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Best Kept Secrets

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Best friends tell each other everything.

Even their deepest, darkest secrets--pinky promise.


Morgan Jewell and Fay Ramsey are enjoying their last summer together before college. Fay is shy, with a controlling mother, and Morgan is the perfect, wild, loud-mouthed yang to Fay's ying. But when Fay is found dead, Morgan's entire world crumbles.

Years later, Morgan is still haunted by the abrupt end to her best friend's life. She knew Fay held a secret in those final days, but Morgan, now a homicide detective, has failed to make a picture out of the crooked puzzle pieces she left behind. Nothing makes sense. The leads have run dry. Until she's called to the scene of a murder: a woman whose body is left mangled, too similar to Fay's to ignore.

Could it be? Morgan vowed to do right by Fay. This is the case she's been waiting for to set her back on the killer's trail. But the closer she gets, the harder it forces her to confront the memories of herself and her best friend. What was her secret? What got her killed? Maybe Morgan didn't know her at all.


First published October 8, 2019

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About the author

Tracey S. Phillips

1 book31 followers
Tracey S. Phillips' manuscript, Fractured Girl, won a Hugh Holton award in 2018. The unagented debut, BEST KEPT SECRETS was released in 2019, published by Crooked Lane Books. 

"The fact that we get to see a psychopathic mindset in a more intimate way, as well as identify with a protagonist who is authentic more than she is polished, adds an appealing humanity to this chilling thriller." -Five star Amazon review.

Tracey also writes romantic thriller under the pen-name, Karissa Knight. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two small dogs. 

Follow me on Bookbub for news about Morgan Jewell's next case! https://www.bookbub.com/profile/trace...

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5 stars
58 (29%)
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54 (27%)
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63 (32%)
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19 (9%)
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2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Sandy.
193 reviews29 followers
September 9, 2019
Thank you @Netgalley for this ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Detective Morgan Jewell is investigating the death of Hallie Marks. Beaten to death in the face with a hammer; hands smashed to pieces prior to death. Strange thing is Morgan doesn't think this is the first kill for the killer. This all ties back to Fay Ramset. Her high school best friend & should be college roomie; but right before move-in day Fay went missing. Some thought she ran away, Fay's mother blamed Morgan.
A few weeks later Fay was found dead by the river, face smashed beyond recognition. This event changed Morgan's life forever. It sparked her to become the detective she is today; in hopes to one day find Fay's killer and bring them to justice.
As Morgan investigates Hallie's death she tried to connect the killer to at least 5 other cases she's come across over the last decade. Hallie seems to be quiet the town harlot, and was recently engaged to a man. However, no one can find this find mystery man. Either he doesn't exist or he's using a false name. Between him and Caryn, you'll be reading more about her, you definitely get a creepy vibe.
Tracey Phillips had me on the edge wondering is Morgan can solve Hallie's murder, as well as finally figure out what happened to Fay.
The ending on this had me spinning, can't say I saw that one coming.
I love Morgan's detective style and hope to read more about her investigations in the future!
Profile Image for Kim.
697 reviews27 followers
May 22, 2020
I’ve been wanting to read something with more grit and more of a police procedural after all the cozies I’ve been devouring lately, and Best Kept Secrets by Tracey S. Phillips hit the spot!

Morgan and her partner, Donnie, were the perfect compliment as far as partners go. Morgan is driven, fast to anger, and gets by on little sleep. While Donnie is calmer and has realized how important family is to one’s health and sanity. The way that Phillips switched between the past and present worked very well. There was no confusion and the way it jumped back and forth enhanced the story by giving you just enough of the past to make you think you know what is happening in the present.

While the reveal wasn’t shocking since Phillips guided us with interesting and disturbing bits of information about the characters, I still enjoyed it, since I find myself enjoying books with this type of killer. And I had to reread the last sentence three times to make sure I understood it. That was the last shock that made this book stand out and one that I will recommend, especially because of that tiny bit.

I am looking forward to more if this book turns into a series. I would be interested to see if Morgan does decide to try to become a Marshall and to see what other secrets Phillips reveals to us.

If you enjoy Best Kept Secrets, I also highly recommend the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain. The first book is Heartsick.
Profile Image for Aleana Harris.
512 reviews8 followers
June 18, 2019
I received an ARC copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley and voluntarily leaving my review.

Ok this was a good mystery.

Morgan and Fay are best friends when Fay is found murder Morgan had a breakdown and she became obsess with finding Fay killer so she became a cop.

