Narrator: Susan Erickson
Run Time: 12 hrs, 13 mins
An ongoing string of high-profile and very public murder-suicides has San Francisco even more rattled than a string of recent earthquakes: A flamboyant fashion designer burns to death, clutching the body of his murdered lover. A superstar 49er jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. And most shocking of all, a U.S. attorney launches her BMW off a highway overpass, killing herself and three others.Enter forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett, hired by the SFPD to cut open not the victim’s body, but the victim’s life. Jo’s job is to complete the psychological autopsy, shedding light on the circumstances of any equivocal death. Soon she makes a shocking discovery: All the suicides belonged to something called the Dirty Secrets Club, a group of A-listers with nothing but money and plenty to hide. As the deaths continue, Jo delves into the disturbing motives behind this shadowy group – until she receives a letter that contains a dark secret Jo thought she’d left deep in her past, a secret that ends with the most chilling words of all: Welcome to the Dirty Secrets Club.
I had previously heard about Meg Gardiner’s books in a mystery group, but this was the first time that I had ever actually read or listened to one of her books. My biggest complaint with the book in general (and I have mused about this before), is that apparently in order to be a strong successful women in the field that she is in, there has to have been some sort of tragedy in their past that influences her life. Jo Beckett, in The Dirty Secrets Club, is exactly the same – although, unlike previous books where the tragedy is revealled early on, in TDSC, you don’t find out about what happened until about half-way through. There are flash-backs here and there, but the full-story is eventually devolved and you can see why Jo is how she is. It is just pet peeve of mine, that it seems there is this perception in many mystery/thriller/suspense books that the women has to be damaged in order to be successful…But moving on – I liked the idea of the Dirty Secrets Club, where the exposure of your secret could be hugely detrimental to your life/career if it were to be divulged.
When it came to the audiobook narration, normally I am a huge fan of Susan Erickson’s narration – I mean, she does the In Death series by JD Robb (a la Nora Roberts) that I adore. But I think, I have listened to some of them too recently, because as I was listened to TDSC, I kept hearing Rourke and Eve in my head, instead of Jo and the cast of characters in TDSC. I’m not saying that the narration was bad, in fact, I liked it – I just didn’t feel like I was getting the whole Meg Gardiner experience while listening because I had the preconceived notions of Erickson’s narration because of my previous experiences. If I hadn’t had those experiences with her, I might not have had any issues with the narration.
I am curious enough to want to know more about Jo in the future and will either likely listen to at least the next book in the series, or pick it up and read it.