Book Review: Every Last Secret

This fabulously compulsive page-turner is a smart, sassy lesson in jealousy, ruthlessness and obsession, proving that glamour and wealth don’t always go hand-in-hand with classy behaviour.  Brace yourself for a hell of a cat fight!

suspense | thriller | mystery

Rating: 4 out of 5.

the blurb

Welcome to the neighborhood. Watch your husband, watch your friends, and watch your back.

Cat Winthorpe has worked hard to get what she has: a gorgeous home; social standing; and William, her successful, handsome husband. Then a friendly new couple moves into the estate next door. While cautious, a good neighbor like Cat greets them with open arms and warm hospitality.

Neena Ryder isn’t a fellow lady of leisure. A life coach with off-the-rack dresses, personal issues, and a husband who hasn’t delivered, she’s anxious to move up in the world. This beautiful new town is a step in the right direction. It’s also making Neena aware of what she doesn’t have. Namely, William. When Neena’s infatuation escalates into obsession, it’s just a matter of eliminating a few obstacles to get the life she wants. The life next door.

As Neena’s secret fixation grows, so does her friendship with Cat. But beneath their cordial interactions is a wealth of temptations, secrets, and toxic jealousy. For both women, the desire for a perfect life can turn perfectly dangerous.

Author A.R. Torre | Published by Thomas & Mercer on 14th January 2021 | 389 Pages (kindle)

my thoughts

Every Last Secret opens in a police interview room, with one of the main characters being questioned about an attempted murder.  We revisit this scenario on three more occasions, and each time it creates an intriguing present-day scenario that will frame your perception of the story as it unfolds in the intervening chapters.  The story is narrated by the book’s two main characters – Cat Winthorpe, and Neena Ryder – with chapters swapping between the two women, recounting the events in the four months leading up to that police interview.

The book is set in the ultra-affluent San Francisco suburb of Atherton, where the average home has it’s own cinema, gym, indoor (and outdoor) pool, and a small army of staff.  ‘To have and to hold’, takes on a whole new meaning amongst the diamond-encrusted women in this elitist community, and social gatherings are a combat sport. 

Neena and Matt Ryder are the two newcomers, moving-in to the one blot on an otherwise perfectly manicured landscape. Rather than celebrate this five-year-vacant home finally facing improvement, their new neighbours chalk this up as the first black mark against the couple.  Matt has worked hard to establish and grow his demolition business, and would do absolutely anything to keep his very-surgically-enhanced (another black mark) wife happy.  Unlike the other wives of Atherton, Neena has to work (yet another black mark) and has just started a new job at Winthorpe Technologies as their Director of Motivation. 

Cat and William Winthorpe are the neighbourhood’s golden couple; stinkingly rich, extremely gorgeous, members of all the right societies and clubs … but there’s one thing neither their wealth nor their influence can buy. Winthorpe Technologies is one of their companies, and it’s on the cusp of elevating this seemingly perfect couple from mere multi-millionaires to the infinitely preferable status of billionaires.  Right now, they’re managing to scrape by with a second home in Hawaii, a private jet, and a Ferrari in the garage … being kept company by a handful of other supercars. Oh, and they live right next-door to the Ryders!

Whilst Cat has almost everything she could possibly want, Neena is at the smash-and-grab stage of a ruthless social ascent. Killer heels double-up as elegant climbing spikes as she strives to make her way up the ladder … and she’s got her seductively-shadowed eyes set fast on the boy next-door: William. 

Broken women cannot be held accountable for their actions

As the book progresses it gradually reveals and enriches the back stories of both couples, and you’ll feel yourself being urged to choose a ‘side’.  Drip by drip, intriguing little morsels are woven into the fabric of the two women’s narratives … a breadcrumb trail of snippets that’ll shift and distort how you respond to the ensuing scenarios.  The more I got know the two women, the less likeable they became.  Insidious secrets are dragged to the fore; some hardened my dislike, some inspired pity, others aroused suspicion … each of them dropped into the story by the author with superb timing, designed to keep the reader guessing.

The final two chapters of the book come with a twist.  Narrated by Cat and William, they deliver a bitter sweet ending, with a sting that will flip your opinion of one of the characters on its head.

Sharpen your claws … Every Last Secret is an enormously addictive thriller that’ll raise your hackles and draw you into to a monumental bitch fight.  Only one character could be described as likeable, and yet it’s impossible not to engage with everyone in the story.  It’s like watching a famously-catty reality television show … one that has a full-on Dallas glamour budget.  Hugely compulsive and highly recommended.

Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre

Every Last Secret is available to pre-order now from Waterstones in paperback and audiobook formats, and Amazon in paperback, kindle and audiobook formats.

author bio

Alessandra Torre A.R.Torre author

A.R.Torre is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Alessandra Torre. Torre is an award-winning bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Torre has been featured in such publications as Elle and has guest-blogged for the Huffington Post. In addition to writing, Torre is the creator of Alessandra Torre Ink, a website, community, and online school for aspiring authors.

You can connect with Alessandra on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Every Last Secret

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