One Last Secret by Adele Parks: A tension-packed plot – book review –

One Last Secret by Adele ParksOne Last Secret by Adele Parks
One Last Secret by Adele Parks
Dora works as a ‘top-of-the-range’ escort girl in London, but now she has found her true love and is packing in her ‘job’ to get married.

She has just one more, strictly secret, assignment for her regular client Daniel… posing as his girlfriend for a few days at a luxurious chateau in the south of France. It should an easy piece of role-play for the experienced Dora, but one of the guests is known to her and he poses a danger more deadly than she could ever have imagined.

Adele Parks, the writing phenomenon who now has twenty-one superb novels to her name in as many years, proves that she deserves every accolade which comes her way with this blisteringly dark and brilliantly observed exploration of sex, power, money and revenge.

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With her silky writing skills, masterful grasp of characterisation, and ability to tease, please and deceive her readers, Parks sweeps us into the fascinating and complex life of the adorable realist Dora, a young woman who knows ‘money is power’ and is ready to ‘play the game.’

She didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming an escort but it has become her way of paying the bills and it’s a job she does well and professionally. At the age of 31, Dora earns enough to indulge in high-end beauty treatments to help her look like ‘the angel’ that she knows she certainly isn’t.

But after a frightening experience with a rogue client who left her needing hospital treatment for her injuries, Dora is comforted by her long-time friend Evan, the most ‘sympathetic, humane being’ she has ever had the good fortune to encounter.

Dora regards Evan’s life as ‘shiny perfection’ but he is a ‘trust fund baby.’ Set to inherit millions from his wealthy businessman father, Evan lives in a world far removed from all the childhood hardships and privations that Dora has experienced but never talked about.

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And when he sees Dora’s injuries, Evan drops a bombshell… he loves her and wants to marry but she must give up her risky escort work. Although being rich has never really mattered to Dora, being valued does and in Evan, she has found someone she loves and trusts and she accepts his proposal.

But when Evan leaves for a week-long business trip to Hong Kong, she is contacted by Daniel, one of her favourite former clients, who wants her to accompany him as his girlfriend on a five-day stay at a French chateau. A trip that includes private chefs, tennis and time by the pool should be a straightforward final job for Dora and give her some money to secretly squirrel away.

Smart, stunning and discreet, Dora is used to being whatever men want her to be and this trip will be all about putting on a front for one last time. But when Dora arrives at the chateau, nothing is what it seems and she finds herself face to face with a man she has never forgotten, the one man who really knows her.

And as old secrets surface, it becomes terrifyingly apparent that one last secret could cost Dora her life…

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One Last Secret is a deeply fascinating and mesmerising story, one that grips from the arresting opening lines right through to the final, gut-punching twist, and is a classic example of this astute author’s forensic eye for the complexity of lives and relationships.

Each character in this coruscating, twisting and turning drama is drawn to absolute perfection and the smart and sassy Dora proves to be one of her most memorable protagonists yet… a realist and a survivor, she has a backstory that unfolds revealingly amidst the menace that threatens to overwhelm her on her secret last fling.

With a tension-packed plot that peers into the murky, mysterious corners of escort work, and a thrilling cast of characters, Parks’ emotionally powerful and immaculately researched novel is as clever as it is utterly gripping.

(HQ, hardback, £14.99)

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