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A Secret Rage

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  4,116 ratings  ·  314 reviews
Former New York City model Nickie Callahan is looking forward to the easy life when she moves to the sleepy college town of Knolls, Tennessee. But the women of Knolls are not safe. And as Nickie gets swept up in a string of brutally violent crimes, she must take matters of justice into her own hands.
Mass Market Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 12th 1985 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1984)
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3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,116 ratings  ·  314 reviews

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Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Charlaine Harris is the author of the hugely popular Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood series. (Trust me, the books are better than the show!)

Before she was writing about psychics, werewolves, and vampires, though, she wrote “straight” mysteries, like the Aurora Teagarden series (called “cozies with teeth”) and the Lilly Bard series. But before even those…

Harris is a writer – and a rape survivor. How does a writer deal with major trauma? She writes about it. A Se
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
5 stars. I love charlaine Harris my favorite female author. This novel was so good I loved all the characters and I didn’t figure out who did the crime until she revealed it.
Kevin Beck
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
An okay read though very dated. The actions in the story were probably normal for when the book was published (1984) but wouldn't be acceptable now. The process that the two victims of the rapist used to reduce the suspect pool didn't make sense at all. The climax of the story; the identification of the bad guy was rushed and the method used to subdue him was almost comical.
Kathy Davie
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
Disclaimer: There is nothing of a supernatural tone in A Secret Rage

The Story
A suspenseful tale of rape and anger. Old, young, embarrassed, misunderstood angers. A series of brutal rapes are committed against a number of women from older teen to thirtyish. Students, professors, and administrators. All associated with the college established by Mimi Houghton's family.

Poor Nickie Callahan has peaked in her modeling career and after one phone call with Mimi, she has chosen to go back to college. Go
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
You can certainly tell it was written in the 80's, but the story is appropriately horrifying... as it should be. You'll be mad as hell at many of the characters after reading it for several justifiable reasons, including but not limited to: Abundant Racism, sexism, and general ignorance. It'll definitely keep you guessing until the end.

Very difficult to read in some parts for hopefully obvious reasons. For potential reader's information: This entire book is one giant trigger warning.

It's a dat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I really enjoyed this book, one of Charlaine Harris' earlier works (originally published in 1984 - pre-Sookie, I believe). It was a quick read (or "listen", in my case) - it felt almost like a short story, though there was decent character development for a full-length book.

I liked how Harris had the characters work together to narrow down the list of subjects; it helped heighten the sense of suspense. And in the end I was surprised at the identity of the attacker, so Harris did a good job maint
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
This had .the makings of a better book. While I found the basic plot okay, I felt like the story was barely fleshed out: too long for a short story, not long enough for a novel. Ms Harris keeps things moving along so this is a light read: I felt like I'd had a light snack and realized I craved a heartier meal.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great writing and well-constructed suspenseful murder mystery by Charlaine Harris. In the small college town of Knolls, Tennesse, with all its southern manners and prejudices, a rapist has gone on the ramage. Instead of a frighteningly gory slasher story, A Secret Rage explores how rape changes a woman's feelings about herself and her position in her community. There is still building tension and horrible violence in the story but the details are described without sensationalism. The secret rage ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, and have enjoyed the Harper Connelly mysteries as well, so I had high hopes for this little novel. "A Secret Rage" didn't quite live up to my expectations, yet was not all bad. Starting off slow, and building to a violent climax, this story is an easy read, with enough bumps in the road to keep the reader interested. Harris is an expert at writing a fight scene, as any reader of the Sookie books knows, and that talent does not go to wa ...more
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own, 2009
I was warned about this book. It's really nothing like Harris' current writing style, but I also have to remember this was one of her firsts written in 84. So it's your typical run of the mill mystery, not to my favor. I will have to say that for the time she touched on a very taboo topic, she also let us in on how rape-- violent rape to boot-- affetcts not only the person but everyone incvolved. That insight was ahead of the times. If you're a Harris fan and can borrow the book, it's worth the ...more
MB (What she read)
Contrary to it's cover art, I wouldn't call this a 'cozy' mystery. The plot elements include some pretty difficult to read descriptions of rape and racism, (view spoiler) and a high body count. It's quite good, but I wanted to include this warning for those readers easily triggered. Be warned.

