Book review: Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold

Friday, April 15, 2022 Permalink

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold took me by surprise. I’d planned on allocating just a short time in the bath to read, but ended up dining on biscuits and chips because I remained in there (topping up with warm water once or twice) until I was finished.

Interestingly (or not) this is the third of fourth book I’ve read this year featuring crimes committed by juveniles…. later released and given new identities. I’m not sure if it’s suddenly topical or perhaps it’s just a sign that increased access to technology and information means that it is harder to keep things secret in the 21st century.

Book review: Twelve Secrets by Robert GoldTwelve Secrets
by Robert Gold
Series: Ben Harper #1
Published by Sphere
on 03/03/2022
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 0751582751
Pages: 448

The day his older brother was murdered was the day Ben Harper's life changed forever.

In one of the most shocking crimes in national history, Nick and his friend were stabbed to death by two girls their own age. Police called the killings random, a senseless tragedy.

Twenty years on Ben is one of the best true crime journalists in the country. He has left the past behind, thanks to the support of his close-knit hometown community.

But when he learns about a fresh murder case with links to his brother's death, Ben's life is turned upside down once more. He soon find himself caught in a web of lies, one that implicates everyone around him. And on his quest for answers, Ben discovers one very important truth:

Everyone has secrets. But some secrets are deadlier than others.

I really liked Ben and Gold doesn’t mess around when it comes to context. He quickly introduces us to Ben and gives us what we need to know about his history… the murder of his brother two decades ago and death of his mother a decade later. And because the murder was high profile we learn he’s been thrust unhappily into the spotlight twice… so not at all tempted to put himself back there by sharing his own story of the tragedies on the anniversary.

He does – however – have some unanswered questions and another death… and the inevitability of media attention, means he decides to take matters into his own hands and find the answers he’s after. And of course it’s then he learns that he was previously in the dark about A LOT of stuff as a child, and even later at the time of his mother’s death.

I very much liked the texture that the support characters add here. There’s Ben’s boss Madeline who he seems to respect and has been around long enough to know is ruthless but has ‘some’ integrity. Then there’s Ben’s friend Holly and her friend Sarah – both with complicated personal lives. We meet a worker at an aged care facility Corrine and then the mother of the boy killed at the same time as Ben’s brother… as well as some old friends dating back to Ben’s school years.

However, it almost became a smidge confusing as the characters (and their partners and kids and backstories) were introduced. I suspect my mother (who always reads my books) will comment on there being too many characters and struggling to recall who’s who. I think once we’re settled into this book it makes sense and of course it ultimately makes even more sense. Though it may require some patience.

Gold makes it obvious there’s more to the original murders than uncovered at the time (or there’d be no need for this book!) but does a good job at meting out new facts and details… mostly uncovered by Ben along with Dani, a cop returning to work after an ‘incident’.

Happily I note this is tagged Ben Harper #1, so more are planned and I assume they’ll involve both Ben and Dani. I’m keen in particular for more about Dani’s past – her police officer father and her partner, and the impact of the incident that derailed her career.

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold was published in Australia by Hachette and is currently available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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