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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What took me so long?
I read Nicci French's `LAND OF THE LIVING' over two years ago and was so rapt by it that I read it in one day. Yet for reasons unknown it took me over two years to pick up another one of her books and again I was completely rapt by it! Nicci French knows how to write suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting more.
`SECRET SMILE'...
Published on 9 Feb. 2006 by DevJohn01

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I found this book really frustrating. While reading it ( and by now, you will know its plot) I kept asking myself why Miranda let Brendan stay in her flat ( come on, she's terrified of this guy!!) and then, when she has let him stay, why she doesn't have a lock on her bedroom door or the bathroom (!!). As things get worse, is it likely that the detective becomes so...
Published on 10 Nov. 2007 by Silverflora


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What took me so long?, 9 Feb. 2006
By 
DevJohn01 (Somerset, NJ) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
I read Nicci French's `LAND OF THE LIVING' over two years ago and was so rapt by it that I read it in one day. Yet for reasons unknown it took me over two years to pick up another one of her books and again I was completely rapt by it! Nicci French knows how to write suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting more.
`SECRET SMILE' kept me completely frustrated as the heroine Miranda tries to no avail to convince friends, family and the authorities that her ex-semi-boyfriend Brendan, who has now re-insinuated himself into her life as her sisters new fiancé, is not the sweet and caring man that everyone believes him to be. Brendan has quite easily convinced everyone close to Miranda that they had a bad breakup and that she took it very hard, when in actuality after a brief courtship Miranda ended it with him. Now those closest to Miranda believe that she is the one that is obsessed and slowly turn against her. After a series of tragedies Miranda does succumb to an obsession of Brendan, however she is now obsessed with revenge and a determination not to let him hurt anyone else.
One thing that puzzled me about this book was how easily it was for Miranda's family and friends to turn against her and take the word of this virtual stranger over hers. On the other hand, it did not seem as though Miranda tried her hardest to convince anyone of her story for fear of them not believing her. No matter how plausible this stranger's story may be, if my daughter, sister or friend felt that they were in danger I would have to be inclined to at least look into it. For this reason and this reason only I give this book 4 instead of 5 stars because all other aspects including the twist at the end kept me riveted. Surely it will not be another two years before I pick up another one of this authors books!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Smile, 27 Mar. 2004
By 
Tabatha Stirling (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Secret Smile (Hardcover)
Nicci French (husband and wife team) have found a niche for themselves in the psychological thriller. I belive one of the reasons for their success is the obvious attention to detail. They also manage to elicit empathy in the reader. However appalling the anti-hero is, we are interested in them. Brendan Block is a compelling character - and any woman who has had an experience with a sociopath will recognize with dread the tell-tale signs of obsession.
I also enjoyed Miranda's descent into depression and that powerless feeeling of not being credible in other's eyes.
Her friendship's with other women were, for me, the only low point of the novel. I find it hard to belive that an extremely close female friend would be unable to support another woman's anxiety about an 'ex'.
Saying that - I read this in one day - swept along by Miranda's personal 'Tempest' and her desperate efforts to make sense of her world that cracks under the weight of a strangers' insanity.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Smile while reading wasn't a Secret!, 6 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
After discovering Nicci French in 2000 with 'Beneath the Skin' I was hooked and devoured all her novels as quickly as possible. Then after reading 'Land of the Living' I found I was a little disappointed. It didn't do anything for me. Because of this set back I held back from reading Secret Smile, the premise (woman breaks up with boyfriend, he then gets with sister) didn't thrill me so much. However when I had a long train journey ahead of me and I found this at my local library I thought, why not?
Boy, am I glad I got it! I felt this was Nicci French returning to form and is now my favourite French novel. It is so simple and basic and yet chilling. I love the fact that the events of the novel could really happen and aren't at all over the top and unbelievable. It's a simple story that gathers pace and excitement, becoming more and more sinister as it does. The ending is also truly inspired! Good old French never lets us down with a good ending and a little twist!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nailbiting stuff, 18 July 2004
By 
felicemorigel - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Secret Smile (Hardcover)
The premise for this new Nicci French novel is pretty simple - Miranda's deranged ex-boyfriend (indeed, he barely even qualifies for the term ex-boyfriend, as their "relationship" lasted a whole eight days before she came to her senses and dumped him), unable to tolerate her rejection, insinuates himself into the life of her family and embarks on a series of terrifying mind-games. I'm not sure how believable it really is - Brendan is SO unspeakably awful that you (a) want to punch him and (b) can't credit the way that nobody else appears to notice his awfulness. We don't really learn much about the reasons for his appalling behaviour... a couple of glimpses into his family background reveal very little of any significance.
What Nicci French does exceptionally well is to evoke an oppressive atmosphere of fear and, above all, of Miranda's frustration and horror at the nightmarish situation she has found herself in. It's easy to put yourself in her place and experience the rage and helplessness at being caught in the web created by Brendan - and being unable to find anybody at all to believe her.
"Secret Smile" is a fast, gripping read, although I did find the ending slightly disappointing and the "twist" a little bit pedestrian. Generally, though, if you have a taste for psychological thrillers, particularly written from the viewpoint of a woman, I would certainly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Sept. 2006
By 
Sian Louise (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
This is my favourite Nicci French book so far..(I have only read 4 or 5 so far though) And I loved this!

