Deadly Secrets Review
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On a cold September day in Montreal, Roxanne St-Clair attends the funeral of George Lafrance, the man who took her in and provided her a safe home. Ten years ago, George gave Roxanne a better chance at life. Now, he lies dead in a coffin, the victim of a massive heart attack. But then it’s discovered that he had ingested a deadly amount of peanuts—though he was severely allergic. It appears that someone murdered him. But why?

As Roxanne puzzles over her foster father’s death, she learns that George had a grandson that no one knew about. Philippe Lafrance apparently didn’t know that he had a grandfather, either. After his father died, when he was five years old, Philippe’s mother packed up and left, breaking all ties with her husband’s family. She also packed up deep secrets that were meant to stay buried.

  
 
As Roxanne and Philippe investigate George’s murder, it leads them to a small town where Philippe’s father was once the mayor. When they learn that he died of an allergic reaction to peanuts, it becomes too much of a coincidence. Could his father have been murdered, too? And, if so, why? When they come too close to the truth, someone plans to shut Roxanne and Philippe up for good—and the killer is closer than they think.

Though Deadly Secrets is an intriguing suspense novel, the writing is rather weak. The characters (especially Philippe) spend a lot of time forking their fingers through their hair, which becomes a major distraction—and it pulled me out of the story more than once. At times, the writing also feels lazy, and the repetition of the same words becomes yet another distraction.

The plot, however, is well developed, with enough suspects thrown into the mix to keep readers guessing. The romance between Roxanne and Philippe is sweet, but not to the point of mushiness—which is a major plus for me. Both are also likable characters, with believable personal hang-ups that keep them from getting too close to each other in the beginning. On the other hand, though, some of the spats that they get into seem childish and totally unnecessary, making the hero and heroine come off sounding immature.

All in all, though, with its interesting plot and its jumbled mystery, Deadly Secrets is a pretty good read. But if you get easily irritated by weak writing, I wouldn’t recommend picking this book up. Instead, you might be better off waiting for Ms. Burke’s next book. By then, her writing skills might be improved. If not, you’ll still get an absorbing romantic mystery, so it wouldn’t be a total loss.


Ed. Note: Proceeds from Deadly Secrets will be donated to the American Breast Cancer Foundation.

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