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
    Genre: Thrillers

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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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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.

Jill

A hit! Be ready to read late into the night...
In his first novel, Paul Harris has done the near impossible: combining a tightly designed mystery; love story and self discovery journey into a compelling and exciting read.

When British journalist Danny Kellerman is unexpectedly summoned to Sierra Leone - the place where he made his best and worst decisions in life and journalism - by his former love, he begins a journey that will have him questioning what is and isn’t real, relevant or true.

A great book for a club read, Kellerman’s journey is filled with physical danger, unexpected emotion and the ultimate journalistic conflict between truth and consequence.

A twisty and unexpected plot keeps you reading far past the time you’ve allotted—expect to be drawn into The Secret Keeper late into the night—and expect to see Harris again; hopefully this is the first of a long list of bestselling novels from a talented writer. I hope he’s already working on the next.

Wisteria Leigh, New Milford, CT

The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris
Harris doesn’t waste any time shocking you into a compelling need to continue as the opening chapter captivates your attention to read on. The Secret Keeper is a transcontinental consummate adventure thriller traversing between London and Sierra Leone. In London, Danny Kellerman receives a cryptic letter of desperation from his ex-lover Maria. He is a journalist who four years earlier reported on the political upheaval in Sierra Leone where he met Maria. The postmark is three weeks earlier and all sense of reality disappears when he discovers that he is too late and Maria is dead, a victim of a robbery and murder while driving in the country.

Harris’s poetic prose style lends itself to a one-night read. You will see, as I did, that putting this book down for even a moment is quite difficult. His prolific use of carefully placed similes, paints a vibrant palette of imagery bringing the reader into the story.

A debut novel, will cause a few white knuckle moments, you won’t want to miss it. Paul Harris is a novelist to watch and anxiously await his next book.

Cheri

Sometimes escaping from your zone can be rewarding
I, like many of the other reviewers, was unsure about this novel. I read to forget and achieve a sense of calm... and this book did not do that for me. It was fast-paced and the language kept me intrigued. I was horrified by the slums and constant warfare, but also felt it was described to help the story not bring shame to a country. I enjoyed this author and the many twists and turns his story afforded. I would highly recommend it to even the non-adventure espionage reader... sometimes escaping from your comfort zone can be rewarding! And this is a perfect example...try to read the first chapter and walk away!

Fred

The Secret Keeper
Mr.Harris kept me riveted from start to finish. I learned a lot about that war in Sierra Leone.

Hilary

Many Secrets to keep
This book captured my attention immediately. I've read books taking place in other African countries but not Sierra Leone - the author has done an excellent job of making you feel as if you are there - the heat, destructive forces of many types, the people - both powerful and powerless, the stress of wartime and the awful use of children in war, but also romance and friendship. The book is exciting and terrifying at the same time. I will look forward to other books by Paul Harris.

...29 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

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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