Monday, January 27, 2020

Review: The Secrets we Bury by Debra Webb

The Secrets we Bury (The Undertaker's Daughter, Book #1)
by Debra Webb
Release Date: April 30th 2019
2019 MIRA
Kindle Edition; 432 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778308300
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Doctor Rowan Dupont knows death. She grew up surrounded by it in her family’s Victorian funeral home, and it’s haunted her since the day her twin sister drowned years ago. Between her mother’s subsequent suicide and the recent murder of her father, coming home to run the funeral home feels fitting—even if it leaves her vulnerable to an obsessive serial killer.

Rowan refuses to let fear keep her from honoring her family. But the more time she spends back in Winchester, Tennessee, the more she finds herself questioning what really happened that fateful summer. Had her sister’s death truly been an accident? And what pushed their mother to take her own life? The dark lake surrounding Rowan’s hometown holds as many secrets as the bodies that float in its chilling depths. But Rowan is running out of time if she’s going to uncover the truth before somebody sinks her for good.

My Thoughts
The Secrets we Bury is the first book in a planned trilogy, featuring Dr. Rowan Dupont, a profiler for the Nashville Police Department, who becomes embroiled in a case that sends her home to lick her wounds and recover from some serious downfall.  This case is featured in a novella called The Undertaker's Daughter; I suggest you read it before reading this trilogy as it gives some much needed background information that isn't fully explained in the first book.

First of all, I am not a fan of weak, insipid female characters, but I am also not a fan of stupid either and while I liked Rowan at times, there were times when I could have happily called her out on a few things.  Being such an experienced profiler, working for the Nashville Police Department all those years, you would have thought she would have learned a thing or two.  When things go bump in the night over and over again, when things go missing or are misplaced all of the time, you can't just chalk it up to a faulty memory and shrug it off.  Dumbest suspense trick in the book.  People tend to be creatures of habit and I know that if I put my keys in the drawer every night, like clockwork, and every night, they ended up somewhere else in my house, I would not be questioning my sanity, but something else.  And getting some good security cameras.  And when things go seriously awry for Rowan, and she needs security detail to keep her safe, what does she do? She ditches them to go investigating.  Smart move.  Apparently being extremely well educated and growing up around death doesn't give you an advantage when it comes to making better decisions as I found myself shaking my head a lot over her actions.  I didn't dislike Rowan as a character though, I just wish the author wouldn't use some of the old tactics to create suspense as I didn't think they were necessary; the story itself had a great premise and could easily have been suspenseful without the gimmicks.

So, let's talk about the actual plot line. Like I've already mentioned, it really helps to have read the novella that opens up this trilogy.  And while I wish the novella had been a full book just to flesh out the characters a bit more, there was enough in there to get a really good idea of Julian's character and how dangerous he could be.  I thought the plot moved along quickly enough, but it was rather easy to figure out who the murderer was in this book.  Therefore, I did find it a bit predictable and there were so many coincidences. Not a big fan of those either.  I really liked the premise of the book, but I don't think it liked up to its full potential.  What did intrigue me were the secrets in that old house. I like secrets and I love watching characters search for clues to hidden pasts and secrets they didn't know anything about, and there seems to be a big secret in Rowan's past.  Big hints were given and this is what intrigues me.  Not the silly things that Rowan does that gets good people killed.  I have no sympathy for her in these situations.  Billy, though, I liked a lot. In case you're wondering, Billy is the possible love interest, the police office, of course. Could you have predicted that one?

The Secrets We Bury was not one of the best books by this author, but it was strong enough that I will probably read the next book in this trilogy as I am intrigued by secrets.  Because it is part of a trilogy however, the conclusion is not exactly what you would expect and a lot of things are not yet revealed. This is not something I mind, but I know it does bother some readers. Would I recommend this one? I think this is one you really have to read for yourself and see what you think.


  1. Hmm seems like it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Thanks for sharing your thoughts