Ten years ago, Pieta Rawlings was kidnapped by a man calling himself the Blindfolder. He said he would spare her life if she kept her eyes closed for 48 hours, no matter what happened.
Pieta never told anybody about her ordeal. She has even managed to move on with her life, although she has left London and relocated to Brighton to help her heal. But the Blindfolder is hunting down his past victims, leaving their bodies in parks in London and Brighton. Pieta is sure this is no coincidence. She is certain he is closing in on her.
The Blindfolder case broke that invisible line between work and personal 15 years ago for Detective inspector Jody Foster when she made a terrible mistake that resulted in the serial killer escaping justice. She inevitably meets journalist Pieta when Callie, one of the Blindfolder’s victims, chooses to take her story to the press. Jody realises Pieta was a victim, and that she might have found the perfect way to finally capture the Blindfolder. But Jody has no intention of letting the law courts mete out justice this time.
This is my first outing with the well-established author, Dorothy Koomson, and one I would like to repeat, though I have a feeling I would like her writing style more in the context of family dramas, for which she is also known.
She has managed to put fresh fabric into the increasingly dull and threadbare carpet of serial killers/abusers. The Blindfolder allows his victims to go free if they manage to keep their eyes shut for their 48 hours of imprisonment. But even if the survivors succeed in bathing the emotional scars of his barbaric torture, the Blindfolder makes sure they will never forget him by carving their victim number on their back. His crime spans more than a decade. And now he is going for round two; killing the women he set free.
This is a story of three women, two of whom vie for the role as protagonist. I liked Pieta at the start – a rape and abuse survivor who has picked herself up. She’s a devoted mother and a journalist with ethics. Unfortunately, she lost my respect quite quickly, and there were elements of the plot that I found hard to reconcile with characters actions. Jody appealed less, although Koomson did a worthy job of bringing both main characters to life.
There is too much focus on names with the reader repeatedly reminded that ‘Jody Foster’ is spelled differently from the actress and that Pieta is pronounced like the boy’s name. It’s irrelevant to the story.
The sex scenes are fine and reasonably well written, but like several of the chapters, they did nothing to push the story forward, making them superfluous. Overall, the book feels rather long, and some scenes could have been cut/condensed without detracting from the story.
There is a sense of time and place, but Brighton never comes alive as a character. This is a shame, because the author could have exploited the colour and contrasts of the vibrant town far more to add atmosphere.
Tell Me Your Secret is an easy-read story if a little unbelievable in places. The twists are, sadly, predictable, and the ending mediocre, but this is good escapism.