Blood, Lies, & Secrets – When Nightmares Become Reality
By Frankie Jay
I received a copy of Blood, Lies, and Secrets by Frankie Jay in exchange for an honest review. I have been reading a lot of fantasy and romance lately so I jumped on the chance for something a little grittier. This book did not disappoint. At a little over 400 pages, it was a very powerful read. You might want to read something else a bit lighter at the same time to take a break and breathe a little. This book is not for the faint of heart nor someone not wanting to read about the depravity and cruelty of humans. This book is raw, exactly because it tells the stories of abuse we don’t want to believe. The reader cannot help but empathize with the characters who had endured so much. How could they possibly be anything except angry at the world?
This story starts out with the action and explanation of a horrific nightmare and builds the character vividly. The story continues to build believable and real characters from there just as well with dialog and lifelike scenes. Other details are sprinkled in with an innate ability to clearly paint an image, like p.14 “Scotty stood six-foot-two, weighed two hundred penitentiary pounds, and had an intimidating demeanor.”
The details are not just for characters but in the action scene. Whether you want to witness the abuse or not, you can taste the blood and smell the scents. Scenes play out and they seem completely reasonable as we see and feel every moment. Suddenly we’re aware that these horrible things that people do to each other can happen in a heartbeat, regardless of the regrets afterwards. Through these scenes, whether drinking at a buddy’s house or schmoozing at a cookout, the reader really begins to understand these characters. The empathy grows steadily.
Some readers may benefit from a trigger warning as the story certainly is filled with dark scenes (as you might imagine from the title!) but the author manages to create the scenes vividly and yet not have come across as filled with gore, brain splatter notwithstanding. Anyone concerned with sexually explicit or violent scenes should not read this book and thus it is not appropriate for schools or most children.
I love how the story has so many parallel story lines and all of these are wrapped up in a believable way. I was surprised by a football player and his role at the very end. I love books that have a few twists I don’t see coming.
I do strongly recommend this book for anyone looking for a gritty and rough read. The writing is well done, but the scenes and the truth are rough. This book stars the nightmares that we call human beings.