Warner, June 2004, 24.00, 308 pp.
Miranda is the pretty self-confident one that most people envy because she has her life together dating whom she wants and working at a job she loves. At a party she meets Brendan Brock and they go out together eight times before she decides to end it because there is something about him that makes her uneasy. One night she comes home to find him in her room reading her diary; she ends their relationship right then.
A few weeks, Miranda's sister Kerry asks her to meet her for lunch. At the restaurant Kerry tells Miranda that she is in love. Brendan enters and tells her they are a couple and not to be angry with him because he broke up with Miranda. She lets the conversation slide and the next thing she knows the two of them are moving into her apartment until they could find one of their own. Miranda realizes that Brendan is obsessed with hurting her because she dumped him but even she doesn't know that he will turn her whole family into believing she is crazy person. Or that he will kill those she loves and nobody will believe her.
SECRET SMILE is the story of a sociopath who insinuates himself into the life of a fairly happy family and destroys them because one of the members rejected him. Nicci French is brilliant at creating characters one loves to hate and pity but she also excels at telling a story that is frightening in its normalcy, a key theme for a fantastic work of psychological suspense.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner