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Dirty Little Secret by Jonathan Peace [Book review]

To begin I would like to extend thanks to Jonathan Peace for offering me a copy of his novel Dirty Little Secret. I am so thankful that I have had a chance to read this book as WOW did it pack a punch! I was blown away by the story and cannot wait to share my review with you! First of all, lets find out a little more about the book....


Ossett, West Yorkshire. March, 1987.

A town of flower shows, Maypole parades and Sunday football games. But behind all the closed doors and drawn curtains are hidden truths and shameful lies.

Discovering the body of a young girl dumped into a phone box at a local beauty spot, WDC Louise Miller’s first case as detective in her hometown is made harder by the sexism and misogyny of small-town policing. But her four years on the force in Manchester have prepared her for this and along with ally WPC Elizabeth Hines, the pair work the case together.

As their inquiries uncover the towns hidden secrets, psychologist Karla Hayes offers insights into the troubled psychological problems of the victim, revealing dark truths that could lead to the identity of the killer.

But when a second girl goes missing, Louise realises that some secrets should stay hidden.

Including hers.

My thoughts

My goodness what a novel!! This story was absolutely full of suspense, mystery, strong female characters, misogynistic males in roles of power and thrills. Honestly I devoured it as quickly as I could, I couldn't put it down!

It tells the tale of Louise Miller, a Detective Constable in a small Yorkshire town, in the 80s, when females were not expected to do anything except tend house for their husbands. She has worked her way up into a position of power within the police force, despite the daily abuse and mockery she receives from her male counterparts. They fully expect her to fail at what she sets out to achieve, which makes her all the more determined to succeed.

"Decades of indoctrination from parents, schools and virtually everything else that touched their lives told them that women had two roles to perform; one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and that was it. Anything else shouldn't be considered and any woman who tried to do more should be ridiculed."

I thoroughly enjoyed watching her character attempt to fight the male misogyny in her role as detective. It is all the more shocking as we know it to be very true of the time, and no doubt it still occurs in many male dominated areas. I thought Jonathan wrote about the struggles of females within that role very well, he seemed to have a good insight into the troubles facing women trying to find their place in this world.

I absolutely loved Miller as a character, she was strong, bolshy, feisty and had a fighting spirit. She was not willing to be downtrodden and fought for her place in the precinct. Her no nonsense attitude was a pleasure to read and I found her a hugely likeable character. Not only was she having to fight the injustice of just being female in a male dominated world, her sexuality was also a barrier in those times. She epitomises the strength of women and I hope to see her character grow and develop in many more books.

She had a great relationship with members of the team, especially WPC Hines who is the only other female officer in the town. They work together to attempt to normalise their presence and earn the respect of their co-workers.

While many of the officers were typically despairing of the female officers, there were some who saw them as an asset to the team and wanted to see them thrive.

The murder enquiry itself was very clever, I didn't manage to figure out the murderer before the reveal, although I had my suspicions with a few characters! There were lots of twists along the way and many different characters involved, but it was cleverly wrapped up at the end.

I know that this book is the first in a series following the career of WDC Louise Miller, I can see that this series is going to become a firm favourite of mine. I even think it could be up there with the Kay Scarpetta Series by Patricia Cornwell, another absolute favourite of mine. I certainly hope to read more by this author and I highly recommend you too grab a copy of this book when it is published!

You can pre-order your copy here:

Publisher: Crime Publishing Network Available In: Paperback, E-book, Hardback Published: September 10th 2021

About the Author

Jonathan Peace is a husband, cat-dad and author of the WDC Louise Miller novels.

A Yorkshire lad at heart, Jonathan sets his novels in a fictionalised version of his hometown of Ossett during the late '80’s and '90's. His first crime novel, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET, book one of the WDC Louise Miller series, landed him the Peter James Bursary from the Crime Writers’ Association, resulting in a full membership to the CWA.

He is currently writing the second in the series.

He now lives and works out of his home in Derbyshire, where he shares his writing office with his author wife, Lucy, and their three cats.

Will this be one that you add to your TBR? I really hope you do as I cannot recommend it enough! It had me gripped from the beginning and I cannot wait for more!

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