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Little Secrets

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Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son; she's not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.


All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret...

Overwhelmed by tragedy, a woman desperately tries to save her marriage in award-winning author Jennifer Hillier's Little Secrets, a riveting novel of psychological suspense.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published April 21, 2020

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About the author

Jennifer Hillier

11 books9,425 followers
Jennifer Hillier imagines the worst about people, and then writes about it.

She’s the USA Today, Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail bestselling author of Things We Do in the Dark, described as “an intoxicating thrill ride” by the New York Times and “propulsive and chilling” by People magazine. It was a Book of the Month Club selection, an Indigo Top Ten Best Book of the Year, an Amazon Editor’s Spotlight Pick, a Goodreads Choice Award nominee, a Loan Stars pick, and a her third consecutive novel to be honored as a LibraryReads pick, which places her in their Hall of Fame.

Jennifer is also the author of six other psychological thrillers. Her USA Today bestselling novel Little Secrets is currently being adapted for Peacock by Tish Cyrus’s Hopetown Entertainment, writer Melissa Scrivner Love and Universal Television, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Anthony Award. Jar of Hearts won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Hardcover Novel and was also shortlisted for the Anthony and Macavity Awards. Her earlier novels are Creep, Freak, The Butcher, and Wonderland, the last of which will be published in mass market paperback and audiobook for the very first time in April 2023. Her books have been published in twenty-three languages so far.

Jennifer is Filipino-Canadian, born and raised in Toronto. She spent eight amazing years in Seattle which is where she first became a published writer. She’s a Seahawks fan who married to a Packers guy. They have a young son who looks most like her when he’s crying. She’s afraid of the dark and can’t sleep unless she’s checked the locks on the doors several times. She loves writing when it’s raining, sleeping when it’s sunny, and reading after everyone else has gone to bed. She cherishes her family (those who read, and those who don’t), and her friends (those who write, and those who don’t). She’s a cat person without a cat, which makes her sad. But she’s now back in the Toronto area permanently with her family, which makes her happy.

Her next novel is coming in 2024.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,627 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,309 reviews44.1k followers
November 19, 2022
This is one of my fastest read I’ve lately done because this soul haunting, gripping, mend nerving, page turner truly captivates you from the beginning. You get hooked. You cannot resume doing your basic things like watching TV (thankfully I finished this one before binge watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, because reading this book or binge watching one of my favorite series may force me to invent a new activity like binge reawatching- read one page, look at the tv for one minute and repeat this action several times- till you start to think your favorite stand up star lost her son and deals with her cheating husband,- see how two storylines merged perfectly- well at least both Mrs. Maisel and Marin suffers the same kind of assholish husband’s betrayals. ), eating proper food (I bribed my husband to feed me but he backstabbed me and ate whole pizza by himself, I hope he gains 100 pounds and I’ll reject to push him out of the door!), taking bathroom breaks (adult diapers are the best invention of the history, what, you said: there is no such a thing as adult diapers! Okay this is humiliating! I’ll kill those so called best friends who notoriously pranked me so bad!)

I went back and forth between 4 and 5 stars. Writing, pacing, story-building, ending, twists and surprises (some of them could be foreseen but they were still amazing) are intriguingly stunning and excitingly gripping. But I hate most of the characters. The husband, the mistress, even the shady best friend!

Marin is probably my favorite even though she is pretentious, self- destructive, unpredictable and inconsistent but I didn’t care about her flaws, the mistakes she makes over and over again which makes her more human and connectable character. She can be considered mean and unfair for using her best friend and ex-lover Sal as a shield to protect herself not to feel unwanted and undesired but Sal never seemed like a great and trustworthy personality to be chosen as a future husband figure.

Her son has been kidnapped and her husband douchebag Derek is having an affair ( he should get a statue because he also cheated her when she was pregnant so I don’t know which one made me pissed off more, the cheater or accepter of his wrongdoings!) with a 24 year old art student and here’s the big blow: this girl could have involved with the people who had kidnapped her son! Did I get your attention? I think the blurb of the book gave too much information about the mystery but thankfully they hid the most delicious and mind blowing revelation!

McKenzie is the another woman ( let’s say, the other girl!) and it’s so normal to detest every particle of her. But the reason I hate the guts and have an urge to rip her eyes out, when I read her story, I couldn’t find anything concrete to feel sympathy or empathize her. She knows exactly she’s doing something so terrible but she kept doing it for years like a parasite to suck people’s blood to have a better living.

The part Marin visited McKenzie’s coffee to see her own enemy, I couldn’t decide to appraise her or scream at her face when she wanted to cut the girl’s head off, she kept calm and said nothing. ( she might be aquarius woman because an Aries woman like me throws the hot coffee at pink bleached haired homewrecker’s face and shove the cookie to her… okay you may imagine the rest of it!)

So Marin hardly functions after her child’s loss and committed suicide before, seeing a therapist and joining a grief club at a donut place with group of people she normally never considers to engage if it isn’t for their common grief and shared experiences. And now she is about to lose her husband, too. But will she let the other woman take him away from her? Hell, no! So take a seat, grab the book and start devouring the pages with full excitement because the book is getting so much better.

Overall: even though I wanted to hire contract killers from other books (yes, my shrink told me this is literally impossible and consciously it’s really mean thing to think about) to torture viciously some of those despicable characters, I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 because I had really great time when I’m reading it.

Thankfully I also have “Jar of Hearts” on my reading list now so I’m looking forward to get my hands on it, too.

Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for sharing this one of the most promising 2020 thriller’s ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.

Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
April 22, 2020
It's a myth that wedding rings prevent women from hitting on men. Some women are drawn to wedding rings like moths to a flame. For those women, the ring is exactly what they're looking for.

