When Carol Daniels can’t sleep at night, which is often, she tunes in to her favorite oldies station to request songs and talk off-air with deejay, Joey Hill. Carol has reasons for insomnia. Her estranged brother is in prison for multiple brutal murders, and his former associates think Carol knows where he hid his stash of takings.
Carol and her sixteen year-old son, Paul, have recently moved from Calgary to Toronto in an attempt to stay ahead of the thugs. She works at the Sticky Fingers Café, waitressing and baking delectable desserts for customers, trying to create a normal life for her son. However, Paul defies her wishes and clings to his dream of becoming a musician, just like his deadbeat father, Carol’s ex. She’s afraid he’ll end up involved in drugs like her other son Keith, who died of an overdose two years ago.
Joey Hill offers Carol encouragement and hope from a Christian worldview, but when Carol finds out about his past drug connections, she decides she can’t trust him either. Can she trust a frequent customer, Patrick Stairs, who seems to like her? She needs someone to talk to besides the police investigators. Considering the state of affairs in her life, Carol wonders if there can be any good outcome for her and Paul.
Tension and conflict place high in this tightly woven suspense novel. Author Janet Sketchley is a top-notch plotter. Many questions arise at the beginning of the story that are gradually revealed, creating an intensity that holds the reader, and Sketchley knows how to draw them out for greatest effect.
All the characters in this book are distinct and have a purpose for their existence. They deal with anxiety, false conclusions and fears while facing frightening and dangerous situations. Motivated by their circumstances, the characters are ordinary people facing extraordinary trials, fighting seemingly insurmountable odds. Lead character Carol clings tenuously to her faith, grown thin with worry and trouble and unanswered pleas for resolution.
As well as great plotting and character development, Sketchley uses “place” to enhance the mood to the story.
The character Carol Daniels in Secrets & Lies is the connection to Sketchley’s previous book, Heaven’s Prey, the story of Carol’s brother. A great connection but a whole new story. I recommend both books to all readers who love clean suspense fiction.