Keeping secrets by Andrew Rosenheim

The link from past to present is a continuous theme throughout the narrative in Andrew Rosenheim's fourth novel, Keeping Secrets. The opening pages give few clues as to what is to follow as we discover a young boy hiding for his life having witnessed a brutal murder. He knows that if he survives, his life in the country will be ended in an instant although how he got here we will discover in time.

We are then taken to the life of Jack Renoir, a man who makes his living discovering other people's secrets while he chooses to keep his to himself.

But after a chance meeting with an English lady through his employment in San Francisco his world is turned upside down and his non-descript, low-profile existence is suddenly transformed.

As his feelings for Kate grow, he agrees to begin a new life with her in her home country which is when his past life begins to emerge.

The accounts of intelligence techniques and farming methods, although wholly believable, can sometimes prove a little overwhelming, almost as though he is trying too hard to outline his credentials in certain fields. The story dragged a little in places, although from the halfway mark it picks up again, utilising suspense with a welcome blend of characters who highlight their flaws as well as positive points. He intricately pieces Kate and Jack's stories together, resulting in a polished, complex love story laced with secrets.

James Cleary