The title of A. R. Torre’s new release, “Every Last Secret,” gives a hint of what is to come. Secrets, more secrets, and even a few left for the very last chapter. It’s about a golden couple, Cat and William, who are living a life that only the very top one percent live. Their gated mansion is on a gated street, filled with staff who cater to their every whim. Cat tells us how her life changed after marrying William when she relates how he wouldn’t let her carry a box of personal belongings into their new home. He instructed her that they had staff to do that.
So Cat’s responsibilities are volunteering on charity boards, overseeing the decorating of their home, working on her tennis game, and making William happy. William’s job is to work diligently to keep his business successful so that they will soon be billionaires instead of merely millionaires. But William is a jerk at work. His company is on the precipice of bringing a new medical device to market, and his employees hate him, so he hires a life coach to work with his team and make them happier. What he doesn’t know is that Neena, the new life coach, is determined to succeed at far more than her new job. She sees Cat’s life, and she wants it.
We learn about both Cat and Neena from their alternating first person narratives, and they both seem very open and honest. Seem. While Cat is madly in love with William, she doesn’t trust Neena. And we quickly realize that Neena is not to be trusted. Although her faithful husband Matt adores her and forgives her any trespass, she does not return those feelings of fidelity. She’s scheming and sly, dishonest and despicable. And she’ll do anything to get what she wants.
Cat is not happy when Neena and Matt buy the house next door, the house that had been vacant after the former owners left in the middle of one night amid rumors of tax evasion. In spite of the first person narrative, we don’t learn much about Cat and her life, and some of what she shares is unsettling. Although she references a house filled with staff, they are referred to obliquely and not a part of the novel. And while we think we know Neena, we learn the folly of making assumptions as we turn the final pages of the novel.
“Every Last Secret” is an enjoyable read even though both its main characters are very flawed people. It’s filled with lifestyles of the rich and famous, delicious food, and people with secrets. Careful clues foreshadow the end, but most will only realize what those clues foretold too late.
Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by Thomas & Mercer, the publisher, for review purposes.