Sunday, September 13, 2009
" The Dirty Secrets Club", by Meg Gardiner
Book 1 in the Jo Beckett series
This suspense-murder-detective story focuses on Jo Beckett, a forensic psychiatrist who profiles the dead to determine the events and cause of their demise. Lt Amy Tang completes the team, a feisty and hard nosed but likable Asian cop.
The story starts off slow but soon you will find yourself plunged into the mystery when Callie Harding, a bigwig prosecutor smashes her car into a bridge. The mystery deepens when messages are discovered scrawled on her body.
Jo and Amy are called to investigate and discover that Harding was a member of an illusive club "The Dirty Secrets Group". This group invites members to join by confessing and proving their darkest and most shameful secrets, pushing their members to commit dares to thrill others. At one point something goes terribly wrong and one by one the members are targeted and die under mysterious circumstances. Jo and Amy are in a rush against time to avoid more deaths.
We have likable characters with the right mix of toughness and vulnerability. The subject of psychological forensic is definitely a unique job to have given to her protagonist. I particularly loved Gabe Quintana, Jo's closest friend, a definite asset to the cast. The writing is simplistic but has lively dialogue. On the down side, the plot is weak, it has quite a few old clichés, and its pace is slow with few twists and turns. I found the chase scenes far fetched for the type of story depicted.
Although I may not categorized this novel as a page turner I found it a pleasant read and would recommend it.