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Book Review: Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

Dirty Little Secrets

Jo Spain


RRP: $34.99

I have to admit, at first the idea of a novel where an older woman dies alone and no-one cares struck me as so, so sad. Especially given the sector we work in. But novels often written about what actually happens in ‘real life’ (and often takes these situations as a starting point and really puts a spin on it)…so with that in mind I opened this book and began to read.

Olive Collins lived in The Vale; a gated community where everyone always felt safe. But Olive died, or was she murdered. And no one noticed. In a community where everyone is supposed to ‘care’ about everyone else, a community where you’re safe, a community that’s always seen itself as a bit better than those ‘other neighbourhoods.

The cast of characters in this novel are cliché and somewhat over drawn – think “Desperate Housewives” – but that sort of adds to the charm (and helps move it a step away from the horror of real life situations). The investigating police offers are the typical ‘old and tired’ nearly retiring (but ‘wise’) senior officer and the ‘young and keen’ (but inevitably brash) rookie, and then there’s the occupants of the 6 other houses…

A very quick easy read and one you don’t have to take too seriously. Written in the style of Lianne Moriarty, there’s a few authors out there writing in this style now and Spain is one of the few doing it well. If you read this and like it then I strongly suggest you try some of Moriarty’s work to appreciate this genre at it’s best.

The ending of this book (where so many authors come unstuck) was actually pretty satisfying so with that in mind I’d recommend it to those looking for a light holiday read (surprising given the premise)!

About the Author

Jo Spain is a full-time writer and screenwriter. Her first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and her first psychological thriller, The Confession, was a number one bestseller in Ireland. Jo co-wrote the ground-breaking television series Taken Down, which first broadcast in Ireland in 2018. She’s now working on multiple European television projects. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.

About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is the General Manager at Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 10 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two small children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.

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