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Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole

by Chadwick Ginther - Thursday, Aug 21, 2008 at 9:40am

Emma Cole is the pen name of historical fiction author Susanna Kearsley, under which she writes crime thrillers. Every Secret Thing, which was nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award for Canadian Crime Novel, is the first of these, and it holds treasures for crime and historical fiction buffs alike.

If you've read any of Kearsley's historicals, you will recognize her voice here, especially in the lush descriptions of war-era New York City and Portugal. However, unlike many authors who moonlight in the genre, this novel is actually written as a thriller. History and description flow seamlessly into a fast-paced narrative that--while coloured by Kearsley's writing style--still becomes uniquely Emma Cole, which is no easy feat.

Cole's heroine, Kate Murray (like Kearsley's protagonist in The Winter Sea, Carrie McClelland) is a writer. Murray is a journalist rather than a novelist, but both women share a connection to the past that runs much deeper than either of them first expect. While covering a trial in London, Kate is approached by an elderly man,claiming to know her grandmother, a man who tells her of a crime long buried, but one still deserving of justice. When the man is unexpectly run down by a car right in front of Kate, she quickly learns that his story contains a dangerous amount of truth.

Every Secret Thing then flashes back and forth between present and past as Kate tells us her story. The novel is structured as if Kate Murray herself had written the book, recounting the game of cat and mouse she was forced to play day by day. Drawing deeply on the lives of the Canadian women who left home for New York in the 1940s to work for Sir William Stephenson's British Security Coordination, Every Secret Thing is a truly Canadian cloak and dagger adventure.

See Also:

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Categories: Reviews, Mystery & Crime

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