Secret Smile – Nicci French

Last year, when I read Killing Me Softly by the same authors, I thought, now that’s an interesting book. It was fast paced but slow compared to this one, a bit creepy (ok, more than a bit) and left me with a lingering thought at the back of my mind that I should read at least another one of their written works. And so I did.

In Secret Smile, there’s a feeling of deja-vu, like Adam Tallis (one of the two main characters from Killing Me Softly) has been resurrected and given another chance at messing people’s lives.

Handsome guy, Brendan, meets nice girl, Miranda, and they start going out. Unfortunately he has one major flaw this particular nice girl doesn’t like: snooping around. She decides to end their barely started relationship and things seem to stop before having a chance to really take off. What she doesn’t know is that he never lets things go. With cunning precision, Brendan insinuates himself into Miranda’s family, makes himself liked among Miranda’s friends while at the same time never losing an opportunity to taunt and harass her. By the time I got halfway through the book I was really annoyed with Miranda for always trying to be the good girl, never fighting back, and with the people around her for not believing her when she told them the truth. A family member and a friend have to die before Miranda takes matters into her own hands and as she tries to find out more about Brendan and in the process becoming more and more frustrated with his actions, she fights back for a change, in a really surprising way. I didn’t see that coming.

The book is a quick read and it has that I-want-to-get-to-the-bottom-of-this feel to it, which made me want to read it as fast as possible just to find out if the bad guy gets his comeuppance in the end.

If I had to choose between the two books, I must say I prefer Killing Me Softly, for the slower action and the gradual build-up of tension. Secret Smile felt a bit too rushed, but in the end I enjoyed reading both.

*Read between 26-29 March, 2011

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4 Responses to Secret Smile – Nicci French

  1. Esa says:

    I have read two or three ‘ French ‘ novels, and have used them as a bridge
    between more hefty tomes. They have clever plots, and are written well enough to
    keep one reading, and are fun in a murderous kind of way. 🙂

  2. Delia says:

    I feel the same about their novels. What’s good is that you know the bad guy is going to get it in the end and also there’s always an undercurrent of optimism. I like that about a book.

  3. Esa says:

    I have also feel that the female protagonists are usually strong, and a cut above many found in this genre. I’m curious to know how you feel about the characters?

  4. Delia says:

    The characters are likable, even the bad guy, who has to be tall and handsome, of course. 😀 The girls are tough and it’s quite easy to be on their side.

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