When a murder woman name Hallie is found by her girlfriend Rebecca Morgan sees similar of the crime matching Fay. When her partner Donnie tries to get her to see reason that not every crime is connect to Fay. Then we find another victim Susanne who went missing years ago with the same injuries.

You'll have to read it your self to found out if the killer is same one that killed Fay.

This book go from the present to past it focus more of point of view of Morgan as she tries to found out what happen to Fay and you can get the sense that she loved Fay more then a friend. Then we jump to this woman name Caryn as we get inside her head in the present right along with the past as we learn about her childhood and her relationship with her brother Ekhard.

Morgan is in a on again off again relationship with a guy name Rob. I like Morgan even though she was a bit inpatient when it came to things she had great relationship with her family and her partner family I wouldn't mind reading more about her.
321 reviews4 followers
August 6, 2019
WOW!! This is a page turner that will not disappoint.
Fay and Morgan were best of friends growing up. They were always together, even planning on going off to college together. Until the night Fay disappeared. After weeks of searching, Fay was found murdered. Years later Morgan grows up to become a detective, her life mission is to find Fay's killer.
When a dead body is discovered, beaten in the same way as Fay, Morgan is convinced it is the same killer. Working around the clock Morgan fights to learn who is really killing these woman and what the motive could be.
This psychological thriller will keep you guessing with all the twists and turns right up until the last sentence. Great characters and plot make this an awesome read.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Kathleen Graves.
16 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2019
Enjoyable read! It was exciting right from the start and the pacing kept my attention. Some of the musings of the main character were slightly repetitive but not in a way that was too distracting. I liked how the background of the various cases unfolded over time and how the ties between the two narrated characters were unveiled slowly - it made the solving of the cases feel really immersive. I also appreciated that there were LGBT characters and themes that were written in a way that was seamless and meaningful to the plot - not just thrown in to add shock value. The twist at the end was well done and definitely surprised me. The way the story ended will definitely make this book linger in my mind.
18 reviews
June 24, 2019
Everyone has secrets. Some secrets are harmless while others are haunting. Morgan and Caryn "CeeCee" both have secrets too but it is difficult to tell who carries the worst. Morgan is a detective who lives her life carrying the burden of her best friend's murder. Her entire life is focused on bringing the killer to justice. Meanwhile, Caryn lives a life surrounded by numbers instead of people. Counting every step, day, moment in her life. Both of these women are constantly trying to stay ahead of that which they are trying to hide.
Best Kept Secrets is a fast paced thriller that visits these two women throughout different time periods in their lives. It is a good read.
Profile Image for Debbie.
882 reviews83 followers
September 8, 2019
Morgan and Fay were best friends in high school, but before they went to college, Fay was found dead. Years later, Morgan is not a homicide detective, a career shaped by that experience. When Morgan comes across another crime just so similar to Fay's she is intent on linking the two.

So while I enjoyed the premise of this one, it was rather slow in places and repetitive in many areas, particularly with her focus on finding Fay's killer.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this advance reader, in exchange for my honest opinion.
July 14, 2019
This book was kinda slow to me and all over the place. It was very hard to keep my attention. I even found myself nodding at one point because the thrill factor just wasn’t up to par. I will say that I did like certain parts of the book but it wasn’t enough to give this book a stellar review. Thank you to Netgalley for giving me an Arc of this book for my honest opinion. 3 stars . I gave an extra star because I loved the cover.
Profile Image for CloudOfThoughts_Books Keirstin.
388 reviews18 followers
June 17, 2019
Best Kept Secrets by author Tracey Phillips releases in October 2019 and a full review will follow before release.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Mariana.
10 reviews1 follower
February 2, 2020
Wonderful book

I loved this book. I couldn't put down and loved the characters and how they played the roll in the story.
Profile Image for Sejla.
71 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2019
Crime thrillers are my absolute favorite. Especially where the main character is law enforcement, and because of that, my expectations are quite high for this genre. This book failed to deliver.

I felt the mystery and crime wasn’t in depth. Everything was removed from it. There wasn’t enough details or information regarding the murders or the investigation.

Morgan, the main character, was a joke. She had as much finesse as a bull in a china shop. She was on a vengeful mission not doing her duty. All she kept thinking about was her murdered best friend, which is very understandable but Morgan was just too much. I hated the way she “questioned” (and I use that term loosely) witnesses and victims. She just was not a like-able character.

