Monday, November 17, 2014

'Secrets and Lies' by Janet Sketchley

A single mother must protect her teenage son-from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing's certain. She can't risk prayer."


Immediately, Carol struck me as a woman on edge, jumpy and suspicious not by personality but because of circumstances. Not only is convicted serial murderer and rapist Harry Silver her brother, but she lost her husband, and also a 12-year-old son due to drug overdose. All she feels she has left is Paul, her 16-year-old remaining son, who she will do anything to protect. Joey, the DJ, recognises Carol as a survivor without even knowing the full picture at the start. She has fled across the country to start fresh in a new province where nobody will connect her with her brother, but discovers that an angry drug lord, who seems to feel he has unfinished business with Harry, has chosen to target her and Paul as victims of his threats.

I was interested to see how Carol and Paul were going to fare as I soon as I found out about this book. Having Harry Silver as a brother and uncle is a huge challenge on its own. This mother and son were always going to have to deal with the challenge of having something to hide, even though they were innocent, for revealing close blood ties to a man like Harry would never win them friends. How do you live when your whole life is forced to be a cover-up? How do you approach possible friends, not to mention potential dates, when you have something (or rather, someone) so sinister to hide?

As with the prequel to this novel, Janet Sketchley has evoked a chilling, edge-of-your-seat atmosphere. Through Carol, we learn that even when we are on constant vigilance, never relaxing, determined to trust nobody, threats may still find their way through the cracks because of their innocent appearances. Other themes in this book include the nature of legitimate faith, the danger of using drugs, and who your real friends are. All through, I was hoping for relief and trust for Carol, and a satisfying life for Paul, who was a down-to-earth young man who sometimes perceived things his mother couldn't. And there's always the question of how Carol will ever choose to let down her guard, trust God and pray, after all that she feels life has delivered her.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy to review.

4 stars


  1. Paula, thank you for the review. "How do you live when your whole life is forced to be a cover-up?" Indeed. Writing Carol's story made me thankful for my own :)

    1. I really felt for her the whole way through. Thanks again, Janet, for another fascinating read.