I really enjoyed the first bind-up of the Dark Secrets
series, Legacy of Lies & Don't Tell
, so I was very excited to be able to read and review the next bind-up and its two novels. Once again Dark Secrets 2
takes us back to the town of Wisteria, where strange and paranormal things happen to otherwise unconnected people.
The first story, No Time To Die
, is a classic mystery, a theatre-based whodunnit with just a fraction of paranormal activity. While it is the weaker of the two stories in the bind-up, it's still a great read. It does lose a fraction of a point due to feeling vaguely like a re-tread of a concept done many times over - the vague, mystical assistance of the murder victim providing clues to the amateur sleuth - but in No Time To Die
it's a mild thing (albeit one worth mentioning). The best moments were the ones away from the main mystery thread, where Jenny grows into herself and more confident about everything. The mystery picked up towards the end, with what I thought was one heck of a twist - I did not see it coming, but after getting there I was able to see how the whole story got there. Overall No Time To Die
was an easy and enjoyable read.
Unlike in Dark Secrets 1
, it is the second story, The Deep End Of Fear
, that is my favourite of the two in the bind-up. The Deep End Of Fear is different and thus a stand-out. Even just mixing up what the paranormal aspect at the beginning could be makes a world of difference in a story - is it ghosts, psychic imprints, something else paranormal or just a lonely little boy with an uncanny knack for picking things up from adults? The mystery here is very well done, with a great amount of clever misdirection and an ending that really packs a punch. The Deep End Of Fear
is a great story on its own, but it becomes memorable for the addition of a single character. Sam is one of the best YA love interests I have read in a while and amongst all of the others he's a stand-out. He's not perfect or dangerous, but he's sweet and real and helpful - he's that good guy you know in real life, or the guy you would want your daughter/kid sister to go out with. In a time where the favoured YA love interests are the beautiful bad boys, a guy like Sam - who is good to his mother, patience with lonely little kids, and sweet to the girl he likes - is a welcome change, and something I wish I could see more of. In short, an excellent story.
Overall, Dark Secrets 2: No Time To Die & The Deep End Of Fear
is a great bind-up of two YA paranormal mysteries, and is due for release on August 5. The first bind-up, Legacy Of Lies & Don't Tell
is out now, while the fifth book in the series, The Back Door Of Midnight, is finally out January 2011 from Simon & Schuster UK