlier. 

“Frank Brazil had never claimed to have a strong stomach. . . Even his partner Emma looked slightly less orange than normal, her naturally fair skin a few notches paler under the caked foundation cream.”

They pull themselves together and begin to investigate. A bit of background first. When the owner of the land decided to develop “Withered Vale” some years ago, Olive’s small cottage became #4 of 7 houses, the other 6 being the kind of large, impressive homes you’d expect to find in an exclusive community. (Its unfortunate name was the result of a farmer who foolishly poisoned all his crops when spraying pests with arsenic.) 

The author’s done a great job of differentiating the people and giving us their histories, so much so, that I found I seldom had to look back to remind myself who someone was or which child belonged to whom. Each chapter is introduced with the person or family’s name and house number. Full marks, Ms Spain, for that! 

Even Frank and Emma, the detective and his young partner, are fleshed out with back stories that explain their reactions to some of the secrets as they are revealed.

The author also describes well the awkwardness that we may all feel about some neighbours.

“. . . there was a shyness amongst the grown-ups of Withered Vale. In a domestic setting, out of the suits and offices, metres from their own private abodes, each of them felt an odd sense of discomfort, like they should be more relaxed than they were. Like they should know each other more than they did.”

Olive, as the first resident, usually initiated friendly contact and assumed a kind of ownership of the community. She, at least, was keen to know plenty about all of them. 

Of the seven homes, three belong to singles, Olive, George, and Ron. Two belong to couples with kids; one belongs to a single mother and daughter; and one belongs to an older couple with no kids. 

Each character gets a chance to tell us their own story, including Olive from beyond the grave. There is a point in each story where I found the foreshadowing a bit overdone. Every person lets us know there is something dark in their past . . . but then we move along to the next person’s chapter. And it's obvious Olive irritated them.

"‘She was an awful woman. You should be glad she’s dead.’

. . . ‘You can’t say things like that! When somebody dies . . .’ 

‘They’re still the same person. . . don’t look at me like that.’”

The detectives are quick to note the discomfort in each house. Frank mulls it over with Emma.

“‘They’re all lying about something. That I’m bloody sure of. But are we being too quick to rule out the possibility of somebody we haven’t encountered yet having it in for her and being in the house that afternoon?’”

Oh no! And just when I thought I was narrowing down the suspects! There were some parts that I thought might have been improved, but overall, it was fun. And, no, I didn’t narrow down the suspects correctly, but, in my defence, I will say only that I am in good company.

Thanks to NetGalley and Quercus books for an entertaining mystery!
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Really enjoyed this book, would highly recommend
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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I was very keen to read “Dirty Little Secrets” by Jo Spain as I have never read anything by this author before, despite having heard about some of her work and thought I would take this opportunity to do just that. As someone who enjoys a great thriller, I’m always on the lookout for new authors, to me anyway, in this genre!

This fascinating psychological thriller takes the notion of a country manor house style mystery with a closed setting and therefore few potential perpetrators and moves it to a present-day Irish gated community. I felt, from a nostalgic point of view, that it was reminiscent of a Midsomer Murders scenario.

In the novel, there was no lack of possible motive such as perversion, intrigue or, of course, adultery. Jo Spain has written this novel with chapters alternating between each of the characters who are suspected of being involved in Olive’s passing, and of Olive herself who showed her true colours as the story continued. I absolutely delighted in this dark, conversational insight into living within a gated community. 

This is a fast-paced, well-written book with some very intriguing, though not particularly likeable characters that I would expect to find in a good thriller. I don't think I liked any of the characters at all, apart from the police double act, Frank and Emma and their humorous rapport, but that took nothing away from my enjoyment of reading “Dirty Little Secrets.”

It was easy to read with an absorbing plot that kept my interest throughout, with a fulfilling conclusion that I didn’t predict. It was a thoroughly entertaining novel and well worth reading. I enjoyed “Dirty Little Secrets” so much and I'm hoping to read Jo Spain’s ‘Inspector Tom Reynolds’ series soon. 

For me, this is a highly recommended and well deserved 2019 winner for Jo Spain!

Thanks to NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author, Jo Spain, for my free ARC of Dirty Little Secrets in exchange for an honest review.

[#NetGalley #DirtyLittleSecrets]
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This novel is set in an upmarket housing development and opens with the discovery of the body of Olive a longstanding resident. This is an intriguing novel where everybody including the children are suspects. I loved the elements of who could have done it rather than a traditional whodunnit. I simply couldn't put this book down. Brilliant standalone novel from Jo Spain. #Netgalley #DirtyLittleSecrets
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Brilliant loved the way this book was written didn’t guess the ending I thought I had but nope was really good read this very quickly would highly reccomed good little page turner
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Olive Collins lives out of town in a small house in a place called Withered Vale. One day, the land is sold to developers ; and although she can keep her house, she doesn't own the land, and so she becomes part of a small gated street with massive expensive homes.
Flash forward and Olive is found dead. Her rotting body has been in her home for around three months and none of the neighbours in this small street noticed she was missing.
One by one we follow life through rotating POVs of the neighbours, Olive, and the police detectives in charge of determining if she was murdered or took her own life.
Mostly I found this a really easy read and to begin with I was super curious about what happened to her. As we started moving to the end I found all the "big secrets" of the neighbours a little on the side of caricature and as the realism faded so did my interest in the mystery. I think the author possibly tried to put far too much into this book ; developing so many characters ; and then really rushed the end with a "6 months later" chapter.
All in all, it was a pretty good mystery, mostly a page turner, and I would recommend to people who want something they don't want to think about too much but do enjoy a mystery.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you netgalley for this advanced copy. I really enjoyed this book. It's about a lady called olive who lives in a small gated community who ends up dead and her body is not discovered for 3 months. As the police go around questioning the small community it turns out all the neighbours are hiding secrets of there own, so just who did murder olive. As the two police detectives dig deeper frank and Emma it throws suspicion all around the neighbours. I have to say I really did get gripped by this story and did not see the ending coming at all. Really good read. Would definitely read more by this author.
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I heard great things about this book and I am sorry I tried so hard to get into this story but no I just thought it was very bland and just did not hold my interest at all but I stuck with it to the end, which i have to say i had figured out after the first few chapters......
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A different read for me as I am not too keen on books where the chapters are written by different characters, However, I thoroughly enjoyed it and so fitting for the book, and the characters. A great plot line with a fabulous twist. Not going to give too much away, but a definite must read.
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The mystery of Olive Collins death is the basis of this novel, she lived in a closed neighbourhood of 7 houses with 6 neighbours who all have secrets and reasons they may want her dead. I would describe this book as a mystery even though it's the motives of the neighbours that fill the story rather than the mystery of actually what happened to Olive. Each of the neighbours has a story to tell, whether it's something in their past they want to stay hidden or current indiscretions they would rather kept quiet. The book is well structured with each neighbour getting air time to tell their side of the story and Olive the voice from beyond the grave telling her side. Two pretty bland detectives investigating the death, pull the secrets from the unwilling to discover they are all guilty of having a motive.
I did enjoy this book, anyone who calls their child wolf makes for good fodder! It was very readable and the stories were mostly believable and worthy of hiding however, the ending did prove the only point of the story was to hear the secrets and not the death of Olive, a little disappointing.
Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus books for the ARC.
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