When Secrets Come To Light

Fiction - Suspense
305 Pages
Reviewed on 04/18/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers' Favorite

When Secrets Come to Light by George R. Hopkins is an enthralling crime mystery where a retired detective, Tom Cavanaugh, goes on an investigation to uncover the secrets of his childhood friends. The reunion of the grammar school gang, who went by the name of the Terrifying Tullingers, notorious for their school and neighborhood pranks, included Harry Connelly, Brian Mannis, Lee Nuttal, Jason Carter, Jackie McCall, and Tom Cavanaugh himself. These six remaining Terrifying Tullingers met up for the first time in years at the wake of their friend, Larry McCrudden, and decided to get together monthly for a game of cards to reconnect and hopefully rekindle their friendship. After attending the second card game at Harry's house, Jason mentions that he knows the secrets of the remaining six Terrible Tullingers. Tom Cavanaugh, who can't control his detective instincts, goes on a mission to uncover these secrets, which unfolds tragically.

When Secrets Come to Light by George R. Hopkins is about life's journey and how our decisions impact the direction of our lives. The author touches on spirituality and the consequences of our choices and actions. He develops the characters intricately. Each is unique and flawed, but memorable. Each clue led to a new secret uncovered by Tom Cavanaugh, who confronts his own painful secret in the process. I could relate to each character by either seeing traits of myself or someone I know in them, usually an older aunt or uncle. I didn't want to put this book down as I was captivated. The book is beautifully written with fascinating, quick-witted, and comical characters that keep you entertained and intrigued to the end. It is simultaneously light-hearted and profound.

K.C. Finn

When Secrets Come To Light is a work of fiction in the mystery and suspense subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author George R. Hopkins. The book follows retired detective Tom Cavanaugh whose decision to reconnect with his former team leads him down a rabbit hole of danger and violence. But when his renewed relationship with his old basketball team ends with the savage murder of one of their members, Tom must utilize his years of training and expertise to track down the killer and put to rest the past that has haunted him all these years.

This was a deeply compelling mystery that masterfully raises the stakes in the investigation through its protagonist, whose frayed edges add a dynamic new dimension to the story. Through the nuanced level of personal investment that Cavanaugh has in the victim and the expertly crafted depiction of a detective pushed to his personal limits, author George R. Hopkins keeps his readers on a knife-edge of tension as the dark truths at the heart of the mystery unfold themselves page after page. Cavanaugh’s personal demons also give a good grounding to the story, keeping the character's flaws and reservations in the realm of relatability in a way that lends the moments of peril and threat a wonderful sense of drama. Overall, When Secrets Come To Light is an addictive read from beginning to end, with a well-devised mystery wrapped up in the human drama and personal struggles that many readers will relate to.

Asher Syed

When Secrets Come to Light by George Hopkins is a mystery drama that revolves around a man named Tom Cavanaugh and the successive falling of dominos as he reconnects with old friends. Childhood usually brings back the happiest of memories, particularly when remembering a group of friends in which one found joy and camaraderie. Cavanaugh's past has some heavy trauma and a horrible, inconceivable loss, a burden of pain his wife Fran shares with him. Their burdens increase further when health scares emerge. Where faith plays a practical role, it is the faith, alleged vision, and ascribed healing power of an old friend that leads to a series of events where the bonds of friendship are tested, a priest is dead, and some of the Terrifying Tullingers might be more terrifying than remembered. “Somebody might be worried you might tell others whatever their secret is. Depending upon what that secret is, they or he might be sending you a not too subtle message to keep your mouth shut.”

When Secrets Come to Light is a good blend of old-fashioned friendship and how those early paths can take entirely different directions based on the individual and their circumstances. For a group of friends, author George Hopkins reconverges those paths and highlights the disparity of lives lived through each of the men who embody it. Cavanaugh frequently invokes the Bible and other pieces of history to make comparisons like Thomas Jefferson and even the Angel of Death himself, Josef Mengele. Some are effective while others feel slightly trite, but at least there is consistency in how Hopkins presents Cavanaugh's voice. The mystery elements are good and all the characters are fully fleshed out. Hopkins employs a highly effective red herring that allows readers to be surprised by twists that are unexpected. Overall, this is a good story that uses the mystery, drama, emotion and intrigue elements with strength. Recommended.

Jamie Michele

George R Hopkins' novel When Secrets Come To Light is a murder mystery in which the main character, a retired detective named Tom Cavanaugh, is committed to finding out who killed an old friend of his. Cavanaugh and the last remaining players from his basketball team are brought back together after half a century under circumstances that aren't ideal but are engaging nonetheless. Their lifestyles and personalities blend like oil and water, and eventually, this leads to infighting. Cavanaugh kicks straight back into detective mode when one of his friends ends up dead, but chasing leads, relying on hunches, and sifting through facts and misinformation is made difficult when his personal life is hampered by past and present damage, and he's not the same spry man he was in his former crime-fighting days.

I turned to my grandmother after I finished reading When Secrets Come To Light and told her that I thought the book was written for her. At a youthful 88, she still loves old Matlock and Murder She Wrote reruns, and that is the vein through which this novel by George R Hopkins flows, at least in the eyes of this forty-something-year-old reader. The main character Tom Cavanaugh is old, stodgy, and set in his ways. A lot of his ideas and perceptions are outdated, and he's not always likable, but these traits give him an authentic quality in line with his advancing age. Hopkins is a writer who relishes the details, describing things like the rules of Yankee Swap and Fran ordering the wild mushroom soup and then the clams, with a rundown of what they were cooked in. Immersive readers will love that. As a murder mystery, the trail to finding the person who committed the crime commingles nicely with Cavanaugh's private life, and we get to know him better. The mystery is solved in a tidy series of events and, all in all, the book is an easy and satisfying read.

Claire Coyle

I have come to appreciate George Hopkins writing style and When Secrets Come to Light does not disappoint. It is intriguing as one of those books that you keep reading to find out what is going to happen next. I enjoyed this book like all the authors other books and I hope he keeps on writing