Many children have an invisible friend, and sometimes they can be a necessary part of a child’s life for many reasons.
But when this ‘friend’ starts to cause more than childish mischief, it is time for his mother to investigate.
Maggie Swan loves her little boy Danny, but his new playmate was becoming something of a problem.
Her husband Jack was no help at all, dismissing her ideas as rubbish. But was he merely trying to hide a guilty secret? One that Danny’s new friend knew all about?
I’ve been thinking about this review for a few days. I finished Secrets a short while ago and I’ve been trying to decide how to express what I felt about it, but now my heading really says it all. This is a strong and powerful story, very well told. The characters are well-drawn and empathic; you have to like and sympathise with them fully, and the main plot, being that of a child who has an invisible but somewhat malicious ‘friend’, is very compelling. If you enjoy and read a lot of paranormal suspense, then you will really love this book. It isn’t my usual choice but I still found myself ‘turning the pages’ on my Kindle till I reached the end. In fact, it is very good!
I won’t say too much about the story as I don’t want to spoil the suspense and excitement for the reader, so this review is quite short. However, I think Anita Dawes has tapped into subjects that are very topical today and it’s well worth reading this book to see what can happen when we bury secrets for too long …
Excerpt from Secrets…
The men began to dig, just to one side of the old barn by a broken down fence. She could just make out what was left of an old tree. Her curiosity strained just enough to keep her watching as Janet stepped out from the shadow of the house and took a few steps towards the men.
‘What you got there, buried treasure?’
‘You hold your noise woman, I could always make this here hole big enough to put you in, now get on with you!’
She shrugged, picked up an old basket and walked off around the side of the house.
‘I couldn’t have done that,’ breathed Cathy. ‘I would want to have a look.’
‘Maybe she believes what Tommy said…’
‘Could be, I wouldn’t want to bump into him on a dark night. Did you get a load of his teeth?’
Maggie smiled in spite of herself. ‘I did, every dentist’s nightmare.’
The word sent a shiver down her spine.
After quite a pile of earth had been dug up, Jack threw his shovel aside and began pulling at something that was stuck in the ground.
Maggie felt sick. Where was the dignity? All she felt was the shame and sorrow of it all.
Tommy gave something a kick with his boot and Maggie felt herself flinch as a large, mud covered bundle came free from the grave. She couldn’t believe her eyes when Jack simply picked it up and carried it back across the field to the car. She watched him put it in the boot and noticed that Tommy was watching him too, before throwing the shovel and pick into the barn. He rinsed the mud from his boots with a hose outside the back door, then he came in and they heard him open the Aga.
‘He’s going to eat his lunch, for God’s sake!’ she said to Cathy. ‘How can he?’
Even as she said it, she realised that today of all days, anything was possible.
Jack was on his way back to the house when Janet appeared again. Waiting until she was sure he’d hear her, she asked,
‘Got what you came for, then?’
Trying to wipe the mud from his hands, he nodded.
‘Come inside and wash up.’ she said.
Janet squirted the hose over his shoes, soaking the bottom of his trousers and he held his hands under the stream of freezing cold water to get most of the mud of.
‘We’d better sit down.’ Maggie said, nudging Cathy towards a chair. ‘They’ll be here in a minute.’
They heard Janet tell Jack to use the sink in the small room behind the Aga. ‘But then, you’d know about that, wouldn’t you.’ she said. Seeing Tommy getting stuck into his food, she asked Jack if they would like some lunch before they go.
‘For God’s sake, don’t say yes.’ Maggie whispered, and Cathy held her breath waiting for his answer.
‘No thanks, we really do have to go. I’d like to get back home before it gets dark.’
Jack came into the living room and brought the smell of freshly dug soil with him. It was a smell Maggie usually liked, but not today. In her minds eye she could see the shallow grave, dark and forbidding, with white bones sticking out of the mud. How was she going to get into the car, knowing what was in the boot?