People have been trying to get me to read Jennifer Hillier for a while now, so I think maybe... I picked the wrong one to start with(?) Though I also should say that a major problem with my reading of Little Secrets was that I went into it with all the wrong expectations.

The blurb made me think that this was going to be about a mother and her missing child, which I just said in another review is a premise I torture myself with again and again. A missing child is an open wound that never heals, is never allowed to scar over. The not knowing keeps the wound raw. Reading these books almost always keeps me on the edge of my seat, experiencing the fear and loss along with the parents, needing closure.

And that is how this book opens: with five year old Sebastian letting go of his mother's hand and, as security footage shows, walking away with a stranger in a Santa suit. Sixteen months later, he still hasn't been found. The Private Investigator his mother, Marin, has hired has been met with dead end after dead end. That is, until one day the PI uncovers evidence that Marin's husband is having an affair with a young art student called Kenzie Li. Unable to find her son, Marin turns her attention (and fury) on Kenzie.

So, really, what a huge chunk (i.e. almost all) of this book is about is Marin stalking her husband’s girlfriend and getting annoyed with her for - annoyingly, I'll admit - taking a million selfies a day. The missing child story fades quickly into the background and, as this was pretty much all I cared about, this made the book boring. A rich woman discovering her husband is having an affair but not wanting to divorce him and lose her precious designer lifestyle is so not an interesting premise for me.

I really struggled to connect with Marin, or feel invested in her relationship with Derek. Though the affair is played off as "grief" on his part, Derek seemed like such a douche from the very first chapter. And I'm really confused as to why the blurb gives away some things that we only learn in the last fifty pages of the book.

Also, I think anyone who's read a few thrillers over the last few years will see one thing coming a mile away.

There was only one thing I cared about in this whole book— what happened to that poor little boy — and too much of it wasn’t even about that. Like I said, wrong expectations. Should I try a different Hillier book?

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Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
August 31, 2023
Marin Machado is a boss. A successful business woman, who owns upscale hair salons catering to the stars.

She is confident and happy.

Her equally successful husband, Derek, is also an entrepreneur. In addition to their thriving careers, the couple have one child, a little boy, Sebastian. He makes their lives complete.

Marin has it all.

That is until Sebastian is kidnapped from a busy shopping center just prior to the Christmas holiday.

In the blink of an eye, the couple's world shatters. Devastated by their son's disappearance, they both retreat into themselves to deal with their pain.

When the police investigation goes nowhere, Marin hires a PI to continue the search.

Over a year later, the Private Investigator actually uncovers something, but it isn't about Sebastian. It's about her husband.

As further secrets are revealed, the lines between love and hate begin to blur. A woman spurned is a serious force to be reckoned with and Marin has nothing left to lose.

Her best friend, Sal, and a grief support group she is a part of, are Marin's only real connections anymore. She feels so distant from Derek.

But who can she trust?

I had so much fun reading this book. It was captivating from the very first chapter.

I loved Marin's character. All of her flaws and grief. I found her to be complex, yet relatable.

While I did guess one of the reveals earlier than I expect the Reader is supposed to, it didn't diminish my enjoyment level at all.

I thought going along with Marin on her journey, as she learns the truth of her husband's betrayal and what happened to her son, was so satisfying.

Hillier really impressed me with this one. My favorite Thriller of the year so far.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Jennifer Hillier dreams up next!
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,200 reviews3,047 followers
April 27, 2022
A mother's four year old son, Sebastian, is kidnapped from right beside her, in a busy shopping area. Marin will never forgive herself and will never stop looking for her son. Sixteen months later, she's still living the nightmare of her missing son and knows that she is barely hanging on by a thread. She's already attempted suicide once and if she ever learns that her son is dead, she knows she'll kill herself. 

Marin's marriage to Derek is in shambles. She knows he blames her for losing sight of Sebastian and knows he's walking on eggshells, afraid to set her off, knowing that another suicide attempt is right around the corner. The couple hardly ever talk to each other, moving through a life filled with grief and guilt. 

I'm not going to say any more because I read this book without knowing much more and it was a thrill to read. I only put it down to sleep last night, I did not want to stop reading it. Jennifer Hillier did such a fantastic job of stringing me along, I want more books like this one, real thrillers that keep me on the edge of my seat. 

Published April 21, 2020

Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Edelweiss, and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
815 reviews12.7k followers
January 20, 2020
Highly Addictive!

Little Secrets is a psychological thriller about a missing child. All is not what seems. That is all I am going to say because it is best to go in blind!

The narrative is split between the two main female characters. Both are well-developed and have distinct voices. All of the characters are all horrible a**holes, yet some are still likable.

Filled with secrets, deception and a ton of twists and turns, this book kept me riveted! It is fast-paced and filled with tension. I went into this book blind--I hadn’t even read the synopsis, so I had no idea where things were headed, which made it even more enjoyable!

I guessed some of the twists and the guilty party but still couldn’t figure out what exactly was happening. When it all came together, I hit myself on the head because it was all so obvious! I was too caught up in one of the storylines to notice what was actually going on right before my eyes. My one complaint is that the ending unravels a bit and goes off the rails, but that did not deter from my overall enjoyment.

After reading several duds in this genre, I took a break from reading thrillers. This book reminded me of why I love them!

I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
383 reviews1,768 followers
September 1, 2020
5 Speechless Stars!

Marin and Derek seem to have the perfect life until they lose their son, Sebastion. It is so heartbreaking, he was just holding his mother's hand and Marin sends a text and Sebastion is gone. He has vanished without a trace. It's every parents nightmare! Derek, Marin's husband, is cheating and Marin is getting crazier!

