**2.5-stars rounded up**
One caused the fall. One did nothing.
One saw it all. One didn’t care.
One used their head. One played the hero.
One was left for dead.
Reading the above at the beginning of the synopsis for Seven Dirty Secrets, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
I see something like that and automatically want to know all the scandalous details. In short, if someone has a secret, I want to know all about it.
Natalie D. Richards kicks this one off immediately. In the very first chapter you a diving into the drama. I really appreciated that.
We follow 18-year old, Cleo, who on her birthday receives a hella creepy invitation to participate in a scavenger hunt.
At first, although the initial placing of the first clue was scary for her, Cleo believes that perhaps her best friend, Hope, or her brother, Conner, are behind it.
However, when they both vehemently deny having anything to do with the hunt, she is forced to consider other culprits.
Cleo’s given a weekend to solve all the clues, or a deep dark secret of hers will be revealed. A secret that involves the drowning death of her boyfriend, Declan, the previous year on a rafting trip.
Cleo puts her head down and digs in, determined to solve this mystery, before it is too late for her and the rest of her friend group.
As mentioned above, Richards wastes no time getting into the nitty-gritty of this story. Cleo discovers the first clue within moments of the story beginning.
After that, it is non-stop action until the bitter end.
While the synopsis of this seems absolutely up my alley, I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed this reading experience.
I listened to the audiobook on a road trip over Thanksgiving holiday and had to push myself to get through it. The narrator just did not work for me. Frankly, it was painful.
It felt so forced, with zero expression. The voices for the male characters, wow. I would have preferred she read their dialogue in her regular voice than the ones she was putting on.
Further, anytime there was any excitement in the narrative, where someone would be shouting, or freaking out, it felt like she was reading it out loud in her apartment and didn’t want her neighbors to hear what she was doing.
With this being said, I can’t really blame the narrative style completely. There were parts of this story that I found repetitive and I didn’t care for any of the characters.
While I don’t need to like characters in order to enjoy a story, I at least need to be invested in their outcome. I just don’t feel like I ever relaxed enough into this one in order to feel that for them. I think I was too distracted by everything else going on.
This is a solid premise and Richards does a great job of keeping the pace steady throughout. I wish I could have connected with it more, but just because I didn’t, doesn’t mean you won’t.
If this synopsis sounds intriguing to you, absolutely give it a shot. A hard copy could end up being one of your favorite books of the year!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my honest opinions.
Even though this one didn’t hit like I wanted it to, I will absolutely continue to pick up Richards future work.