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The Darkest Secret

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  7,658 ratings  ·  997 reviews

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 ar

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published January 7th 2016 by Sphere
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,658 ratings  ·  997 reviews

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Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
It's hard to imagine a more narcissistic group of characters than the ones in 'The Darkest Secret'. Selfish and arrogant, they're creatures of excess in the worst possible way. You won't like them, but they DO make for a compelling read. Central to the story is a missing child - 3 year old Coco, who goes missing on the weekend of her father Sean's 50th birthday party. The events take place over two weekends twelve years apart. The second weekend being Sean's funeral. The author slowly reveals th ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the first book by Alex Marwood that I have read. After reading the book blurb I thought it would be one I would really enjoy.

***Possibly some minor spoilers***

The book starts off with an email regarding three year old Coco's disappearance. Her godmother sent it out to spread the word about missing little Coco. After that there are witness accounts about Coco and and what different people saw that weekend.

Coco disappeared during her father's 50th Birthday celebration weekend. It was pres
Liz Barnsley
Blimey talk about a book that rips your heart out then stomps all over it, The Darkest Secret is an intense and engaging character drama focusing on a, to be honest, quite horrible set of people – a fractured family and their fractured friends, a more selfish and self absorbed bunch you’d be hard pressed to find, they are intricately fascinating from the offset. It’s hard to look away, like watching a car crash, as you turn the pages waiting waiting to find out the truth behind the disappearance ...more
Paul Nelson
The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood starts off with witness statements about a young girl missing, presumed kidnapped. We then go to the events surrounding the girl’s disappearance and the Fathers 50th birthday weekend celebration. The past timeline is interspersed with the present where the Father of the missing girl dies in mysterious circumstances handcuffed to a hotel bed and the majority of the cast prepares for the funeral. The death is not expanded on and he turns out to be a soulless man ...more
Nov 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I found the plot intriguing, but didn’t really manage to get into this story. I loved the very beginning with the witness statements, but then I felt the story got a little confusing, taking more concentration than normal to keep track of the characters and what was going on.

There are a number of characters for readers to enjoy disliking. If you like books full of unpleasant characters, then this may be the book for you.

The second half of the book held my interest much more, as certain aspects o
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars

If you love the way psychological crime novels are filled to the brim with awful people these days, this book is most definitely for you. The characters in The Darkest Secret make Nick and Amy (Gone Girl) look well-adjusted. This is the one things Marwood does exceedingly well, the people seeth with selfishness, bitterness, deceit, and immorality. You loathe them right from the beginning, and boy are you justified.

The story itself is good enough, it seemed to me to be more of a foil for

The Darkest Secret.

Yep, and there are loads of dark secrets in between these pages for sure.

Book 3 in the series but can be read as a stand alone I feel personally.

A child that has gone missing.
But it’s not straight forward.

I’m not sure I liked or connected with any characters in this. They were evil.

But boy oh boy, it made me turn pages so fast my eyeballs couldn’t keep up!

So, at the beginning I struggled. I had to keep going back over some of what I’d just read. First I thought it was me, get
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having really enjoyed this authors previous books, I was very excited about reading their latest offering and it really lived up to my expectations. “The Darkest Secret” is based around the events of a tragic weekend in 2004 and the aftermath, twelve years afterwards.

Sean Jackson is a man who likes success, beautiful women and getting his own way. On a Bank Holiday weekend in 2004, he is intending to celebrate his fiftieth birthday with his closest friends and family. Accompanying him to the hol
 Li'l Owl
Wow! Fantastic! Exceptional! Terrific!.. I could go on and on!
One of THE BEST audio books I've ever heard! I loved Alex Marwood's audio edition of The Killer Next Door narrated by Imogen Church .
Well, she has done it again! This time, her creative, wonderfully twisted plot is combined with the incredibly talented storytelling of narrator Beverley A Crick. The result is a terrific, one of a kind listening experience that's not to be missed. Need a distraction? This should do it! It's
Angela Marsons
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So, I was lucky enough to get an early copy of The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood and I devoured every single page. I was only going to take a peek and then get some work done. Well, the work never got done. It is a taut story with expertly drawn characters that you get to know very quickly. The pace carries you along at speed until you are left gasping for breath at the end. And I mean THE VERY END. Do not miss the last few pages. I highly recommend this book (which I had on pre-order anyway) a ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Firstly I have to say that this story starts off rather slowly, but picks up half way through. The book revolves around two weekends, 12 years apart. As a thee year old Coco , one of a set of twins goes missing from her families holiday home. The characters in this story are truly awful, self indulgent, ego driven, narcissistic , materialistic and delusional. This was quite hard to read at times as you start to see what lengths people will go to to satisfy their own enjoyment and entertainment w ...more
Lala BooksandLala
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
Slow, suspenseful and disturbing, albeit predictable. Just shy of 4 stars.
Joseph - Relax And Read Reviews
Reading the blurb of this book, I was immediately intrigued, and not having read any of the author's other books, I decided to give it a go.