This is one crazy thriller. It will blow your mind. I am utterly in awe. It lived up to all the hype for me. This has everything that I love in a thriller. I loved everything about this book. This was my first solid five star for the year. I just love this author and I loved her book, Jar of Hearts too. I loved everything about this book. It definitely will be one of my favorites for this year. I was immediately drawn into this story. I could not put this down.

Before you open up this book make sure you have no plans for the day. Don't answer the telephone, and don't answer the door, because all you will want to do is to read this book. I am serious. At least that is how I thought. I did not want it to end. I raced through this book and it didnt take me long to finish it.

I loved the ending. Right when I thought I had figured this one out, a big twist comes along that wasn't expected at all and it left me speechless. It was a big surprise. This one kept me on the edge of my seat. It is not a predictable read and I thought it was mind blowing and AMAZING! This one is tied in first place in my favorite shelf for this year. Crazy good!

I loved the character development and I thought it was very well written. There were a lot of unlikable characters in this book and I usually have to like at least one character, but I didn't like any of them, which made me love this book even more. I can't wait to read her next book.

I highly recommend this book.

I want to thank Minotaur Books/ St. Martin's Press and Edelweiss for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Deanna .
691 reviews12.5k followers
July 24, 2020
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

This book definitely deserves its spot as one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2020!

I loved this author’s previous novel, “Jar of Hearts”. As soon as I heard about “Little Secrets”, I knew I HAD to read it as soon as possible. I had high hopes and I wasn’t let down.

This was a wickedly twisted and fast-paced read that satisfied me but also left me wanting more!

Sixteen months ago: Marin Machado is Christmas shopping with her four-year-old son, Sebastian. Her husband, Derek is at a pub nearby. They are just finishing up when Marin receives a text from her husband. She lets go of Sebastian’s hand to text Derek back. A minute later, Marin realizes Sebastian is no longer leaning against her. She can’t see him. She calls out his name but the market is crowded and loud. She phones her husband and someone else notifies security. A few minutes later, Derek shows up. “What the hell, Marin? What did you do?” She had only let go of Sebastian's hand for a minute and now he’s gone. They give security a picture of Sebastian and it’s forwarded around. Then the police show up.

16 months later: Marin wakes up thinking about Sebastian just like she does every morning. Her husband, Derek is out of town again. Marin checks her phone and sees the usual text from her best friend, Sal. “You alive?” he asks. She’s glad Sal doesn’t tiptoe around her. Sal Palermo and Marin don’t have much in common, but he gets her.

Sebastian has been gone for 485 days.

Marin attends a support group for parents of missing children. It's a safe place for parents to vent their feelings. Marin’s therapist would like her to process what happened and move through it so she can heal. He doesn’t understand that she WANTS to fixate on it. He also had a very strong reaction to the secret she shared during their last appointment. He told her that what she was doing was very unhealthy, not to mention…illegal.

Marin is on her way to meet up with Vanessa Castro, the PI she hired after the police stopped focusing on Sebastian's case. Vanessa said she had some new information for Marin. " Would today be the day?" Marin meets up with Vanessa and what she's told shakes her world once again. She’s enraged and in some ways, she almost welcomes the feeling. It’s very different from feeling sad. “Rage, on the other hand, will get shit done.” Marin is going to start her own investigation.

Wow! She’s done it again! What an awesome and addictive read!

Compelling and unpredictable, this page flipping thriller had me captivated from the start and kept me guessing all the way through.

Jennifer Hillier knows how to tell one heck of a story. She writes in a way that continually holds my interest. I loved how the story flowed. There was a lot going on but I found it easy to keep up. The story is told from two points of view and I liked reading both “sides”. The characters were complex, flawed, and well-defined.

An emotionally-driven psychological suspense novel about secrets, lies, hope, revenge, and more!

I highly recommend this novel as well as the author's previous novel, "Jar of Hearts". I'm super excited to see what this talented author comes up with next!

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill.
572 reviews618 followers
April 21, 2020
Happy publication day!!!!!!!! This book is out today- April 21st!! Don't miss out on this one!

This was so damn good! I will admit, I went into this blind, didn't read reviews, the blurb, nothing. I just saw that it was the author of one of my top reads last year ( Jar of Hearts) and I grabbed it as quick as I could. So I was a bit surprised that it was a story about a child abduction. I almost sighed because there have been so many of those lately...but don't you worry, this is a completely unique thriller and you will not be doing any sighing! As if a child missing is not enough, there is plenty more going on in the life of Marin and Derek!

First off the title is perfect! Little secrets...more like BIG secrets! These people all have secrets! We are not talking about I went out and bought a sweater and shoes I don't need and hid them at the back of my closet secrets. We are talking about...you are going to jail for a long time secrets- if you are caught!

I loved Marin Machado- she is a successful salon owner that literally had it all. Her salon was so high end that she was featured in magazines due to her many celebrity clients. Her husband Derek is a successful businessman and they have a gorgeous 4 year old son named Sebastian...."all it took was a lollipop, a santa suit and 4 minutes," for her entire world to be turned upside down. I really felt for Marin because even though she had it all, she has so many insecurities that it made her feel real to me. She could put on a big front but inside she didn't feel glamorous and successful. A single minute of paying more attention to her phone than her 4 year old and she is going to pay...maybe forever. Can you imagine the guilt?!

Then there is Kenzie- ughhhhhhh- 20 something, barista, art student that lives out her life on Instagram. Including the time she put pictures of herself with her feet propped up on the dash of Marin's husbands Maserati.......girlfriend it is GAME ON...Don't screw with a this wronged mom and wife! Did Kenzie know where her son is? Is this some sort of wicked game to mess with Marin?

