Parallel Secrets

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
311 Pages
Reviewed on 12/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

A case of a child going missing in Walkers Corner, Missouri instantly attracts the attention of former news reporter Vicky Robeson. The circumstances surrounding young Rose Wilwood’s disappearance bear striking similarities to a case she worked on previously. Vicky sees an opportunity to close the circle on a case that left a bad taste in her mouth and find personal redemption. She heads off to the quiet community to aid in the search for Rose. Vicky is about to discover that the residents of Walkers Corner do not take kindly to people airing their dirty linen publicly in ML Barrs' Parallel Secrets.

A reporter's search for closure puts her in a perilous position in the storyline of ML Barrs' mystery novel. The characters are well-crafted. Each of them has something unique that stands out in their background as a plausible reason to suspect their involvement in Rose’s kidnapping. The subplots initially appear to focus on different events but a perceptive reader will immediately note the individual or an item of interest used to link them and this heightens the novel's suspense. An example of this is Vicky's preoccupation with a particular bag and the individual wielding it. It surfaces even in discussions between her and Pete over the future of their relationship. The conversations between the characters maintain the perspective of a lot of activity going on within a closed community which adds to the novel's realistic tone. In Parallel Secrets, Barrs' use of well-placed flashbacks and unique storytelling creates a riveting reading experience that one will find difficult to put down.

Carmen Tenorio

Parallel Secrets by ML Barrs is about travel writer Vicky Robeson, who goes through instant deja vu as she returns to Walker's Corner, Missouri to help find a missing child. She believes that this is somehow connected with the case she reported as a former television journalist several years ago, which was about an unidentified child found in this same small town, wandering on a river embankment. At that time, she kept some information and clues to herself, a move that she would later regret. Vicky believes that this new case is another chance to atone for her inaction in the past and even deal with her demons. But easier said than done. People didn't want her to pursue justice and tell the truth. It is a dangerous path to tread, but she just had to take it.

Parallel Secrets by ML Barrs has all the elements of a good mystery novel. The plot is gripping with its first few pages effectively sketching a characteristic atmosphere of dread. The author builds up tension and suspense with skilled descriptive writing. The story unfolds in such a way that the narration and the amount of information, details, and level of depravity that the author creates leave the reader curious, excited, and hooked. The main character is a likable protagonist for being intelligent, adventurous, and independent, yet she's also a romantic at the same time. This lends an authentic point of view because, just like the book's author, Vicky worked as a news journalist before becoming a freelance writer. Character development is a big plus because often what seems to be a less important minor character becomes a crucial part of the whole picture as the author reveals their past and motivations. The setting itself seems unremarkable at first until the horrific skeletons in this small town's closet are discovered. Parallel Secrets is an impressively well-written and heart-thumping thriller full of surprising plot twists and an unexpected heart-rending reveal and conclusion. Highly recommended, especially for those who enjoy mystery and suspense novels.

Alma Boucher

Parallel Secrets is an outstanding mystery by M.L. Barrs. The disappearance of Rose Willwood from Walkers Corner, a community in rural Missouri, catches the interest of Vicky Robeson. Nine years ago, Vicky worked on the story of a little girl named Lisa Dee. The little girl was found wandering alone, drenched in blood, not far from Rose's most recent disappearance. Vicky is curious as to whether there was any connection between the two cases. Vicky heads to Walkers Corner with her boyfriend, Pete, where a big hunt for Rose is in progress. After arriving in town, Vicky gets in touch with Kerry James, a former coworker from the newsroom, to catch up on the case. Vicky learns secrets, but someone will kill to keep them a secret.

Parallel Secrets by M.L. Barrs is a suspenseful thriller with interesting, compelling characters. I was left wondering who the real offenders were because of the plot's many cleverly constructed turns and twists. It was a roller coaster ride of action, redemption, guilt, and the pursuit of justice. It is a page-turner that I could not put down. I just kept turning the pages because I had to know what would happen next. The characters are well-developed and relatable. Some of the characters are eccentric, and most of them hide dark secrets. Vicky has a secret and a terrible past. I was left guessing until the very end as the plot skillfully combines mystery and suspense to tell the terrifying tale of a small community.

Angelique Papayannopoulos

An excellent suspense novel by ML Barrs, Parallel Secrets follows former TV crime reporter Vicky Robeson. Upon hearing news of the abduction of a girl in a small Missouri town, Vicky becomes interested in the case which unleashes disturbing memories of a similar incident nine years ago. Vicky had investigated a case of a young girl who was found on a levee, bloodied and unable to speak. Due to her failure to follow up on clues, the case was never solved. Vicky decides to conduct a proper investigation into the latest abduction since it appears too similar to the first one and thus redeem herself. The town is filled with strange characters and dark secrets. Vicky is searching for a hidden truth from the past that may explain the latest incident.

ML Barr’s smart plot draws the reader into Parallel Secrets immediately. The story is character-driven, and the reader is immersed in scenes that leave one wondering how the first abduction is connected to the second one nine years later. With its clever plot structure, this page-turner is filled with convincing twists and turns that will hold your attention from start to finish. Vicky’s journey to uncover the hidden secrets of the town resonates with the reader as she seeks justice and overcomes her wrongdoings. The novel has all the ingredients of a great story: intrigue, suspense, danger, action, and courage. ML Barrs has woven together an intriguing plot that reveals the connection between the two kidnappings. This is a must-read for crime-solving fans who want to be kept guessing to the very end.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Parallel Secrets by ML Barrs is a sleuth mystery. Vicky Robeson used to be a TV crime reporter, but things went awry. When she heads back to the place where she made her worst mistake, she tries to atone by joining the search for a missing child. The town is tiny, but it's packed with dark secrets and strange people. Vicky has her secrets too, and she thinks the kidnapping has something to do with an old case she once reported on. At the time, Vicky didn't follow the clues, but now she can make good on what happened and find some forgiveness. But as the clues and secrets unravel, one thing is clear – someone will do whatever it takes to keep those secrets hidden. Vicky is now in a race against time, but can she come out on top, or will her demons drag her down?

Parallel Secrets by ML Barrs is a suspenseful story with a fantastic plot. As a debut, it's a great start, and if this book is a sign of things to come, ML Barrs has a great future as an author. This tale is packed with action and an edge-of-your-seat plot with some twists that will come as a surprise. The ending is one you won't see coming, and you won't be able to guess it either like you can with some books in this genre. This is a compelling read with some amazing characters, especially the strong female protagonist. It's a story of long-held secrets and consequences, full of mystery and suspense; a real page-turner that keeps you guessing all the way. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.