Review: No One Needs to Know – Really!

51zobcz2ll-_sx273_bo1204203200_NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW Written by Kevin O’Brien

2015; 419 Pages (Pinnacle)

Genre: mystery, suspense, thriller

(I received an ARC from NetGalley).

Rating: ★★★ 

The first book I finished for August 2015 turned out to be a bit disappointing.  No One Needs to Know is a suspense thriller written by Seattle writer Kevin O’Brien. The premise of the novel was right up my alley, but the execution of the plot fell a bit flat.

First, we meet Laurie Trotter – a widowed single mother working as a cook/waitress at the local diner, has a stalker.  Not just any stalker, but the man who she had a brief fling with 2 years ago, while her husband was off fighting for his family and country.  To escape the situation she moves to Seattle and manages to get a catering job with Cheryl.  Cheryl, meantime, has lost her former employee to an explosion of her food truck that was really not an accident.  Insert a hitwoman, cult leader and a very large set of secondary characters that don’t always fit in the plot. Oh, and did I mention the Holbrooks? They come later and I’m still wondering about them.

In the 1970s an actress, her musician husband, son and nanny are brutally murdered by a cult that later commits mass suicide.  (Nope, not the Manson Family.) Now, some 40 years later a writer puts out a screenplay about the “truth” behind the murders that will “blow the lid off” everything!  The movie, like many other horror films, is fraught with bad luck and Laurie is starting to believe she may have put herself, and young son, further in danger.

I don’t think this was a horrible book but it seemed to lack a bit cohesion and ran on a bit too long.  We are given so many suspects and red herrings that when we get to the climax we already have it figured out.  Too many characters, story lines and uneven pacing often had me putting down the book to try and figure out what’s happening (and so I lost a bit of the scary thriller and edge of your seat suspense feeling). I just felt by 2/3 of the book I didn’t care as there was too much going on but enough loose ties beginning to come together. I do like what O’Brien was trying to do (cold case mystery tying in with the present) and enjoyed parts of the novel where he was able to create suspense.

Honestly, for great West Coast suspense I would recommend a Rick Mofina novel.

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