One Last Secret by Adele Parks

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One Last Secret by Adele Parks

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A cracker of a thriller and written from an unusual angle. It had me gripped from the first page and never stopped surprising me.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: July 2022
Publisher: HQ
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008395636

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Natalya is an escort. Well, her name's not actually Natalya: that's her professional name but it is a nod to her Serbian heritage. She's actually thirty-one-year-old Teodora Dziewulski, usually known as Dora Wulski. If you're thinking of 'escort' as being a polite description of a prostitute, run by a pimp, who's turning tricks to fund a drug habit, forget it. Dora is a professional in all senses of the word. She has an agent, Elspeth, who takes 30% of her income and deals with the payments but checks out the clients to see that Dora is going to be safe. Dora describes herself as a self-employed clairvoyant to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

She's always immaculately dressed for her appointments and, generally, her clients are good to her. Daniel is one of her favourites. He's ostensibly there for the sex but Dora thinks that he really wants to talk about Sisi, his sister-in-law with whom she suspects he's in love. Three or four appointments a week are what Dora's comfortable with as she goes out of her way to make the time special for her client, so she was reluctant when Elspeth asked her to do back-to-back appointments. One of her existing clients had made a recommendation – and Dora obliged. She came home – via the hospital – badly injured.

Evan isn't a client. He and Dora have never slept together but they're best friends and have been for quite some time. Evan's wealthy but he can relax with Dora as she doesn't see him as a meal ticket. She does suspect that he's a bit in love with her – and when he sees how badly injured she is he says that she should stop being an escort. They should get married. Dora's vulnerable but still feels happy at the thought and Evan gives her a ring just before he flies off on business for a week. When she's offered a week's work in the south of France, with no sex involved, she decides to take it.

I did so want Dora to refuse the work: she didn't need the money but Daniel was insistent that she go as his girlfriend. It seemed such an innocent thing to do and he'd been a good client. It's the constant quandary of the immigrant: will the good luck last? Wouldn't it be better to make certain that you have some money behind you for when he tires of you, six, twelve months down the line?

Some books grip you before you get to the bottom of the first page and this is one of them. I didn't just like Dora, I respected her for the choices she made. I might have done differently but I could see why she was where she was. She was making the best of the situation. There were occasions when she was abused but that wasn't the feeling you got about her job. It makes for a brilliant background to a story about sex, wealth and power but, most of all, it's about revenge and you'll be constantly surprised about who is exacting the revenge. It was a great read and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you'd like more from Adele Parks, we can recommend Both of You.

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