Too Many Secrets
Laura McClendon
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Buy *Too Many Secrets* by Laura McClendon online

Too Many Secrets
Laura McClendon
TurnKey Press
245 pages
April 2005
rated 3 of 5 possible stars
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Cassandra Masters has created a sheltered existence for herself and her young daughter. Her plans for a medical career were sidelined when her husband was killed, now she is working as an exclusive private investigator. She has an excellent track record with investigation, but she has layers of security in place to protect her privacy. So when Eleanor Moorehouse bypasses the safeguards and barges into Cassandra’s office, Cassandra is obviously taken aback and doesn’t desire to help the wealthy woman.

But Eleanor is persuasive. She’s about to be arrested for the murder of her husband, a well-known local physician. Soon after his death, it was discovered he was having an affair, so the police think that Eleanor is their culprit. When Cassandra finally gives in and offers her services, she begins to realize that Eleanor’s husband was not exactly what he seemed on the surface, and the list of people who might want him dead is growing longer by the minute. Can Cassandra help Eleanor before it’s too late?

Too Many Secrets is a decent debut from author Laura McClendon. The mystery is intriguing and, for the most part, the characters are detailed and engaging. Cassandra is full of mystery, and the first-person viewpoint of the novel doesn’t provide as much insight into her motivations as one might hope.

There are a few drawbacks to Too Many Secrets. The first one is that Cassandra’s husband’s death, supposedly a homicide, is never fully explored. It’s introduced and looks as if it might be an intriguing mystery, but then the entire subject is dropped. As a reader, solving that puzzle would have made a lot more sense for a first novel. Cassandra’s emotional upheaval at her husband’s death seems to be dragging out longer than might be normal—two years and she’s still hanging onto his belongings, etc. Finding his murderer might have tied up that loose end. The second thing is that the “gathering of the suspects” and revealing of the villain at the end is just too convenient and contrived. It seems forced and very clichéd.

Overall, for a self-published novel, Too Many Secrets shows promise. Some additional editing could have tightened up the storyline and corrected some of the spelling errors. But Too Many Secrets does have an interesting mystery and will keep its readers guessing to the end.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Melissa Parcel, 2006

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