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When a shooter opens fire inside a busy café, people scramble for safety but not everyone is able to escape. What secrets will these strangers share and how will it help them to leave with no-one getting hurt?

This was my first book by Charity Norman and I will certainly keep an eye out for more of her books in future. The Secrets of Strangers seems like quite a simple premise centring around a hostage situation in a café but it’s very well written and keeps you hooked throughout. We get chapters alternating from the perspectives of lots of characters as our strangers come together including the negotiator, perpetrator and hostages and each of them have their own story and secrets to tell. You are drip-fed important information in a way that keeps your interest piqued and there is enough action happening in real time for you to be kept on your toes – unsure which direction the plot will take next.

Each of the stranger’s stories is well-chosen and interesting in their own right – Sam’s in particular feels realistic and grounded but also shows a touch of psychological problems as well. I think my only nit-pick would be that I was expecting the strangers secrets to be a little mor interwoven with each other but this did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. The ending is particular is heart-breaking and sad. It’s odd that this book has no real twists and turns which for me feel a bit like a thriller’s bread and butter and yet still made me race through it and enjoy it. You kind of feel where it’s going to end but the journey is more important than the outcome and by the climax you really feel as if you understand and know these characters.

Overall The Secrets of Strangers is a well-written, heart breaking an character-driven thriller which I highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley & Atlantic Books - Allen & Unwin for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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