Fresh Fork Publishing
After the ultimate betrayal, what is more important: trust or forgiveness? In KEEP NO SECRETS, the controversial follow-up to Compton’s debut legal thriller TELL NO LIES, a district attorney struggles to redeem himself after a one-night stand four years before damaged his marriage and professional reputation.
After surviving the private and public fallout from a one-night stand four years before, St. Louis DA Jack Hilliard wants nothing more than to be trusted again by his wife, Claire, and to earn back the respect of the community he serves. Since the day Claire accepted him back into the family, he’s vowed to be true to these goals, and so far he’s succeeded.
But all of Jack’s efforts begin to crumble when the woman involved in his earlier downfall, Jenny Dodson, returns to town claiming threats on her life and asking for his help, and resurrecting for Jack long-buried emotions and questions of her guilt for the murder of a client. Just when he thinks the pressure can’t get any worse, his son’s girlfriend, Celeste, accuses him of sexual assault, and he suddenly finds himself on the wrong end of a criminal case, battling for his freedom.
Can Jack trust his freedom to the legal system on which he built his career? Or will the ghost of his one-night stand four years before come back to haunt him, causing him to be convicted on the mistakes of his past?
This is a follow story to Tell No Lies that is written so well that it really isn’t necessary to read the earlier book – but I think I will follow this one up as I enjoyed this read so much. A legal procedural, psychological narrative revolving around family, moral dilemmas and lies – by omission and little white lies to save face and family and reputations. Compton is able to construct a believable tension that ripples through this story – creating a tsunami of emotion, intrigue and hope that eventually Jack will be redeemed and all will be happy ever after.
I really enjoyed this book which spins a web of conspiratorial intrigue whilst subtly questioning our understanding of forgiveness, love and family. How do we truly forgive and move on? Can we love more than one person? Jack loves his wife, he loves his family, his children, his work, he also loves Jenny Dodd (but he won’t admit this even to himself) – how does he make sense of his world especially in a time of trouble, confusion and trial by media, a time when he really needs emotional support and unconditional love himself?
Compton creates believable and empathetic characters whose stories put the spotlight on child abuse and domestic violence and how these crimes impact on the individuals involved and the greater community. I loved Jack – his loyalty, his sense of family, his vulnerabilities, and his passion for justice. I felt for his wife and her attempts to construct normality and family after a situation of such great personal betrayal. She wants to forgive and go back to their idyllic life but through her responses (or lack of) we see how difficult it is to truly forgive; it is easy to say the words. I felt for all involved. Compton shows us life is not always easy, decisions are not always black and white and sometimes we have to acknowledge that we cannot repair all damage and moral dilemmas are dilemmas. A great read.