Every girls worst nightmare...an ex boyfriend who won't go away.

Brandon the ex boyfriend in this book is so creepy and is extremely well written that I got goosebumps every time he whispered something inappropiate and got away with it.

Also the fact that I watched the programme on ITV based on this book and I can say David Tennant creeps me out even more than what he used to lol

I recommend this book definately!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And here's another one., 26 July 2005
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
Not quite as good as ealier books but still very absorbing, I have read it more than once and still enjoy it every time.
The main character was a little annoying but I could still relate to her and the awful things that happened to her were just so beleiveable it gave me goose bumps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, stayed up all night reading this, just could not put it down., 1 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
Reading others reviews I've only just realised that this was also a tv programme starring David Tennent as Brendan. I vaguely remember watching it and being menaced by it and the character he played. The book, is just as good, if not better. Now I'm desperately trying to find a copy of this on DVD.

The book was gripping and once I picked it up, I just needed to know what happened and how it ended so I ended up reading it for 3 hours straight!!

You really go on the rollercoaster ride with Miranda, from feeling disgusted by his comments, to feeling frustrated at her family and friends 'ignorance' to what was actually going on, to thinking she's losing it, she needs to let go...but hoping at the same time that she doesn't.

The end is superb, and I certainly didn't see it coming.

Great great book and I completely recommend it. If the rest of her books are half as good as this one, I'll be checking out the library for more Nicci French reads.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars revenge is gratifying, 3 Oct. 2009
By 
Alexander Bryce (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
This has it all: mystery, cruelty, suspense and a satisfying ending. A page turner thriller . The best of this genre.
The heroine,Miranda is attractive, up beat and thoroughly likable ; the sort that anyone would like to have as a friend or lover. The villain, Brendan is a smarmy creep, devoid of any morality but loaded with charm ; the sort no one would want for an enemy.
As the fascinating story unfolds we get to know them well and to meet her friends and her rather sad family. All fully developed, three dimensional and most of all utterly real characters who add to the readers total involvement in this very believable and yes frightening tale.
She has good reason to suspect murder or more precisely murders. We are with her all the way along her lonely and mostly frustrating search for justice and just when we feel all is lost.........!! Well buy it and enjoy the ending as much as I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
I found this book really frustrating. While reading it ( and by now, you will know its plot) I kept asking myself why Miranda let Brendan stay in her flat ( come on, she's terrified of this guy!!) and then, when she has let him stay, why she doesn't have a lock on her bedroom door or the bathroom (!!). As things get worse, is it likely that the detective becomes so friendly with Brendan, he arranges a formal meeting at the police station to get Miranda to stop stalking Brendan in the presence of lawyers?. And how could Miranda's family so totally ignore her allegations? How crazy is that?

In summary, the plotting is useless. What redeems this novel is the excellent writing, which draws you in and makes you read it to the end. What a shame that as you're reading, you are constantly thinking "how unlikely is this?". Unlikely enough for me NOT to buy another of their books.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Riveting, 9 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Secret Smile (Paperback)
Having seen the televisation before having read the book (a cardinal sin, I know), I was interested to find out that there was a book that it was based on.
I found the book most enjoyable and, even though I knew most of the basic storyline, there were many twists and turns that were not included in the TV version... such as finding out exactly what the 'secret smile' actually is!
The book ending was a little disappointing compared to the TV version, but since it's told in first person it would have been nigh on impossible.
Excellent read, would definitely recommend.
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Secret Smile
Secret Smile by Nicci French (Paperback - 23 Sept. 2004)
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