ADVENT BOOK BLOG 12 – Jun-2018 (2) – Dirty Secrets

Day 12 of my Advent Book Blog and today the spotlight is on DIRTY SECRETS by Janice Frost. This is book 5 in the brilliant Merry & Neal series.


Available from Amazon

Val Marsh gets home to find her husband Russell shot through the head. Russell’s ‘angel investment’ company had made him many enemies. His business was struggling and his family and friends weren’t all on his side. But did any of them really want him dead?


Detectives Jim Neal and Ava Merry are called in to investigate a very complex murder.

Another body is found in the woods and the case gets much murkier.

There are some very dirty secrets hidden behind the seemingly happy lives of the families involved.

Then a drug dealer is shot and fatally wounded in London. It seems the murders are connected, but how?


My Review

This is book 5 in the Neil & Merry series and I have been eagerly awaiting its release. However, the books work well as stand-alone so it wont matter if you have not read the earlier books.

Val returns home after visiting her daughter and finds her husband dead in his office with a gun in his lap. No motive or suspects so the team begin the big task of finding clues.

Janice makes an excellent job of writing this in a way that readers picking up the series at this point don’t feel disadvantaged by not having read the previous books and yet there is no repetition of earlier books it is just perfect for all.

This is a fast paced story with a lot going on the main theme in the book is dysfunctional families. The murdered man and his partner have built a very successful business and their families lead charmed lives but money cant buy happiness and as we delve deeper into the relationships and history many skeletons are uncovered.

However, don’t get the idea this is anything other than a thriller the human side is just icing on a cake that is fast paced, adrenaline pumping suspense all the way through. I really didn’t have a clue who the killer was until the end and neither did the team and that made for a brilliant page-turner I couldn’t put down.

A brilliant read bring on the next book

What the Bloggers thought:

Ginger Book Geek

Blimey oh riley I was hooked on this book from the moment I began to read.  I just couldn’t get enough of this book and I even tried to ration how much I read all at once, because the intention was to prolong the enjoyment of the book but that intention soon went out of the window.  I binge read the book in one sitting.   Read more here

Linda Strong Book Reviews

Neal and Merry are solid characters …. both driven to find justice for the victims. The rest of their team are just as memorable and it’s a pleasure learning more about their personal lives as they go about the hunt for a killer.  Read more here

Joanna Larum’s Reviews

A truly tremendous story which kept me hooked from the first sentence to the last.
A businessman (Russ Marsh) is found dead, sitting at his desk in his office at home. He has been shot at point-blank range and Jim Neal and Ava Merry are called in to investigate.  Read more here

Robin Loves Reading

Dirty Secrets is the fifth in the DS Merry and DI Neal series. This book does quite well as a standalone, as I myself experienced, haven’t yet had the opportunity to read the previous books. I felt very comfortable with the team of detectives as they worked together. This is a fast-paced story, as murder and secrets always bring intrigue. A most excellent plot, fantastic characters, surprising twists-and-turns, and a stunning conclusion all parlay this into a very quick read, one which I completed in one sitting.  Read more here

The Bookworm Drinketh

Beyond the actual murder mystery, I found myself more invested in the lives and relationships of the investigators involved. I was worried going into this one, as it is not the first of the series, but I could easily discern the personalities and relationships of the characters without backtracking and boring recaps. Janice goes full steam ahead hinting at possible relationships blooming while other’s fall apart.  Read more here

Black Books Blog

I think the main reason this book works so well for me is that at first glance it appears the victim, Russell Marsh, has the perfect family where everyone loves each other. It isn’t until you start to scratch the surface to find you realise what everyone really thinks of each other, just like in real life.  Read more here

The Quiet Geordie

The story itself is a very interesting premise. Is the company covering something up, or is it linked to something else? As a family, the Marshes have had more than their fair share of problems and tragedy.  Read more here

Donna’s Book Blog

I love Neal and Merry – they are strong characters in their own right and they work so well together.  They come up against a really complicated and complex murder in this one and I loved what was unravelled about those involved as the story moves on.  Read more here


DS Ava Merry is a young policewoman, recently promoted to detective sergeant. She is fitness fanatic with a taste for dangerous relationships.

DI Jim Neal is single dad who juggles his devotion to his job with caring for his son.


You may also be interested in:

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 1 – Jan-2018 (1) – The Shoeless Child

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 2 – Jan-2018 (2) – Dark Angel

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 3 – Feb-2018 (1) – Flashpoint

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 4 – Feb-2018 (2) – Ruthless

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 5 – Mar-2018 (1) – Low Lake

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 6 – Mar-2018 (2) – Unworthy

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 7 – Apr-2018 (1) – Black Soul

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 8 – Apr-2018 (2) – Murder at Work

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 9 – May-2018 (1) – Dead Bad

ADVENT BOOK BLOG 11 – Jun-2018 (1) – Their Last Words

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