The Secrets You Hide: Two stories, a thousand lies

The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm is an intriguing psychological thriller which tells two tragic tales and discovers some nasty secrets. With a great main character and concept, this book is gripping in parts and shocking at times. It is very well-researched in a variety of areas it explores, but perhaps explores too many ideas which makes it lengthy. The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm is out now from Bonnier Zaffre.

The story
Georgia is a courtroom artist with a very dark childhood. When she is asked to explore a past case for a crime art book commission, she happily accepts and is intrigued to find out what has become of the forgotten hero of a house fire twenty years ago. With the stress of this and her daily work starting to suffer, she starts seeing people who aren’t really there. Could she be going mad? And what will painting this commission uncover about this revered hero, and what might it dredge up from her past?

My thoughts…
I enjoyed this book in two parts; one story is a courtroom artist delving into a previous crime for a commission and ending up doing a lot more digging to discover some shocking truths. The other story is about a woman with deteriorating sight who is losing grip on who she is dealing with the ghosts from her past. Personally, I liked both story lines, but felt that they could have been better told separately.
Helm does some incredible research into everything she includes in the book, displaying her passion in writing this story, which I could feel. I now understand Best disease, as well as having clarity on how courtroom artists work and the pressures they deal with. I found the parts where Georgia is visiting and painting Jim the most compelling, as it was reminiscent of a psychology support session. I did not, however relate to Jim like I believe I should have and was disappointed in the ending Helm gave him.
I did like Georgia, Oli, Neena and Daniel, whom I felt were enjoyable and somewhat sympathetic characters. I cared mostly for Oli, who I felt was the unsung hero of this story, always putting forward the important question: are you ok? Daniel is an interesting character, as I found him the most real character shown through his behaviour and thirst for vengeance.
I often felt as though Georgia’s sight wasn’t a huge factor, and I would have liked to see it affect her more, as it did not come across as a debilitating disease. My only real criticism, however, is that the two stories did not slot together, therefore making the book longer than it needed to be.

Overall, this book was a 3* read for me. The two stories were intriguing and delivered all the things I love in a mystery novel, but they were too disjointed for me to appreciate the book as a whole. I would recommend this to people who enjoy multiple narratives, mysteries and psychological thrillers. Thank you Bonnier Zaffre for my advanced copy of The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm in exchange for an honest review.

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