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The Secrets She Keeps    by Michael Robotham order for
Secrets She Keeps
by Michael Robotham
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I'm a long-time fan of Michael Robotham's mysteries, starring several leads who appear in each other's stories (my favorite being Professor Joe O'Loughlin who appeared in Bleed For Me). Lately he seems to be branching out, trying new formats as in Life or Death, a thriller with resonances of The Shawshank Redemption.

The Secrets She Keeps is something different yet again. This psychological mystery is the story of a woman, Agatha, obsessed with her own pregnancy and with another pregnant woman who appears to have it all - Meg, married to Jack, 'the perfect parents of two perfect children', Lucy and Lachlan. Jack is an ambitious cable channel sports reporter while Meg writes a popular blog, Mucky Kids. And of course we know that no life is perfect, despite outward appearances. The cracks in Jack and Meg's relationship are gradually revealed.

Agatha, who works part-time as an invisible supermarket shelf-stocker, secretly stalks Meg and knows everything about her life and routine. We get to know both lives, as Agatha and Meg take turns telling the story, and wonder where this is all headed, especially after Meg and Agatha meet and seed a friendship. Both of them have secrets in their pasts, that haunt them.

The story becomes increasingly darker and the tension ramps up fast as the two pregnancies near their conclusions, resulting in Ben and Rory. Sad psychologist Cyrus Haven is consulted and offers sage advice. There's a murder and the potential of more violence in a dramatic crescendo of an ending. Though this was not my favorite of Robotham's work, it addresses a tough topic and he always delivers a well-developed, thoroughly engrossing, story.

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