I liked the unusual way in which the author has laid out the initial part of the book. We start off with an email written by Maria appealing for help in finding Coco, a little girl that has gone missing from a holiday home in Bournemouth. We also have some witness statements taken by the police during the ensuing investigation. This part sucks the reader str
Leslie D.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*4.25 stars*

While I cannot in good conscience reveal the secrets within this novel (no spoilers!), I will shed some more light on this book when I have the time! ;)

Narration Notation:
The audiobook version I listened to via Audible was narrated by Beverley A. Crick, & she did a smashing job! I just saw in the info above my review states that Imogen Church was the narrator (whom I do adore!), but I triple checked & my AB still says "Narrated by Beverley A. Crick" every audiobook cover al
Joanne Robertson
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
As soon as I heard Alex Marwood had a new book out I pre-ordered it from Amazon. Having a chance to read it early with a review copy was a fantastic opportunity for me as I am an incredibly impatient reader when it comes to books by my favourite authors. In fact, I normally read my books in order of publication (it does border on ocd to be fair!) but I made a huge exception for The Darkest Secret as I physically couldn't wait!
I don't want to go into the plot of this book too much as I think peop
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars out of 5 for this story which is set over two weekends set 12 years apart. In 2004 three year old Coco Jackson went missing during a long weekend get together with family and friends to celebrate her father Sean’s 50th birthday and has never been found. Nobody knows what happened to her. Twelve years later Sean is dead and the same group of people are gathering for his funeral.

This is a book with characters so unlikeable they make those in Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train seem posit
Sep 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
What a waste of time! Boring and confusing with all this back and forth revealing of the storyline! The characters, ten, twelve all of them stupid irresponsible insane adults! And a messed up crazy teenager among other messed up children! Too many weirdos in the neighborhood!
Bill Kupersmith
One of the very best ways to exit this mortal coil is by way of a traditional Church of England funeral with all the right hymns, such as ‘He Who Would Valiant Be’ & ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’. I teared up for Simon’s funeral in Penny Vincenzi’s An Absolute Scandal & Fiona’s in Susan Hill’s The Various Haunts of Men. But what’s a good pick for a ritual marking the departure of a total sleaze with most of the mourners weeping enough crocodile tears to flood the banks of the Nile? (At least the dec ...more
Roger Brunyate
A Truly Horrible Book

If you like Hermann Koch, his Summer House With Swimming Pool as well as The Dinner, you might possibly be able to stomach this way-overlong wallow in the immorality of the super-rich. But be warned, that sure instinct for pacing that fueled Alex Marwood's debut mystery, The Wicked Girls, is almost entirely absent here. It's barely even a mystery. And without the excitement of the chase to keep you going, there's not much point.

It begins as a mystery, though, with a numb
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-thrillers
The Darkest Secret – Another Winner

Alex Marwood returns to brilliant form with this gripping psychological thriller that leaves you gasping for breath to the very last sentence. This is a character led thriller where some of the characters, as in life, just leave you cold, and come across as looking out for themselves, while another is looking out for her sister, trying to protect her from this group of parasites around their father.

At times this is an incredible moving thriller where you can sy
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
I don't know where to start with this review. First off, I read this book in about four sittings over two days, which in itself is a good sign. I just feel a little unsure about it though.