There are so many secrets in this twisty thriller that it did keep me guessing. I was shocked at the level of crazy secrets these otherwise "normal" people had! I loved, loved, loved this one and devoured it in a day! Oh Jennifer Hillier you have done it again!!!

Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press/ Minotaur books for this ARC via Edelweiss!
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,446 reviews7,062 followers
June 25, 2020
Four year old Sebastian is kidnapped during a Christmas shopping trip with his mother Marin. She only let go of his hand for a short time to reply to a text, and just like that, he was gone!

It is now the autumn of the following year and his mother, Marin, hairdresser to the stars, is still traumatised as he is still missing - she completely blames herself. Her husband, Derek, a financier dealing with big, big money, has become more and more remote and is spending most of his time at work, which causes him to be away for long periods.

Needless to say, the plot is all about psychology. Marin blames herself entirely for the kidnapping, because she let go of her son Sebastian's hand in order to text her oldest and best friend, Sal – not a woman but a Latin-American man who had been her boyfriend in college, but then morphed into her best friend – and has remained so despite her initially happy marriage to Derek.

One thing that Marin has not told Derek is that she has employed a private investigator, Vanessa Castro, to work on Sebastian's case independently. She is an ex-police officer and very good at her job.

Marin has been persuaded by her friends that she should go back to work at her chain of hairdressing salons. Although she feels that this is some kind of betrayal of Sebastian, she has done so, and does feel a little bit better. But when she receives a phone call from Vanessa asking to meet her in person, she immediately leaps to the conclusion that Sebastian's body has been found. She does go to meet Vanessa in absolute dread, but is quickly reassured that no progress has been made on Sebastian's whereabouts, but almost by accident Vanessa has discovered that Derek is having an affair with a young woman of twenty-four, Kenzie, who is a waitress in a coffee bar.

This has an electric effect on Marin, who immediately starts stalking Kenzie and Derek. She decides that Kenzie must die and consults her friend Sal. She knows he has a somewhat shady past, and asks him outright if he knows a fixer. Reluctantly, assuming it is Derek that Marin wants dead, he says he does and arranges a meeting for Marin with the fixer. The fixer agrees he will do the job for $250,000.

From this point on, the plot becomes extremely complicated, and it must be admitted, exciting. The final few chapters are absolutely gripping, leading to a thrilling, if somewhat improbable, climax.
Profile Image for Holly  B .
851 reviews2,021 followers
June 27, 2020
Wow, so many surprises and twists!

If you like dark, twisty and edge of seat suspense.... this is it!

This novel was so riveting from the very first chapter! What I thought was going be a typical kidnapping, missing child tale, turned into a thriller not to be missed.

"Exhale. Deep Breath in. Exhale."  

It is a roller coaster of suspense that has a .... this could really happen..... in a reality is stranger than fiction kind of way.

Emotion filled, spine-tingling chills, and high five that Karma baby!

This will be a favorite in 2020.

Thank you Minotaur Pub. for my early review copy! OUT APRIL 2020

Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
March 4, 2020
This is going to be an incredibly difficult book to review, not only because I'm already the outlier on what is most definitely a popular and highly anticipated release, but because of the twists and spoilers abundant in Little Secrets. I have nothing but love and respect for Jennifer Hillier, and I can attest to her exceptional writing skills after adoring Jar of Hearts last year, which is likely why rating this book at a middle ground 3 stars pains me. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this reading experience has revealed to me that cloistering myself in this genre for so many years has dulled my "wow" sense; if I had picked up this book a few years back, my mind would have been blown. There are pages upon pages of glowing early reviews for this book, and I encourage you to check out every single one, because chances are this book will tick all of your twisty turny boxes, and my 3 stars are more along the lines of "I enjoyed this book in a way that won't stay with me long term" rather than a "meh" feeling. Fast paced and highly anticipated by many readers, please give Little Secrets a try for yourself this year. If you enjoyed The Silent Patient, this book is for you!

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing our review copies.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,129 reviews3,710 followers
December 28, 2019
If you’re searching for the perfect thriller to lose yourself in over a weekend.... then this is your lucky day! This will most certainly fit the bill!

Marin has it all! A successful chain of salons catering to the movers and shakers. Not to mention several Hollywood Stars as well. Her marriage is a dream come true! Even after all these years together her husband still flirts with her. (You heard me right ladies!) Her dashing prince can still make her knees buckle.
Then there’s her perfect son Sebastian. This adorable boy was their miracle baby. Didn’t I tell you? Marin has it all! That is... until she doesn’t!

In the time span of mere seconds she’s about to lose everything! As her son vanishes right before her very eyes. Gone!

Marin is hanging by the smallest of frayed threads and she’s about to take one more serious hit.
A stunning, tall, blond (and occasionally pink) haired college-aged girl steps into her suddenly nightmarish life. But look out, sweetheart! Marin isn’t about to let the last bit of her life walk away without a fight! Just how far is Marin willing to go!

Jennifer Hillier is absolutely the queen of the thrillers! She knows exactly how to pull you in to the point that the world around you fades away! You are under her spell! Her twists are perfectly placed and jaw dropping!

When I saw this new release I was so excited to read it and rightly so! It deserves all the stars! Highly recommend to all thriller fans!

A fabulous thrilling buddy read with Susanne that we both loved!❤️

Thank you to Minotaur books and Edelweiss for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,424 reviews35.2k followers
January 20, 2020
Marin appeared to have the perfect life. She had been happily married to her lying, cheating, scumbag, SOB husband, Derek (I don't have strong feelings about this at all) when one day their son, Sebastian is kidnapped. With no real suspects in sight, no hide nor hair of their son, the case goes cold.

