by Natalie D. Richards
To be published on October 6, 2015
by Sourcebooks Fire
Source: eARC from the publisher for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: Emmie's had a crush on her best friend's brother forever. Deacon is the town bad boy who's always in trouble, but she sees his soft side when he volunteers with her at the local animal shelter. She doesn't think he's dangerous…until he shows up in her bedroom with blood on his hands. Deacon's father has been violently assaulted and Deacon is suspect number one. Emmie's smart enough to know how this looks, but she also knows Deacon's biggest secret—he's paralyzed by the sight of blood. She's sure he didn't do this. Or did he? Because even Deacon's own sister thinks he's guilty…
My take: I love mysteries and thrillers, and have been a fan of Natalie Richards since her first YA thriller, Six Months Later. Overall, I was very impressed with My Secret to Tell. Mysteries are really difficult to write -- you have to execute all the other aspects of writing a novel, and then layer in all the clues and misdirection.
As a mystery, I thought My Secret to Tell was really well done. Yes, I did guess the culprit (the "who") but I enjoyed watching all the puzzle pieces fall into place as to the "why" and the "how." And the setting and overall feel of My Secret to Tell reminded me of one of my favorite Netflix series, Bloodlines. Yes, Bloodlines is set in the Florida Keys, not North Carolina, like My Secret to Tell, but both have a great, atmospheric Southern Coastal feel and involve a lot of interesting family drama.
The one part of My Secret to Tell that I wasn't completely satisfied with was the romance. The book sets up a "good girl/bad boy" dynamic that felt a bit forced to me at times. I think the book tried too hard to convince me that Emmie was helping Deacon because, given her volunteer work at the animal shelter, she has some sort of rescue obsession. To me, that gave an odd dynamic to their relationship. The two of them are also separated for much of the book, which didn't give their relationship time and space to grow organically. At times I wished they had gone on the run together, because that would have given them a chance to break out of their roles of rescuer and hard luck case.
But all in all, I thought My Secret to Tell was a well-crafted mystery with a fantastic setting. If you're a fan of thrillers, I hope you give it a try!