Review: So Many Secrets by Vicki Hinze

so many secretsTitle: So Many Secrets

Author: Vicki Hinze

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The blurb: Seven years ago, Dr. Dana Perkins came to idyllic Shutter Lake seeking safety from a traumatic experience in Phoenix. She became the principal at Shutter Lake School—and found her refuge . . . until Sylvia Cole was killed and one of Dana’s best and brightest students, Vinn Bradshaw, confessed to the murder. A murder Dana is certain he didn’t commit. But who is he protecting? Why? Seeking the truth shatters Dana’s safety. Yet who could have predicted proving Vinn innocent would jeopardize her friends and neighbors . . . and expose so many secrets?

Standalone or series: This is the second book in a four book mini-series, each one written by a different author. You will need to read all four in order, as together they form one big book.

The review: This book picks up where book one left off, and this time the female protagonist is Dr. Dana Perkins, the Shutter Lake school principal and psychologist. One of her students has confessed to the murder of Sylvia Cole, who was found dead at the beginning of book one, and Dana doesn’t believe for a moment that he’s possibly guilty. So why is he confessing?

Book two delves deeper into Sylvia Cole’s life and the secrets she was keeping from – and about – everyone. It seems Sylvia had a darker side, a side not many people knew about, and the more Dana and her friends, including Deputy Police Chief Laney Holt, delve into Sylvia’s life, the more suspects for her murder they find.

Some of these secrets come to light in book two, but you’re still left with plenty of questions that need answers. There was a really interesting sub-plot involving Dana’s friends with the young, hot mayor of Shutter Lake, Thomas Jessup. My little romantic heart was hoping for some action between the two, but alas. It turns out that the good Mayor has been hiding a rather big secret of his own, which Dana figures out with the help of her friends.

Dana is understandably stressed; one of her students, of whom she’s very protective (and with good reason, as you find out why Dana moved to Shutter Lake in the first place) is in jail for murder; her friend has been hiding a secret she uncovers; and yet another secret about one of her teachers comes out, which requires her to take immediate and swift action.

One thing I did notice in this book (and I had noticed it in book one, but to a lesser extent) is that some of dialogue between characters who are supposed to be long standing friends was somewhat stilted, bordering on rude. They felt like strangers conversing, rather than friends. But it certainly wasn’t enough to throw me from another good instalment in this series. I have my theories about who the killer is (I have two possible suspects in mind) and am interested to see if I’m proved right in book four!