Marin is now a wreck. She can't get past the pain of losing her son, she was right there holding his hand, she let go of his hand for a just a few seconds and in that time, he was gone. She is stuck, living in a home where she and her husband rarely speak, going to a support group, and waiting to learn the truth. Her world is so sad and lonely. Then one day the PI she hired to find her son, calls to tell her she has found someone - but it's not her son - it's Mackenzie Li, her husband's mistress. A mistress who makes having wealthy "boyfriends" a habit. She doesn't care if they are married. She only cares about what they can give her.

What's a woman to do? Who would you react? How does Marin?

Whew! Marin doesn't always make the best choices, but she makes interesting ones. It was fun to be a fly on the wall while watching these people implode. It was also fun to imagine throwing rotten tomatoes (or eggs) at Mackenzie "Kenzie" and Derek. Both are douches who deserve each other IMO. Again, not that I have strong feelings about this at all....

Hillier continues to deliver the thrills, twists, turns all the while tugging on readers emotions. She had me feeling sorry for certain characters, booing and hissing others, but all the while having me on the edge of my seat, turning the pages to see how this book would end. This book was fast paced and there was always something going on. Plus, "Little Secrets" is well written and well thought out. Additionally, all of the characters are interesting - even the unlikable ones. They all have that little bit of something - that makes them jump off the page.

Talk about a page turner! I literally got nothing accomplished while reading this book. I was too enthralled in the story. Literally glued to my seat, trying to figure things out, wondering what the truth would be, and praying my butt wasn't expanding too much form the hour after hour of sitting I did while reading this book. This book is full of secrets, lies, twists, turns, revelations, tears, anxiety, heartbreak and guilt.

Riveting, emotion provoking, compelling and unputdownable. Hillier delivers again! I can't wait to see what she writes next!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press- Minotaur Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,190 reviews2,263 followers
April 22, 2020


240 seconds was all it took for someone to lead her son out of Pike’s Place Market when she let go of his hand for just a moment to respond to a text message...

It’s now been 485 mornings of this nightmare...of not knowing if her son, Sebastian is dead or alive.

On the 486th day, Marin finds out that she might lose her husband Derek, too.
Her husband has been sleeping with a younger woman for six months.

Marin is enraged.

“She welcomes it. It’s been a long time since she felt anger like this, and she”ll take anger over sadness, any day! For the past four hundred eighty-six days, sadness has knocked her sideways, debilitated her, confused her, made her weak, talked her into settling for things she doesn’t want, and never did.

RAGE, on the other hand, will get shit done.”

12 Minutes.

That’s how long it took me to read chapter one and become completely engrossed in this book!

Jennifer Hillier’s latest is “unputdownable!”

She has created two VERY real, VERY different women in Marin and McKenzi.
Both are well developed characters, with distinct voices, each one flawed, neither one completely good or bad.

494 days.

That is how long it will take for Marin to get some answers.

When is the last time a thriller made you cry?

I would like to thank Edelweiss, Minotaur books and the author for the digital ARC, I received in exchange for a candid review!

AVAILABLE now! Don’t miss it!

I am pretty sure it will be making my “favorite thrillers list for 2020!”
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,534 reviews1 follower
August 1, 2022
First time reading (February 2020-Reading ARC paper book) 5 Stars
Second Time Reading (October 2020-Listening to the Audiobook) 5 Stars

This is a Psychological Thriller. This book was so good, and it takes you on a wild ride with twists and turns. I loved it and I never wanted to put it down. The twisted in the book was so good, but I have to say there is a lot of hard things to read in this book (kidnapping, self harm, and more)...Please check into it before reading this book before reading it if you get upset by any of those things. I won an arc of this book from a goodreads giveaway, but this review is 100% my own opinion.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
June 14, 2020
this is one of the most satisfying mysteries/thrillers i have read in a long time. i cant even remember the last time i finished one and was just so dang pleased with how it ended.

this is definitely a slow burner. there is so much build-up and setting the scene and introducing the characters that it got to a point where i was like 'okay… but what about the missing son??' but then things started to come together and i was living for it.

the characters are definitely the shining star of the story. they are complex, morally grey, completely developed, and so imperfectly human. and to discover how everyone is connected was such a rewarding feeling as a reader.

this is my first book by this author, but it most definitely is not my last.

many, many thanks to st. martins press/minotaur books for the ARC!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
December 31, 2019
4.5 stars

It’s What You Don’t Know..

Shopping in Pike’s Place Christmas Market with her son Sebastian (Bash), Marin’s life is absolutely perfect, until the moment that Bash is taken. Chaos ensues, yet he is nowhere to be found.

Four Hundred plus days later, Marin’s life is in shambles, while her husband Derek has been trying to move on.

The Private Investigator that Marin hired back when Bash went missing has turned up no new leads, at least not about Marin’s son. What she has discovered however is that Derek has been cheating on Marin, with Kenzie Li, a twenty four year old College Student.

When Marin is told, it gives her something to live for. Revenge. How sweet it is.

Derek, the old sod that he is, has no idea that Kenzie has a few plans of her own.

Talk about a wild one my friends!

“Little Secrets” by Jennifer Hiller made me feel oh so many emotions it was unreal, scared, sad, terrified, crazed… my pulse was pounding and my heart was aching. There were times while reading this when my eyes just about popped. (Good thing they didn’t!). Though none of the characters were all that likeable, I truly enjoyed the twists and turns of this crazy novel and can’t wait to see what Jennifer Hiller has in store for us next.

This was a fabulous December buddy read with Kaceey!

Thank you to Minotaur Books, Edelweiss and Jennifer Hiller for the arc.

Published on Goodreads on 12.28.19.
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,534 reviews1 follower
October 20, 2021
I am currently re-reading this book by listening to the audiobook.

