Original Secrets – Shawn McGuire

*I received a free ARC of this book.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

OriginalSecrets_Cover_Low_ResBlurb:  The Northwoods village of Whispering Pines used to be a safe haven for outsiders, but after three deaths in two months, it’s become a hotbed of murder.

Exhausted from being the only law enforcement official on duty while also trying to open the bed-and-breakfast, Jayne O’Shea welcomes the escape she finds in her grandmother’s journals. Each entry gives her a deeper understanding of why her grandparents moved to the secluded spot so long ago. But as questions are answered, deeply hidden secrets are unearthed.

If Jayne can put all the pieces together, she’ll catch a killer whose been wandering the village for forty years.


I really enjoyed reading this third installment of practical cop Jayne’s adventures amongst the kooky conclave of misfits that inhabit the village of Whispering Pines, but I confess to a sense of disappointment by the end.

Don’t get me wrong, the characters and plot are strong; the romance natural and sweet; and the tone and pacing remind me very much of Sue Grafton’s ‘Alphabet’ series, with many similarities between Kinsey and Jayne in terms of their efficient work ethic and emotional distance.

Likewise, there are some big twists and turns, and finally some long-awaited answers to some of the questions in the wider story arc.

This is actually where the novel did not quite work for me.  The build-up has been climactic over the course of the series to this point and the clues have been perfectly drip-fed to intrigue and puzzle; and then, no spoilers, but I found the eventual big reveals to be somewhat anticlimactic against the explosions I had been expecting.  I wanted more ‘woo-woo’ magic, baddies to turn out to be misunderstood and goodies to have hidden darker depths.

Also, I was somewhat taken aback at Jayne’s quickness to label certain people that she disliked as ‘scum’ and dismiss their motivations as unreasonable, at points where I actually felt quite a bit of sympathy for them as an outside observer.

As a result, I was gripped throughout this novel, reading the whole thing in one sitting at breakneck speed, on the edge of my seat.  Then sat back afterwards with a slight sense of deflation.  I am glad that the author assures that there are further secrets to come, and hope that they increase in intensity and impact as the series progresses.


It seemed that because nothing matched, it all went together perfectly.  Like the herb bundles in Morgan’s shop.  Or the people who lived in this village.

– Shawn McGuire, Original Secrets

For my reviews of Family Secrets and Kept Secrets (Whispering Pines Books 1 & 2) try here and here respectively.

For more from Shawn McGuire, check out her website here, or you can contact her on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.




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