The very last sentence in the book was a bit shocking. Like, what exactly does it mean? And I don’t like potential loose ends untied. It’s meant to keep you guessing, which is fine, but it completely makes you question everything you read. I just didn’t like it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this digital ARC!
9,471 reviews83 followers
October 4, 2019
Morgan became a police officer because her best friend Fay was murdered - killed brutally the summer before they started college. She's been trying to solve that crime for years and now, suddenly, another young woman- Hallie- is found with her face smashed in same way Fay's was. This sets Morgan off in an effort to link a pattern of murders over a 20 year period, which her partner Donnie thinks is futile. At the same time, we're reading Caryn's story, sort of; she's got secrets and no spoilers as to why her chapters alternate with Morgan's. This is a little slow in spots but the characters are good and the mystery itself sufficiently twisty. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.
Profile Image for Saralyn Richard.
Author 9 books192 followers
November 28, 2020
Best Kept Secrets takes the reader into the complicated underside of the lives of the investigator and the investigated, both haunted by events from the past. The author shines a light of authenticity on the details that define the characters, making them sometimes gritty, sometimes tender, sometimes bewildered, sometimes sure. There are twists, turns, and surprises galore--a real page-turner!
290 reviews
August 27, 2019
thanks netgalley. Morgan and Donnie make great partners. Morgan's friend Fay was killed when she was young.. Now there are a few recent murders that match the same injury patterns. Morgan is trying to make the murders match that of her friend.
1,265 reviews25 followers
June 18, 2019
Best Kept Secrets is a great read with interesting characters and storyline. It is well written and entertaining.
Profile Image for Colleen Winter.
Author 3 books73 followers
January 17, 2022
Best Kept Secrets is a tight, psychological thriller that kept me up way too late reading.

Morgan Jewell is a police detective haunted by the death of her friend Fay Ramsey when they were teenagers. As she tries to solve a murder many years later, she is determined to link several murder cases together in order to avenge the death of her friend. But things are not as they seem and it's a twisty, fascinating interaction of characters and motivations that had me gripped until the final page.

Phillips does an incredible job on the psychological portraits of her characters. Between Morgan's obsession to solve Faye's murder, and the inner workings of the psychopath she is chasing, the characters are complex and fully rendered, so that I found myself thinking of them often during the day when I wasn't reading.

Phillips has a deft hand leading the reader from clue to clue, and providing enough lost leaders and diversions, so that the ending is never really clear until the final scenes. This is a brilliant debut and I wait (impatiently) for the next adventure with Morgan.
Profile Image for Kathy .
3,322 reviews
October 9, 2019
3.5 stars.

Best Kept Secrets is an intriguing mystery by debut author Tracey S. Phillips.

Homicide Detective Morgan Jewell is obsessed with finding out who murdered her best friend Fay Ramsey sixteen years ago.  She is so fixated on solving the case that she ties other killings with similar MOs to Fay's death.  The present day murder of  Hallie Marks reinvigorates Morgan's theory much to the dismay of her longtime partner Detective Donnie James. Despite his best efforts to rein her in, Morgan doggedly searches for information that will, at long last, bring Fay's killer to justice.

Morgan is one of those irritating characters who have a massive case of tunnel vision. She has already decided that Hallie and other similar murders have been committed by Fay's killer and she does everything in her power to prove she is right.  Morgan is not sleeping or taking care of herself as she feverishly revisits old cases and pores over the files in order to find a definitive link that will lead to a viable suspect.  She runs roughshod over Donnie and other detectives in her zeal to show that they are searching for a serial killer.

Morgan has one suspect from Fay's unsolved murder but he has never been located. She and Donnie have better luck finding and interviewing his sister.  Chapters from the sister's perspective offer very surprising details about her and her brother's lives both in the past and present.

Weaving back and forth in time, Best Kept Secrets has an interesting premise but the pacing is slow and Morgan is an unlikable lead protagonist.  The chapters alternate between two different points of view and  they offer a fascinating peek into the events over a broad period of time. Morgan's behavior as a detective is somewhat unrealistic but Donnie does try to redirect her focus. With a final shocking yet somewhat predictable plot twist, the novel comes to an abrupt conclusion that is vaguely unsatisfying.  An imperfect debut but I would definitely read another book written by Tracey S. Phillips.
Profile Image for Shalini.
2,496 reviews198 followers
August 10, 2019
This was a good mystery read which kept my attention flowing in certain parts of the book.

Best of friends were Fay and Morgan when Fay disappeared and was found murdered. Morgan became obsessed about finding her killer and became a cop. A similar crime led Morgan to believe the same perp was was responsible. And that started the ball rolling.