First time reading (February 2020-Reading ARC paper book) 5 Stars
Second Time Reading (October 2020-Listening to the Audiobook) 5 Stars

This is a Psychological Thriller. This book was so good, and it takes you on a wild ride with twists and turns. I loved it and I never wanted to put it down. The twisted in the book was so good, but I have to say there is a lot of hard things to read in this book (kidnapping, self harm, and more)...Please check into it before reading this book before reading it if you get upset by any of those things. I won an arc of this book from a goodreads giveaway, but this review is 100% my own opinion.
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
2,037 reviews769 followers
April 26, 2022
I read my first Jennifer Hillier book! I feel like I'm now part of the cool kids club. 😉

What begins as a perfect family turns into a horrible nightmare when Marin took her little boy for some Christmas shopping at Seattle's Pike Place Market. Sebastian was abducted while Marin was distracted by her phone. More than a year later when there's no progress from the FBI, Marin hires a PI to keep looking then was told that her husband Derek is having an affair. How far would one go to keep what's left of the family?

The story could go in so many directions and I was really hanging on with my mouth open savoring every bit of the story. What I love about Hillier's writing is that none of these characters are good people (really no good) but somehow I like every single one of them. How does that even work? I would've hit my head with the book if I had a physical copy when I got to the twist. This was very entertaining, I'm super obsessed when it all unraveled.👠👠

Thank you St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books, and Netgalley for this DRC.
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
948 reviews2,713 followers
October 10, 2021


Honestly if you are looking for some good 5 star review this is not the place for you. It has been one of my most anticipated read to 2020 and I am disappointed.

I have been reading mystery / thriller books from a very long time and it takes effort for a book to please me .

What I disliked ?

• Characters
:- I couldn't connect with most of then , their stupid actions and decisions made me wanna throw a hammer on their face!
Marin being one of the most stupid character and baby your husband is cheating you ???? Your son is missing? How can you act so stupid?

• Obvious turn if events :- JR JR JR , wasn't it like the most obvious thing!
You are portraying a side character and hiding it's identity from starting till the very end and do you think that readers are stupid they will not know that something is fishy with that guy?

• Main theme :- I decided to read the book coz of blurb( which almost gave away everything) and it's mentioned story of mother searching for child but during the course of story the main theme was sidetracked and got lost amidst the other stuff!!!

What I liked??

• Story telling
:- the author definetely know the art of story telling , coz however MEDICORE the story is I didn't lose my focus , I was gripped from starting till the end!

• Page turner

Recommended for people who occasionally like to read mystery/ thriller books.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,713 reviews25k followers
March 2, 2020
After reading the wonderful Jar of Hearts, I was always going to read Jennifer Hillier's latest heart stopping psychological thriller, set in Seattle, that grabbed me right from the beginning. Marin is the woman with everything, the perfect life, running a string of hair salons for the wealthy and celebrities, with a good looking husband, Derek, a CEO and wealthy man in his own right, pillars of the community, blessed with a 4 year old son, Sebastian, conceived after fertility treatments. All it takes is a moment for Marin's life of privilege to go down the pan, on a Christmas shopping trip whilst answering a text. Sebastian is taken, taken by a person dressed in a Santa costume, and neither the police or the FBI succeed in finding the missing boy.

Over a year later, Marin is a complete wreck, distraught, her marriage to Derek has descended into a worrying silence, life seems barely worth living, she is seeing a therapist, attending a support group, the only place where she can be herself with others, and she just cannot forget or move on from the all enveloping grief over the loss of Sebastian. She is a mother who makes the momentous decision to hire a private investigator, Vanessa Castro, with Sebastian's abduction now being viewed as a cold case. Her life spirals into a nightmare when Castro informs her that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman, the beautiful pink haired 24 year old art student MacKenzie Li. An angry Marin has lost almost all that matters, she is not prepared to lose Derek too, that is one step too far for her.

In a story narrated by Marin and Kenzie, this is a twisted, tense and suspenseful tale where not everyone is as they appear. With many of the trademark tropes of the psychological thriller, there are eminently dislikeable characters, such as a Kenzie who exploits the frailties of being a man with no compunction whatsoever. This is a fast paced and riveting read, with no so little secrets, lies, loss, betrayal, being a mother and guilt at the heart of the novel. This is another great thriller from the pen of the talented Jennifer Hillier that I recommend to other crime and thriller readers. Many thanks to Atlantic Books for an ARC.
April 22, 2020

The novel starts with every mother’s nightmare, she let’s go of her child’s hand for what seems like a moment while shopping in a crowd, to answer a text, and when she turns around he’s gone. Lots of mentions about texting and Instagram bring the novel into the current time.

On further reflection, basically realizing that I didn’t really care about any of the characters, I’m going to reduce my rating to 3*.

Marin and Derek have the so called and over overused, “perfect” life. They are both successful, make plenty of money and now have a child they desperately wanted. They both seem to still love each other and share intimate moments, that is, until their child disappears.

Sixteen months after Sebastian’s disappearance the police have stopped methodically searching for Sebastian. “The FBI estimates that there are currently over thirty thousand active missing persons cases for children. It’s an alarmingly high number, and yet somehow, being the parent of a missing child is weirdly isolating. Unless it’s happened to you, you can’t possibly understand this”. While Derek is beginning to think of moving forward with their life, Marin is nowhere near this point. She hires a private investigator to see if she can find anything the police have missed.

What she finds is her husband’s mistress. McKenzie Li, an art student and “professional girlfriend”. At least that’s what she likes to call herself. Derek isn’t the first wealthy, married man that McKenzie has had an affair with. When they break up with her she justifies the money that she basically extorts from them so that she will just go away and stay out of their lives.

So we are reading the book from Marin and McKenzie’s points of view. I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in Kenzie, she uses people, sex, drugs and never seems to learn anything from her past experiences. Marin elicits some sympathy of course but I didn’t really feel any compassion for her. I think her character could have been more well developed.

