Without doubt the wonderful thing about being involved in discussion forums on the internet is the amount of books, authors and literature you are introduced to, novels that you would never have read if you had not been made aware of them by fellow reading enthusiasts and Blood Secrets by Craig Jones is a great example. This is a story that was first published in 1978 by a virtual unknown author and it is probably true to say he was never able to better this short and shocking piece of writing.
It is always a pleasure to read a book from many years ago and to appreciate how relevant, good and enjoyable it is today as it was on first publication. As I read the cover “blurb” on this corgi edition I notice with some amusement a warning highlighted in bold red which stated “Request from the Publisher under no circumstances should you reveal the plot of this book to anyone” If you were standing in a bookshop and read this informative and puzzling “red alert” most likely a purchase would follow and I can only surmise and applaud this intelligent piece of marketing by an alert publisher!
So what is the story about? Am I allowed to enlighten you dear reader?.....well to a point but like all those who have gone before me I will only mention the salient facts and outline the plot and leave you to search out and purchase your own copy (please note I am in no way connected to the publisher! but for a few pennies you can enjoy a great novel with a “truly horrendous and yet dazzling climax”)
Irene and Frank are college sweethearts who meet and marry and within that 19 years of marriage they have one daughter Regina. However as the title Blood Secrets implies there is hidden depth to this tale and those secrets are within the relationships of not only Irene and Frank but also their families. For a first novel it is quite astounding how Craig Jones is able to lead and tease the reader and force you to make certain assumptions only to destroy everything you presumed was true. This is best summed up within an article that appeared in Publisher Weekly “.......about three-quarters of the way through you will begin to think that you have arrived at the most frightening “secret” of all. There is more in store for you, however, and it won’t help solve the ultimate puzzle even though you know from the first sentence in the book that the narrator is on trial for murder. The psychological insight here is convincing, the denouement devastating.”
So a great recommendation from me, easy to find a second hand copy on the internet or for those who would prefer a brand new edition the wonderful Valancourt Books have recently republished.