My first book by author Tracey S. Phillips was an entertaining read. Dual timelines and different POV from Morgan and Caryn, another woman with secrets had me turning the pages fast to get to those secrets. What were these women hiding? The thought raged in my mind as I read the story.

There were parts in the story which were slow and repetitive. I skim read through them to get to the exciting bits. Overall, a good read about hidden secrets.
Profile Image for Marianne.
551 reviews11 followers
September 11, 2019
2.5 rounded up for the ending

The writing in this one drags at times. The pacing was a bit slow and repetitive. The characters are decent, Donnie more likable than Morgan (at least to me). I found the change in narration and from past to present a bit choppy.

That being said the story was entertaining enough to finish and it certainly did with quite the sentence! I would try more by this author.

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Crooked Lane Books for a copy in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Pgchuis.
1,906 reviews17 followers
July 6, 2019
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

I'm quitting this at around 25%. Initially I found the writing a little repetitious and heavy-handed, but decided to persevere. Then I found the pace a little slow, but continued to persevere. Then there started to be chapters set in the past and/or from the perspective of a completely different woman than the main protagonist, and this slowed things down even more. The final straw for me was when the same name came up in connection with two of the murdered women and neither of the detectives seemed to notice...?

Sorry, not for me.
Profile Image for abdulia ortiz-perez.
634 reviews34 followers
December 28, 2019
I received this ARC from Publisher for honest Review.
What a great thrill and suspense it was to read. What a great psychological thrill! This novel had everything in it. The thrill, the suspense, the psychological, romance and the twist is crazy. This novel will keep you thinking and guessing. When you think you right, well let me just say that you might be wrong. This had me all over the place. My heart beating so fast! I couldn't believe what I was reading. If had me in shock. Every page, every chapter was a page turner. I couldn't believe my eyes what I was reading. I highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. It will surprise you in every way.

The storyline was very good!
The theme and setting was well put together. The characters was well put together in the story.
This story will have in a rollercoaster with all the spooky and secrets. Was so well put in the story.
Everything all in one book.
It was just perfect!
I highly recommend everybody get this and read it.
What a great read! This had me hooked from the beginning. What a Rollercoaster! The sitting, theme, and the Characters had me pulled so in. Everything was well put together and it was just perfect. This novel would have you guess and thinking all the way to the end. What a great thrill and suspense. I love a great suspense that would have me think and guessing. This novel did just that to me. To the point that am wrong. When the ending comes am on shock. I wouldn't of never believe or guess. Like OMG!
Highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. Its so good!
Can't wait for her next book.
Profile Image for Justkeepreading85 .
289 reviews2 followers
May 21, 2020
Best Kept Secrets Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

This book was FANTASTIC!! I loved the back and forth narrative including going back to the past with Morgan and Caryn. The chapters were kept nice and short so it was easy to follow both storylines. The climax was exciting and I couldn’t put the book down! I really hope there are more books coming because that ENDING!!! Loved it!!


Morgan Jewell and Fay Ramsey are enjoying their last summer together before college. Fay is shy, with a controlling mother, and Morgan is the perfect, wild, loud-mouthed yang to Fay's yin. But when Fay is found dead, Morgan's entire world crumbles.

Years later, Morgan is still haunted by the abrupt end to her best friend's life. She knew Fay held a secret in those final days, but Morgan, now a homicide detective, has failed to make a picture out of the crooked puzzle pieces she left behind. Nothing makes sense. The leads have run dry. Until she's called to the scene of a murder: a woman whose body is left mangled, too similar to Fay's to ignore.

Could it be? Morgan vowed to do right by Fay. This is the case she's been waiting for to set her back on the killer's trail. But the closer she gets, the harder it forces her to confront the memories of herself and her best friend. What was her secret? What got her killed? Maybe Morgan didn't know her at all.
Profile Image for Bridget.
2,755 reviews96 followers
October 29, 2019
Tracey S. Phillips writes a hugely engrossing and entertaining début novel.

Homicide Detective Morgan Jewell is obsessed with finding out who murdered her best friend Fay Ramsey sixteen years ago. Her desire to obtain justice for Fay is so great that she starts to link other killings with similar M. O. 's to Fay’s death. Against the will of partner Detective Donnie James and in spite of his best efforts to rein her in, the present day murder of Hallie Marks reignites Morgan’s theory of what happened to Fay as Morgan unremittingly and arduously searches for information that will, at long last, bring Fay’s killer to justice.