But this is a thriller and there are twists and turns and you will end up turning the pages quickly. The novel is well plotted and original in it’s story and particularly the ending. Pay attention to the more minor characters, everyone isn’t who they may appear to be! Bravo to the PI who did a fantastic job and didn’t give up the search!

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. It is set to publish on April 21, 2020.
Profile Image for Michelle .
913 reviews1,409 followers
December 18, 2019
Marin is happily married to her college sweetheart Derek and they have a beautiful son Sebastian. A few days before Christmas, and while at the farmers market, Marin drops Sebastian's hand for just a moment to answer a text but when she looks back up Sebastian is gone and never to be seen again.

16 months later and after two suicide attempts Marin is a shell of her former self. The rift in her marriage has grown and Derek spends more and more time traveling for work.

The case for Sebastian has gone cold but Marin can not accept this so she hires a private investigator to keep searching. What the investigator finds is that Derek is having an affair. Marin has already lost the most important person in her life and she will be damned if some little tramp is going to come and steal her husband too. Marin is determined to make sure Mackenzie Li, the homewrecker, gets exactly what she deserves.

That's all I'm going to say plot wise because it would be a shame to have this book spoiled for you. This book kept me riveted to the pages and I never once had a grasp on what was happening. My feelings were all over the place while I was reading this and I even needed a tissue toward the end. It's impossible not to feel the pain that Marin's in - I adored her character, flaws and all. This book is sure to be a huge success for Hillier in 2020 and it will be well deserved.

Simply put this book is fantastic. 4 stars!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Minotaur Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
266 reviews279 followers
June 9, 2022
“Hope lasts only so long, can carry you only so far. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it’s all you have. It keeps you going when there’s nothing else to hold on to.”

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart Derek, she owns a chain of hair salons, and Derek runs a successful company. They are admired in their community and are a loving family, until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of her former self. The FBI case has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak anymore. She hires a private investigator to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son, she's not about to lose her husband as well. Marin takes matters into her own hands, this is a problem she can fix. Permanently….

If you have followed my posts for a while you may remember how much I loved Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier when I read it last year. I even passed it on to my Mum and she loved it as well.

As with Jar of Hearts, Jennifer Hillier's writing in Little Secrets kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat. I adored our protagonist Marin. Her journey, both emotional and physical was structured in such a realistic manner, she was not always likable, but she handled her situation in the best way she knew how. Even when she makes very questionable decisions you can’t help but root for her. I enjoyed the multiple point of views and how each chapter left me wanting more. The twists were unpredictable and shocking. If you are looking for a psychological thriller filled with betrayal and secrets this is the one for you.

Jennifer Hillier is fast becoming one of my favourite Thriller authors. I highly recommended Little Secrets along with Jar of Hearts and I look forward to reading her future works.
Profile Image for Carol Vickers.
272 reviews317 followers
April 2, 2023
WOW!! What a fabulous and emotionally twisted psychological thriller!!I loved Hillier's previous novel "Jar of Hearts"and knew I needed to read more of her books. Therefore, I had exceedingly high expectations and I am thrilled to say that I was not disappointed! It's a roller coaster of a ride that has many twists and turns and I was completely captivated from start to finish!

FOUR MINUTES! That is all it takes to steal a child. It has now been four hundred and eighty-five days since Marin lost Sebastian in a crowded marketplace during the busy Christmas season. Marin will never forgive herself nor will she stop looking for her son. The pain and grief Marin went through was heartbreaking. I felt all the emotions right along with her. 😭 Derek, Marin's husband, blames her for losing their son and their marriage is a mess. After hiring a private investigator to continue the search for her son, Marin receives some earth shattering news that rocks her to her core. This horrible news does not directly pertain to her son. Instead of feeling the weight of grief everyday Marin now feels RAGE!!

There are so many HUGE (not little) secrets in this suspense thriller and it kept me guessing until the very end. My mind was blown and my jaw was on the ground because of the twist ending. Jennifer Hillier is the queen of thrillers!! i highly recommend this addictive thriller book!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Holly.
1,449 reviews1,091 followers
February 7, 2023
It's been a long time since I have given a mystery/thriller book 5 stars (3.5 years to be exact) and this one absolutely deserves it for me. I didn't want to put it down. Marin felt like a real person and was so relatable, despite her unfortunate circumstances. I loved Jar of Hearts by this author too. I obviously need to pick up her other books sooner than later, if these two are anything to go by.
April 12, 2020
And this is exactly what a thriller should be! Go into this one blind, as I did. Do not read the blurb as it gives away way too much.

What makes a riveting thriller? A compulsive page-turner that keeps you flipping the pages, a story that touches you deeply, making your heart race. A book that is plotted perfectly with no eye-rolling moments, no ridiculous endings. This author hit all the right notes and delivered a thrilling, gut-punching thriller. In a genre that has often failed to deliver, this one is perfection.

Four minutes. That’s all it takes to steal a child. “A lollipop, a Santa suit, and 240 seconds”. It’s now been four hundred eighty-five days since Marin lost Sebastian in a crowded marketplace during the Christmas season. As a mother and grandmother it was heartbreaking to travel the depths with Marin, to watch the downward spiral after her son Sebastian goes missing. The pain is real and kudos to the author for delivering what is an authentic tale of grief. As I read, I felt all the emotions right along with Marin.

