All Our Darkest Secrets by Martyn Ford

Published: September 1, 2021

Thomas & Mercer

I received a copy of this book for free and leave my review voluntarily.

Martyn Ford is a journalist and author from the UK. His debut middle-grade children’s book, The Imagination Box, was published by Faber & Faber in 2015 to critical acclaim and went on to become a trilogy. This was followed by 2019’s standalone title, Chester Parsons is Not a Gorilla. Every Missing Thing was his first novel for adult readers, published in 2020, and All Our Darkest Secrets is his second.

“… grief takes you to dark places if you’re not.”

James has been in love with Rosie since he first met her. Being best friends with her brother, Mathew, only sweetened the relationship. James is a DEA agent who has big plans to stop the illegal drug sales in his town, while Rosie is bullied by a boss she hates. When something unexpected happens, James finds himself making decisions he never expected… but he would do anything for Rosie. This is a love story, after all, right? Until death do they part.

Woof. This was a slow burn that turned into a raging inferno. Talk about Murphy’s Law- everything that could go wrong absolutely does.

I found the themes in this book fascinating. What is love? Is it unconditional? Relationships, familial, romantic, platonic, working, are all heavily displayed. The power of doing what’s right, telling the truth, and regret are all so profoundly intertwined throughout this novel.

The characters were well developed and interesting. James is a straight-laced DEA agent who wants to rid his city of illegal drugs. Rosie wants to have a baby. Nell wants to crush her last case before she retires. Edward wants it all.

I enjoyed how this story was told, alternating between the past and the present. The way details are revealed adds to the intensity and furthers the development of the characters and plot.

This is a twisted tale, a terrifying look at what happens when you have everything you need and nothing you want. The most unconventional love story I’ve read in quite some time. Through the twists, turns, lies, and the truth- a new perspective is waiting to be seen.

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