What Hidden Lies by Michéle Rowe || Book Review

I was struggling to find more books written by South African authors at the library that stood out to me, but I came across this book.

I haven’t read a thriller by a local author before so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to try.

This book was a true struggle to finish, and usually a good thriller book keeps me glued non-stop for three days max. I didn’t finish it in that timeframe and I will have to stop calling it a thriller.

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book review: What Hidden Lies by Michéle Rowe #bookreview #michelerowe #crimebooks #southafricanauthors #booktwt #bookaddict #booktwitter

Originally published: 2013

Pages: 347
Format: Paperback

Plot from GoodReads:

When Detective Persephone (Persy) Jonas is forced to work with retired criminal psychologist Dr Marge Labuschagne to solve the murder of a suspected sex offender, suspicion and distrust threaten to derail the investigation. Persy believes the killer is her childhood sweetheart, now turned vicious gangster; Marge is sure the answer lies in the victim’s shady past.

As the women race against time and their own prejudice to hunt the killer, past and present collide, unearthing long buried secrets and lies. As the hunt intensifies they realise they have more in common than they think and are bound in ways they could never have imagined. Finally faced with a ruthless killer, it seems that the darkest secrets are the ones they are hiding from themselves. 


I’ll start off by saying I didn’t care for any of the characters in the book. While I get that the author was trying to create realistic expectations based on circumstances and environment, but not everyone is as angry, as rude, as sadistic, as hateful, etc as these characters were written. The author used stereotyped characters and that just made me dislike them even more.

I only finished the book to find out the ‘whodunit’ part, otherwise I couldn’t care much for anything else.

There was hardly any positivity in this book to damped at least some of the negativity and it drained me of all emotions linked to anything good. The book is constantly focused on hatred and the focus doesn’t waver.

Then apart from all the negativity mentioned above, the book has TOO much going on. There are plots and sub-plots, and sub-sub plots and I had no idea what to focus on what was the most important in the book. Then on top of all that, the ending was just perfect. How is that even possible? I get it was an attempt on getting twists and turns into the book, but I would’ve rather seen less twists and less plots and a better written character group and one great plot.

There was no suspense, so I say again I won’t call this book a thriller, more along the lines of a crime book than anything else.


I almost didn’t finish this book because the hatred spewing from it was overwhelming and consuming, and took the focus away from the real plot(s).

This is the first book from the Persy Jonas series, and not to be too direct – after this book, I would definitely not read the rest if they were to be published.

I have to add a note here – after finishing the book, the title made complete sense!

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 3.94 on GoodReads. I gave it a 2.

What Hidden Lies by Michéle Rowe #bookreview #michelerowe #crimebooks #southafricanauthors #booktwt #bookaddict #booktwitter

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