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The Secret Keeper

by Paul Harris

The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris X
The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris
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  • Published Apr 2009
    336 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Page 5 of 5
There are currently 35 member reviews
for The Secret Keeper
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  • Nancy (Hobe Sound FL)
    A very good story overall
    The basic story within the covers of The Secret Keeper is quite good, dealing with the aftermath and the effects of war in Sierra Leone. The civil war there and its casualties (in all senses of the word) make for interesting reading. The twist in the story was quite unexpected, and made for a bit of an "aha" at the end. However, the characters in this book seemed a bit flat, one-dimensional and were people I really cared nothing about.

    The author is a journalist who spent a lot of time in Africa and actually covered the conflict there. He might consider writing a nonfictional account of his experiences -- they would probably come off as being more realistic.

    I would probably only recommend it to people who want to know more about the politics and conflict in Sierra Leone. The story he's trying to tell is a good one and should be heard.
  • Betsey (Austin TX)
    Educational but inconsistently executed
    The best thing about this book is the information revealed about the politics and dire social circumstances in Sierra Leone during the civil war (and the post-war deceptions of its leaders). The story had potential, but the characters were one-dimensional, obvious. Also, too much prose was focused on the main protagonist's alcoholism and narcissism, and the tone of the narrative was a bit off. It didn't match the seriousness of the story.

    The author is a journalist--it was apparent in the execution of the novel. The author seemed to digress into a journalistic delivery at intervals, especially when he was imparting the socio-political details.

    There were some nice metaphors and imagery. It just didn't add up to a juicy tale. The climax was bathetic and too foreshadowed.
  • Laura (Atlanta GA)
    The Secret Keeper
    While I had a hard time putting this book down, I can't say that I liked it. The story line, which focuses on a reporter's efforts to investigate the murder of his former lover who is caught up in a civil war in Sierra Leone, is compelling, and its tensions are well developed. The characters, while not particularly likable, are quite human and appropriately motivated. However, the writing is too flabby and casual for this high tension story. Harris is particularly fond of the verb-less description posing as a sentence, and sometimes strings 6 or 7 together in a distracting way. The stylistic devise of switching between two time periods to tell the story is confusing at times. On several occasions, I had to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to determine whether I was in the 2000 or 2004 segment of the story. Tighter writing would have turned this book into a first-rate thriller.
  • Beth, Savannah, GA (Savannah GA)
    Didn't Work for Me
    I just couldn't get excited about this book. I love thrillers and particularly enjoy debut authors and thought the journalistic perspective and exotic locale would make a special book. And Harris tried. He really tried, but I think he's still more of a journalist than a novelist and never made me care about the characters or the story line. Even though things got pretty exciting toward the end, "Secret Keeper" just didn't work for me.
  • Shelby (Hamden CT)
    Trudging through
    In the hands of a better writer this could be a great first novel rather than just average. The author's style reminds me of the repeat novels of many of today's mass produced authors, full of cliche and soppy sentiment.

    It's not that the plot isn't good and you do get a good sense of the characters and life in war torn Sierra Leone but the writing got in the way of my fully enjoying this novel. If I didn't feel a commitment to finish it I would have closed it mid-sentence and moved on.
  • Eileen (New York NY)
    The aftermath of war
    This book has all the makings of a compelling novel. It is clearly written and contains an intriguing mixture of war journalists, child soldiers, corrupt officials and blood diamonds. Sadly, it doesn’t quite live up to its promising premise. I found it difficult to sympathize with any of the characters and at no point was I tempted to skip ahead to find out what was going to happen. However, it does raise enough interesting questions that it would make a great discussion book.
  • Katherine (Albuquerque NM)
    A disappointment
    I selected this book hoping to learn more about Sierra Leone while reading an engaging story, but I found the writing to be "flabby" as another reviewer accurately described it and the story to not be as compelling or tightly plotted as I would have liked. Overall, I can't recommend this one.

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