Sam and Mason both experienced the tragic loss of a parent and sibling in 1968. But while Mason had a happy childhood, Sam was left in the care of an abusive grandfather and a grandmother who does nothing to stop it. Both of them deal with secrets and lies in their lives and come to learn that sometimes secrets can get you killed.
Secrets Can Be Deadly is told from two perspectives. Sam’s is in first person, and Mason’s in third. This does a wonderful job of helping the reader keep track of whose story they are reading, and also allows for a deeper understanding of both. While Mason has a large social group (his father, a serious girlfriend, a job as a police officer, and four childhood friends), Sam is very much alone and has no one to confide in but a diary.
Mason’s story is also set solely in the novel’s present day (1980), whereas the reader gets to see Sam grow and change from an emotionally weak child to an angry adult.
The story starts off with a mystery – two, really, if you want to get technical. Who is sending Mason cryptic messages about secrets from his family’s past, and what exactly are those hinted at secrets? While the mystery takes center stage in Mason’s life, and Sam’s life is shown to be incredibly bleak, the book sucks you in, wanting desperately to know how Sam and Mason are connected other than by both experiencing a tragedy early in life, what sort of “skeletons” are in their family closets, and what is going to happen to both of them and the cast of supporting characters.
You can read the rest of my review at my blog: http://readerlymusings.com/2013/11/12/book-review-secrets-can-be-deadly-by-nancy-roe/