It took me a while to get into the authors style of writing, as well as the chronology as it switched between characters and years which was confusing to me for the first quarter of the book.

The characters in The Darkest Secret are some of the most hate-inducing people I've read about in a while. Egotistical, n
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even though I had pre-ordered this book (after all it is an eagerly anticipated Alex Marwood book, and I had done much anticipating!), I was lucky enough to be provided an advanced copy from the publisher. So my thanks go to all concerned for that.

We know from the blurb that little 3 year old Coco goes missing during her father, Sean's, 50th birthday party celebration weekend away. And that the story is told in two narratives, one during that tragic weekend and one during the funeral weekend of
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by a couple of my Goodread friends who had enjoyed reading this novel and thought it would appeal to me as well. How right they were.
A psychological thriller that grew on me the more I read and kept me eager to know more. If I am honest I was not hooked from the start but I found that it just got better and better and by the end of it wanted to read more from this author.

In 2004 Coco Jackson aged three disappears from the bed she shares with her twin sister, Ruby, while
Tracy Fenton
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
wow. This book ticked all the boxes for me personally. A group of extremely unlikeable characters, a mystery regarding 3 year old twin Coco disappearance unravels over a 15 year period told from the very unreliable narrators of this story. A realistic depiction of divorce, step parents and truly dysfunction families but with an underlying sadness. Fabulous book. Highly recommend it.
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
My View:
For me the scene setting and character development took just a little too long. However it did set the scene extraordinarily well – a life of pretentious self-absorption, a “look at me” “look at me” generation (and I am not talking gen Y!) full of unlikeable characters and over the top behaviours. There was not a lot to like here and a lot to loathe.

Suddenly all that changed! I was engrossed in the narrative – the cold and calculating behaviours, the self-absorption, the lies and the tu
Ann-Marie "Cookie M."
I had the perfect idea for a review of this story of a group of self absorbed, wealthy British people, who are so busy drinking, having sex with each other's spouses and trying to pretend they are still young that one of their children, a three year old disappears in the night without anyone seeming to notice.

I say I *had* the perfect idea.

Then I read the last couple of pages.

Touche', Alex Marwood. I never saw it coming.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow, I REALLY liked this. This was the book that Liane Moriarty tried to write with Truly, Madly, Guilty, but about two thousand times better. This is more of a thriller than a mystery - if you are paying attention as you read, you will figure out what happened - so it's the characters that make the book. All of them were truly awful. I thoroughly enjoyed them.

The Darkest Secret takes place ten years ago on a very British holiday, where Sean Jackson is celebrating his 50th birthday, and in the p
Rachel Hall
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Psychological thrillers have the power to wreak havoc with readers emotions, offering the opportunity to see a characters life descend into free fall and leave devastation in their wake and readers agonising. Some, however, simply entertain and lack the depth which is required to make a significant impression and The Darkest Secret is very much in this later camp, and aimed at the chick-lit end of the psychological thriller market. Having said that, it is passably entertaining and if you can eng ...more
Fay Roberts
In 2004 three year old Coco Jackson disappears from the bed she is sharing with her twin sister, Ruby, during her millionaire father's 50th birthday party. In 2015 Sean Jackson dies and his daughter from his first marriage, Mila, is charged with taking her half-sister Ruby, who she hasn't seen since 2004, to his funeral.

Switching between the two eras The Darkest Secret examines the mystery of Coco's disappearance and the fall out for her sister and half sisters. Billed as a thriller I would prob
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I am very torn about the rating of this book. On the one had, I zipped through it, so it's obviously very engaging and readable. On the other hand, having read a few others afterwards, the details are already growing fuzzy, telling me that this book was, unfortunately, not terribly memorable. I think this has largely to do with the cast of almost exclusively unlikable characters, or at the very least one's I couldn't connect with very well. Milly and Ruby are okay, but the others are all rather ...more
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Alex Marwood is a former journalist who worked extensively across the British press. Her first novel, The Wicked Girls, achieved widespread acclaim and international bestsellerdom. It was shortlisted for ITW, Anthony and Macavity awards, was included in Stephen King's Ten Best Books of the Year list, and won the prestigious Edgar Award. The Killer Next Door, her second novel, won the coveted Macav ...more

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