02/12/2014 09:42 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2014

THE DEEPEST SECRET Shows the Strengths and Weaknesses of Carla Buckley's Writing Skills

Book Review Jackie K Cooper

Carla Buckley's new novel THE DEEPEST SECRET is a horror story, not because it involves the occult or things of that order but because it involves a family that is mired in a secret event that can destroy each and every member of the unit. This "secret" hangs over the family and the impact it could have keeps readers turning page after page after page. The suspense begins early in the story and it fills the book completely.

Eve is the mother in the family. She has dedicated her life to her teenage son Tyler who has a rare medical condition that keeps him inside the house during the day. He can only go out at night when there are no UV rays to burn his skin. The disease is usually fatal but Eve refuses to give up on Tyler. He is now fourteen years old and Eve plans for him to live a much longer life.

David is Eve's husband and Tyler's father. He works in Washington, DC which is not within commuting distance from the family home in Columbus, Ohio. This puts a strain on his marriage, along with Eve's obsession about Tyler's care. He is not as optimistic as Eve that a cure of sorts will be found for Tyler and so he thinks they should give their son as much freedom as he can handle.

Then there is Melissa, Tyler's older sister. With all the attention on Tyler she gets lost in the shuffle. Because of this she has begun acting out to some degree and this behavior draws suspicion to the family and their secret.

Buckley's writing style has good and bad elements to it. On the plus side is her ability to fashion an amazing plot. Her creativity in this area is so prodigious that readers will not be able to determine how they think the story should end. Some will root for justice to be served while others will lean towards keeping the secret forever.

On the minus side is her plodding method of telling her story. What should have been sharp and penetrating in the telling is actually muted and sluggish. The suspense is there but the reader has to force the turning of the pages. In many instances it is too easy to put the book aside and pick it up at a later date.

The question then becomes is the plot worth enduring the writing style. For many this question won't be answered until the last chapter has been read. At that point this reader thought it was all worth the effort.

THE DEEPEST SECRET is published by Bantam Books. It contains 448 pages and sells for $26.00.

Jackie K Cooper