The Secret Keeper: Book summary and reviews of The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris

The Secret Keeper

By Paul Harris

The Secret Keeper
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

In the tradition of John le Carré, The Secret Keeper, set in war-torn Sierra Leone, tells the story of one man’s search for the truth in a nation where the rules of civilized society simply don’t apply.

Four years ago, British journalist Danny Kellerman was given the opportunity of a lifetime: covering the political crisis in Sierra Leone as a war correspondent. While in Freetown he begins a passionate love affair with a beautiful American woman named Maria Tirado, who helps run an orphanage for ex-child soldiers. But Danny can’t shake the feeling that Maria is hiding something from him, and as the crisis escalates, Danny has no choice but to leave; he boards a helicopter out of Freetown and never turns back….

Until four years later, when, with a new relationship and a new life in London, Danny receives a mysterious, urgent letter from Maria. She’s in trouble and needs Danny’s help. But the letter is dated three weeks earlier, and it’s already too late. Danny learns that Maria was murdered in a roadside robbery.

Haunted and heartbroken, Danny leaves London and returns to Freetown. Although there is now peace in Sierra Leone, corruption is rampant and every promising lead is a dead end. But with the help of old friends and contacts, Danny uncovers a string of secrets that sheds a shocking light on the woman he thought he knew—and reveals a hidden truth that could destroy those in power. Trapped in the heart of a dangerous nation where he can trust no one, Danny is forced to choose between his journalistic integrity and the devastating consequences of speaking the truth.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"While the surprise-filled final chapter may strike some as a hastily contrived escape hatch, Harris shows a flair for intrigue that bodes well for future novels." - Publishers Weekly.

"As if Graham Greene himself had returned to Africa." - Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland.

"A fast-paced, stylish and gripping thriller laced with international intrigue. Harris plunges headfirst into the frightening reality of Africa in the throes of a blood-soaked civil war." - Nicholas Shaxson, author of Poisoned Wells.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Bonnie (Mukwonago, WI)
Next Step: Screenplay
The matter-of-fact journalistic style of Paul Harris catches your interest from the start of his first novel, The Secret Keeper. Possibly better suited as the pre-write for a movie screenplay, readers will be inclined to visualize interactions among the characters throughout the book. While not the lesson on Sierra Leone you may have expected, a good story nonetheless.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Kathy S. (DeForest, WI)
The Secret Keeper
This was a good book. I enjoyed that it was about a country I knew little about. This book may be a little too gruesome for book clubs, but suspense readers will like this novel.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Harriette K. (Weston, FL)
The Secret Keeper
When a journalist returns to Sierra Leone to uncover the cause and reason for the mysterious death of his former lover, he runs into danger wherever he turns. The story leads us to all the answers, but not before taking us and our protagonist through many harrowing experiences. While this is a good, fast read and at times suspenseful, the flashbacks and twists get very confusing. I had to turn back a few times to determine what year the story was in. The author is also a journalist making me hope that his next attempt at fiction will be a little better.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Pat M. (san antonio, TX)
The Secret Keeper
War correspondent, Danny Kellerman receives a brief note from his former lover in Sierra Leone. "I need you. I'm in trouble." At this time, Danny learns of her violent death. The reader follows Danny's journey back to this hellhole.. His path leads him into a world of deceit and greed. Civil war surrounds Danny as he tries to piece together the answer. The theme will stay with the reader long after the book has been put down.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Mary D. (Claremont, CA)
The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris
The Secret Keeper was written by Paul Harris, who was, in fact, a correspondent in Africa for four years, and knows his subject well. While it contains many of the essentials necessary to a good spy/espionage genre, there is also a lot of factual background information. Since the political crisis in Sierra Leone is a subject virtually unknown to me, this information was pertinent to understanding the characters and events that took place.

Needless to say, there are many twists and turns, good guys turn out to be not so good, bad guys are sometimes bad by necessity, but the horrible truths behind what has happened in that area are hard to disguise.

It was an exciting, captivating read with strong characters that I found difficult to put down. I highly recommend this book.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Valerie
Hmmmm.......I hate to say it but.....
Overall, I must say this is a pretty forgettable book. The storyline concept is good, but the writing does not flow, the main character is a bit lame, and all the characters lack depth. This book may appeal more to male readers....but there is no way I can recommend it. Sorry.

...29 more reader reviews

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Paul Harris is a journalist who has written for Reuters, the Associated Press, and The Daily Telegraph. He spent four years in Africa, where he covered the conflict in Sierra Leone. Now The Observer's U.S. correspondent, he lives in New York City.

Browse an excerpt from the book and invite the author to chat at The Secret Keeper website.

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