[527]: Best Kept Secrets by Sandra Brown

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Grand Central Publishing | Paperback, 535 pp. | March 25, 2014 | Adult Fiction | Romantic Suspense | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Prosecutor, Alexandra Gaither has an axe to grind with the people of Purcell County. The murder of her mother twenty years ago may have been a solved case, but she knows in her heart of hearts that they punished the wrong man. Buddy Hicks was a mentally disabled man who took the fall for Celina’s death. He was found with the murder weapon covered with Celina’s blood. It was an open and shut case, but Alex knew there was conspiracy involved.

Her grandmother has held her mother in the highest regard, but Alexandra’s unexpected birth brought all her grandmother’s dreams of grandeur for her own daughter Celina to a crashing halt. Years of being blamed for her mother’s failures was what led to her curiosity about her death. Determined to get to the real truth about her murder, Alexandra wasn’t prepared for what she’ll discover.

Her arrival at Purcell County will wake up rivalries decades in the making. She will reopen wounds that had been left pestering for years. Amidst the storm she’s bringing to the place that held all the secrets of her mother’s former life, Alex is determined to find the real killer. At least, before the killer finds her first.

This book is a bit longer than normal, it seems. But it still only took me a couple of days to read it. That’s the beauty of Sandra’s work. It has that immersive quality that makes you want to shut the world out if only to devour her novel. She wasn’t very forthcoming with her clues as well. You will either be encumbered with frustration or be in awe with the intricacy of her mystery. I wasn’t annoyed by any means, not even impatient. I was completely vested in the novel.

I’ve always found that characterization is one of Sandra’s strengths. From the major players right down to the troublesome bar fly, I feel like she’s able to give them life even in not so many words.

What is Sandra’s book without romance? This is also one of her strengths. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of her books where she recycles story arches. This time around, the romance is a bit intriguing. There was quite an age gap between them. Also the man has a history with her mom. So some may find this a bit icky, like I did at first. Somehow, Sandra found a way to convince me otherwise. And boy, did she ever make me wait for it! But heck, it was worth it.

Best Kept Secrets is a signature Sandra Brown: romantic, suspensful, provocative. Reading this one makes me glad that  I’m working through a magnificent back list of her novels. And seriously glad this woman is a writing machine.

  • Characterisation is important for a reader like me, which makes me so happy to know it is a key feature in Sandra Brown’s books. I have heard a lot of great things about her mysteries, especially Mean Streak. After trying Nora Roberts she is next for my list!

  • Although it is a long read, it sounds really good. The author really pulled you into her world and the characters are well developed. Fab review!

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  • I love sinking into an immersive novel that you can really get sucked into and relax with, it sounds like the mystery was done really well here. Lovely review Joy, glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    • Thanks, Jeann! That’s all you could ask for in a mystery novel, isn’t it? Something that consumes you until you turn to the last page. 🙂

  • I love the sound of the mystery in this one, especially if the clues aren’t immediately in your face to where it would be ruined for you too quickly. Plus good pacing? Love it, especially in a book this size.

    • I really enjoyed it too, Alise. I especially liked that it highlighted how small towns tend to converge on the offender of one of its own. Thanks!

  • i dont think ive read any of her work. i did have her over the blog once and she’s quite… challenging to have as a guest. not in a bad way, i guess shes not of the blog culture you know?

    • *gasps* you’ve had her on your blog?! she’s like my favourite!!! You lucky girl. 🙂

  • Oooh, I have yet to read a book by this author, which is something I should rectify, since I’m on a bit of a crime/mystery binge at the moment. It’s great that she doesn’t recycle story arches, which is something which tends to happen once an author has written a certain amount of books in a specific genre.

    • I hope you’ll give her a chance someday. i like reading her books in between YA romps. Lol.

  • I love a bit of saucy suspense! My mum actually has a few of her titles and swears by them as well. She must have an incredible imagination, to not only breathe life into these characters, but to make them all really well developed with a sense of self. No easy task considering it looks like so many authors seem to struggle to just create one unique character. Ooh, the older man romance sounds super sexy.

    But Joy, that photo is absolutely gorgeous! I love the vintage typewriter. Does it still work? They’re so hard to find, have been trying for a few years to find one and that looks in incredible condition.

    Wonderful review Joy <3 really enjoyed it.

    • Thanks, Kelly! Yes, the typewriter still works. I managed to find ribbons for it, so I use it from time to time to write poetry. 😉

  • I have still not read a Sandra Brown novel. I have wanted to for a long time, but it is just an author that I haven’t gotten to yet. I love a good mystery, and this sounds like a book that I would like. Great review.

    • You might enjoy them as well, Suzi. I like reading her books in between YAs. Reminds me of how old am I..really. Lol.

  • Color me intrigued Joy! The mystery sounds really well done, I love an intricate plot that keeps me guessing, and previous association with her mom aside, I think I’m going to like the romance. I haven’t read a romance with an age gap in a while:) Lovely review!!!

    • I like the age gap, oddly enough. The hero was one of those really rough around the ages cowboy. Lol.

  • I picked up a couple of her books because of you, now I just actually need to read them! Glad this was another great one from this author.

    • Yassss, Ali! Go read them. 🙂 I’m nervous now. You might not enjoy them quite as much. Eeeeeeep.

  • RO

    I used to read quite a few Sandra Brown books years ago, and don’t know why I stopped. But she is definitely a talented author with the gift of coaxing the most from her characters. Definitely have to pick this one up. Great review! Hugs…RO

    • I’ve amassed quite a few Sandra Brown books in the last little while, so I’ll be reviewing more of these as time goes by. 😀

  • Awesome review Joy 😀 I’m glad you liked this book a whole lot. <3 You do make it sound amazing 😉 And ah, your picture is so pretty. <3 Love it. But.. well. That about the romance. It would bother me a lot, lol, so not a book for me 🙂 But glad you liked it. <3 Thank you for sharing about it sweetie 🙂

  • This defenitely sounds like a good read Joy and I’m glad you liked it! (Also a perk that there is romance involved–even better that it’s not instalove.) *winning* 😉

    • Oh I’m a huge Sandra Brown fan. You’ll probably see more of her books in the future. 🙂

  • I did read more books like this, in elementary school, and then in HS I stopped…I was a weird kid

    • What?! Elementary? Whoa. Heavy reading. Lol.

      • I was crazy… I read the continuation of Gone with the wind when I was 11

        • Good God, woman. 11?! I mean, Gone with the Wind is a massive tome! I bow to you.

  • I think this author always have some interesting suspens books. I tried some and really enjoyed them but I should read more now too.

    • You and me both, Melliane. You and me both. 🙂