All characterizations could have been deepened. Definitely villain's motivations would have improved with more development.
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I found this book, aside from being a compelling mystery, to be a horrifying insight into rape. Despite this, the satisfying ending, that does not often happen in reality, mitigated the misery of the story itself. It did address a lot of the misconceptions about rape and the after effects both individual and societal. I feel it's imporatant that people recognize and understand these problems.
Cathy DuPont
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Never a disappointment, Charlaine Harris comes through again. This stand alone was a quick, easy read on a serious subject, rape. My favorite local bookseller said she thinks Harris doesn't get enough credit for her work, and I agree. I think she's great and have enjoyed her entire series except Snookie Stackhouse. Just not into the vampires.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A much different mystery than the usual ones by Charlaine Harris. And the weird thing is: I knew whodunnit. I couldn't tell you why but for once I got it. And about halfway through the book. I'm surprised it wasn't a red herring I fell for because I trip over them every single damn time.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I'm not certain that I have not read this book before, I really enjoyed it. It just seemed really familiar.
This is an early Charlaine Harris book, written before Sookie, Harper or Midnight, Texas. There is nothing supernatural or romantic about the story. While the book is over 30 years old, it still sounds fairly current and avoids sounding too dated as many contemporary fictions written pre-Internet and pre-mobile phones do.

The book deals with rape. And while some of the details about the plot made no sense like the subtext about a child dying of cancer in a hospital in a distant city that the par
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nickie Callahan is getting old for her modeling career in New York and her agent is letting her go. After talking with her best friend from her youth, Mimi, she decides to return home to Knolls, Tennessee and go back to college, possibly write a book. She thinks it will be a nice and cozy return to her old hometown that is until she finds out from Mimi that a student from the college was raped. Not only do friend's of hers and Mimi's get attacked, but Nickie is also assaulted. With help from an ...more
This mystery in which the perpetrator of the murder is also guilty of a number of sexual assaults has characters who express some very problematic ideas about sexual assault in general. Even a generally skillful writer, as I believe Charlaine Harris is, must tread carefully around these issues, and this stand-alone mystery left something of a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps I was a bit biased because I'm a Northerner and the Southern-born-and-raised character refers to her New Yorker neighbors as ...more
Pat K
I have been a fan of Charlaine Harris books for years and have read most of her series and loved them.
After reading some of the 1 and 2 star reviews of this book , I wasn't sure about starting, but I'm glad I did. I don't think I've ever read a book before that gives so little of the grisly details of the crimes and so much of the emotional and psychological damage done to women in sexual crimes. I liked the main character and had great compassion for her. The writing is excellent and Harris bri
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
While waiting to get into the movie theater yesterday, I browsed the bookstore at the Buena Park mall, which has used cheap books and found a new-to-me title. My first book of 2019 is a winner.

One of Charlaine Harris' first mysteries and a precursor of the great books she'll begin writing. Harris has a way of creating a setting...she makes you love the southern town but still shows the dark side underneath. And her characters are well-drawn. This standalone doesn't tie everything up nicely, whic
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book by this author that I read was Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden series) and I loved it! So I jumped right into this one next and I didn't like it nearly as much. It was a good book but I wish I had read these two in the opposite order. It wasn't as much as a mystery as the other book. But I did appreciate that this author doesn't feel the need to use a lot of bad words or inappropriate descriptions; even when describing bad situations, she doesn't get too detailed. It's good as a bo ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit melodramatic....albeit very engaging. You need to reach the "who dunnit" conclusion, but know it won't quite fit -- like forcing a slightly oval edged circle into that round hole. "It was at that moment..." that I realized this was an ok read but certainly not one of Harris's best. Tiny pieces of description sprinkled into a moment puzzled me as to their significance, or possible future significance; often they achieved none and were mere distraction. Good. Not great.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-modern
c1985 (14). I can see clear signs of the author-that-is-to-be in this book. The heroine is very self absorbed, there is a romantic element and the gals are taking the bud guys on. It was an ok read but I can see why this didn't quite make her name when it was first published. An interesting book to read to see the growth in the author's style so therefore recommended to the Ms Harris' fans in the normal crew.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book had the potential to be good. It provided a means through which to discuss the subject of rape and its effects on victims. And then the victim immediately jumped into a happy sexual relationship within days of the rape occurring, with a new partner, and it devolved into some warped murder mystery full of racism. It was a disappointment to say the least.
Sarah Austin
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This one was a reread for me. I read it in the 90s or maybe the early 2000? Anyway the book is now 30 years old or so but some of the ideas about rape and unfortunately racism have not changed. I like that she didn't put a bow on it at the end of the book. No HEA just a woman moving on after something horrific. Still a good read.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
As others have already pointed out this book is very dated (in multiple ways). The characters are not very fleshed out and the story is too short for a novel and too long for a short story. I have really enjoyed two of the author's series, but I wouldn't recommend this one.
Teri Griffis
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did not realize that Charlaine Harris had written this series......only three books i believe, which is sad because it is a great story line. I loved the Southern charm and grit of Mimi and Nikki. Wish there were many more 📚 to go.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I have always enjoyed Charlaine Harris. Every one is a suspect and I kept changing my mind on who I just knew had committed the crime so to speak. But alas, I was wrong. :)
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Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over thirty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Charlaine lives in Texas now, and all of her children and grandchildren are within easy driving distance.

Though her early output consisted largely of ghost stories, by the time she hit college (Rhodes, in Memphis) Charlaine was writing poetry an
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