The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood – 4*s

The Darkest Secret


Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed…


I enjoyed this book, but did struggle at the beginning as characters are introduced and I needed to get to grips with who was who. Essentially as virtually every character is dislikeable, this made it harder, but it is worth persevering.

The book opens in 2004 with a gathering of friends for Sean’s 50th birthday weekend in a holiday home in Bournmouth. As friends they leave a lot to be desired and I suspect they are only together as no-one else would want to be with them. They are greed, arrogance and self satisfaction personified. Sean is already on his second wife and his first in a fit of pique has sent his teenage daughters to stay with him. His current wife and mother to his 3 year old twins, Coco and Ruby leaves the weekend early as it is clear Sean is already sniffing around, if not already having an affair with one of his guests. To hamper his weekend she leaves the twins behind – a decision she will live to regret as Coco mysteriously disappears.

The book alternates between 2004 and the present day when everyone is arriving for Sean’s funeral, following his unexpected death. Sean’s current and 4th wife had been a teenage guest in 2004, and is now playing host to the others present at the fateful weekend in Bournmouth.

As the story alternates between the unfolding events of 2004 and the present day, we gradually discover what happened in Bournmouth.

No spoilers, so no hints or clues as to how things are played out. The need to discover what happened will keep you reading, there are red herrings and side dramas to distract you, and even when you think you know what happened, there’s a twist.

An enjoyable mystery, guaranteed to keep you reading, providing you overcome your dislike of the characters.

I received a review copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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