Tracey S. Phillips delivers an unstoppable and exuberant psychological thriller with a toxic concoction of disturbing memories and deep, dark secrets. The novel’s great strength is in the way the author weaves past and present. The final scenes deliver a mind-blowing and shocking twist that I didn't predict.

Best Kept Secrets is a cracking story and a book that I revelled in all the way through bringing no disappointments. An awesome read which I'm very happy to recommend and also award five stars!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Margie.
1,639 reviews12 followers
August 29, 2019
Morgan Jewell's best friend Fay, disappeared and was found murdered the summer after they graduated from high school. The murderer was never found. Morgan was devastated and after getting a degree in criminology she joined the police force. Morgan has been haunted by her friend's death throughout her career. She is called to a crime scene where the murder victim has been beaten with wounds eerily similar to Fay's. The investigation is complex and at times leads to more questions than answers. Is there a serial killer on the loose?

Best Kept Secrets by Tracey S. Phillips is a thriller with lots of mystery and suspense. The characters are all well developed. I didn't connect with Morgan though. She was too disorganized and frantic. I like her partner, Donnie better. He was the mellow to her harsh. He was the rational one to Morgan's crazy. This book is written from the perspective of Morgan and one of the suspects. It also goes back and forth from the present to the past. This technique is not my favorite but it works quite well in this story. Watch out for a surprise ending!
Profile Image for Myreadbooks.
1,456 reviews17 followers
August 5, 2020
I would like to thank Crooked Lane Books and the Netgalley website for allowing me to read this book.

It features the two best friends Morgan and Fay who want to make the most of it together before they go to university. Fay is shy, her mother dominates her and Morgan is her perfect yang. Except fay's about to be murdered. Morgan's going to be upset.

Later, still as upset as ever, she'll try to find out more about her friend and find out she had a secret. Now, as a homicide detective, she'll be investigating on her own. Until one day she is called to a crime scene that reminds her very much of her best friend's crime scene. She was waiting for that to happen before the investigation was reopened. She's going to realize that she didn't know her that well after all.

A book read in one go, so much so that I hung on to the story, so moving in certain passages, addictive, captivating, full of suspense and twists and turns with endearing characters. I can't wait to read more of this author's books because I love her addictive writing so much.
3 reviews1 follower
January 28, 2020
In the thriller Best Kept Secrets, Tracey S Phillips gives the reader a psychologically haunted detective, Morgan Jewell, who is fixated on finding the killer of her childhood friend, Fay Ramsey, and who thinks she sees a recurring modus operandi in a string of similar murders. The stories of possible suspects and victims interweave and reinforce themes of childhood trauma, forbidden love, infidelity and sexual obsession – all italicizing the often corrosive effects of secrets.

The ending will surprise and may send the reader back to previous pages to try to understand just what has been revealed. It will be interesting to see what the author does with her troubled, complex detective in her next assignment which will place her in an undercover operation. In this debut novel Phillips has demonstrated a flair for plotting suspenseful twists and turns. I look forward to more of the same as well as a deepening of character revelation as she hits her stride in books to come.
Profile Image for Suanne.
Author 10 books996 followers
November 23, 2019
Best Kept Secrets is Tracey S. Phillips’s debut novel and provides a roller coaster ride and a surprise ending. Morgan Jewell, a female cop, becomes obsessed with finding the murderer of Fay, her best friend in high school. Morgan’s current case is similar in modus operandi to that used by Fay’s killer. Morgan partners with an approaching-retirement fellow cop, Donnie James. As with most serial killer thrillers, the mood is dark and intense as Morgan becomes convinced that the same person who killed Fay has been killing women for years. The narrative flip-flops between the killer’s POV and Morgan’s POV as well as between past and present; however, these flips are easily followed. Morgan is not the most likable protagonist. There is some repetition of facts, such as the definition of PITS, a form of PTSD, that were annoying.
Profile Image for Mickey.
225 reviews32 followers
April 12, 2020
What do you do when your best school friend gets murdered and the crime is left unsolved? You become a cop and try to find the killer.
At least that's what Morgan Jewell did.
When a woman is found dead, Detective Jewell works tirelessly to find the killer, thinking it's linked to her friends murder.
While I enjoyed this book, I found it quite slow at times. This was a pretty gripping thriller with a very unexpected twist.
My first from this author but I look forward to reading more.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to return this.
Profile Image for Laurie Buchanan.
Author 6 books298 followers
September 17, 2020
I'm a sucker for pulse-pounding police procedurals, and BEST KEPT SECRETS by Tracey S. Phillips fits the bill. This book swept me off my feet and tied me to the chair!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews

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