Book Review: One Little Secret

07.09.2019 | Crooked Lane Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


A getaway to a secluded glass beach house was supposed to be the trip that Susan dreamed of for so long. This trip was her chance to get to know her new neighbors by bonding over some kid-free time. The three couples quickly notice that not everything is how it seems at home for those around them. Marital tensions and work frustrations begin to slowly come to the surface on the first night thanks to the influence of alcohol.

It seems someone let out a secret they should have left hidden. The next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the beach near the house. Local detective Gabby Watkins is put on the case and quickly discovers these families are more connected than meets the eye. The answers are there for Gabby to find, but will the secret spiral and lead to more chaos before the killer is identified?


Cate Holahan’s ONE LITTLE SECRET is a fantastic modern take on a locked room mystery. The reader finds themselves slowly getting to know the three couples who have come together for a relaxing stay at a glass beach house. This trip should be the ultimate getaway, but unfortunately the secrets these couples are keeping bring the trip down in flames. The seclusion of the beach house drives home the feelings of tension between the group, as the only logical explanation is that one of them is the killer.

Holahan chooses to wisely unfold the story between alternating timelines, giving the reader a glimpse into the day of the murder and the day after when the body was discovered. I instantly was intrigued by what was happening in both timelines. In conjunction with alternating the timelines, Holahan also chooses to focus on different couples with these switches. You might be in the middle of learning something about Susan in one chapter and then the next you’ll start to learn about Ben or Jenny. These swaps allows the interconnectedness of the couples to truly shine through. The reader starts to build up their sense of each couple and have those aha moments where you have discovered a link between characters that wasn’t obvious before.


Despite being a book that is heavier on the family drama than the gore, there are still plenty unsettling things either described or hinted at. For those weary of reading about domestic abuse or discussions of rape allegations, I caution you that they are featured in this book. Holahan does a brilliant job of showing the rawness and horror associated with each of these instances, but stays away from becoming overly graphic and changing the mood of the story to a much darker tale. I appreciate that she didn’t brush them aside, but used them to fuel the ultimate end goal of her story.

ONE LITTLE SECRET is a perfect book for fans of BIG LITTLE LIES! It has all the woven together family drama that fans of that style of book or television show will appreciate. I highly recommend adding this one to your TBR for a great bingeable read!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: A huge thank you to Crooked Lane Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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