I won’t reveal more of the plot, but the main thrust of this book is not the missing child. There are no cheap emotional strings pulled. This is a gripping tale of complicated troubled people. Not all of them are likable, but all elicit a measure of empathy. All have deep-seated issues that drive their motivations and decisions. Every person here is the result of everything they’ve ever been through. “Hurt people hurt people”. The cast of characters is colorful with deep secrets. No one is who they seem. The twist and turns of this story had me reeling. In a good way.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read such a perfectly plotted thriller and it was a joy. Yes, it’s a thriller but with a psychological depth that is often missing in the genre.

This was a buddy read with my friend Marialyce and we had a great time discussing this as we read….guesses as to the resolution and our shared shock at the revelations.

If you are looking for a fun, propulsive thriller with depth, look no further. Date of publication is 4/21/20, Minotaur Books, and if you have not added this to your queue do so immediately!

• I received a digital review copy of the book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest opinion
• For our duo review please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...
September 19, 2022

Over a year ago, a Christmas shopping trip to Pike Place Market in Seattle ends in a nightmare for Marin Machado when her four-year-old son Sebastian disappears without a trace. Video footage indicates Sebastian was taken by someone dressed as Santa Claus but without any other leads/probable suspects the police have been unsuccessful in their search for the little boy. Marin blames herself for letting go of her son’s hand to attend to a call from former college boyfriend/ current close friend Sal. Marin and her husband Derek are a power couple- both successful and wealthy, but losing their son fractures their marriage with Marin falling into depression and seeking help from a therapist and a support group after a failed suicide attempt, while Derek deals with his grief differently. Unbeknownst to Derek, Marin has hired a private investigator to help find out what happened to Sebastian. It comes as a sad shock to Marin when her investigator informs her that her husband is having an affair with aspiring artist/furniture designer twenty-four-year-old McKenzie “Kenzie” Li, who has a penchant for older married men from whom she demands huge sums of money in exchange for her silence once they decide to end the affair. Marin is not willing to lose her husband and diligently starts stalking her husband's mistress – both online and even showing up at the café where she works. Funnily enough, Kenzie knows exactly who Marin is when she walks into the café but pretends not to recognize her. In a moment of weakness, Marin confides in Sal who tells her about a man, a “fixer” who could “help” take care of her problem.

Does Marin know what she is getting into? How far will Marin go to save her marriage? What happened to Sebastian? Will Marin ever get to know the truth behind her son’s disappearance? Do the people she trusts truly have her best interests at heart?

Jennifer Hiller’s Little Secrets is a well-paced, engrossing read, with a cast of equally unlikeable characters and enough suspense to keep you holding on till the very last page. Jennifer Hillier definitely knows how to create complicated characters and build suspense in a novel. The narrative flows seamlessly and is full of twists and turns and red herrings that make for an exciting read. While the twists were good, I should mention that a few of them felt contrived. Though I guessed the final reveal midway through the story which did dampen the excitement for me a bit, I was surprised more than once as the story progressed.

Overall, while I did like Little Secrets, I did not love it as much as I did Jar of Hearts, which is the first Jennifer Hillier novel that I read.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews609 followers
January 9, 2020
“Four minutes. That’s all it took to steal a child.
A lollipop, a Santa Suit, and two hundred forty seconds”.

Three days before Christmas... in the busy Seattle market, Marin Machado let go of her 4-year old son’s hand...

Sixteen months later....
“They say if a missing child Sebastian’s age isn’t found within 24 hours of his disappearance, chances are he never will be”.

It’s been 485 days since Marin and Derek lost their 4 year old son, Sebastian.

“Marin needed to stay home and fall apart, which she did, for months until Derek and her therapist suggested it was time for her to go back to work”.
Minor celebrities came into Marin’s salon - they paid $600 an hour to have their hair done personally by “Marin Machado of Marin Machado Salon & Spa”.
Marin owned three salons.

Police had no solid information.

The stranger who took Sebastian, ‘Bash’, was a kidnapper. There was no certainty about whether or not it was planned in advance, or not. There was also no evidence to suggest that the person who took Sebastian was a friend or acquaintance of the family.
The Santa costume, was denoted the persons intent to steal a child— possibly any child from a busy store.

Marin attended group therapy once a week. Those who attended all had missing kids. Group therapy was very different than ‘one-on-one’ therapy.
It was the one place where Marin could feel as miserable as she needed without feeling a need to apologize for it. The other people in the room were more miserable than she was.
Marin’s best friend, Sal
Palermo, described going to group as an act of self-flagellation. Marin didn’t think he was wrong. Some nights, it was exactly what she needed.

“One year, three months, and twenty-two
days ago was the worst day of her life”.

Police still had no leads...

Marin and her husband Derek were living parallel lives, side by side for the most part, but never converging.
Derek was a CEO of a health food chain. He traveled for work....more often since his son disappeared.

Dr. Chen was Marin’s private therapist.
He was soothing, understanding, easy to talk to—all the things a therapist should be -but Marin was not sure she wanted to go back. Therapy was hard work. However, she finally told Dr. Chen her secret:
.... there were more secrets....
... and twists
... and turns
... and surprises

... THE SURPRISES were really surprising.

Marin hired private investigator, Vanessa Castro...(she never told her husband, Derek).
The first important news that Vanessa had for Marin, was ‘important’, but it wasn’t about her son.

Questions started race through my head early on...
but I never had this book figured out.

“A strange thing happens when you’re going through something terrible. It’s as if your body and mind separate, and you cease to become a whole person”.

A little fun...
Try untangling these words to figure out all the “Little Secrets”.....
Cracker crumbs, milk stains, Lego pieces, celebrities, coffee, mochaccinos, hipster professionals, Oxy and Vicodin, amaretto sours, gummy bear edibles, friends es, Big Macs, ramen noodles, avocado toast, tacos, roasted brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and smothered in Parmesan cheese, Instagram photos, an obnoxiously expensive Maserati, etc. etc etc.....
Can’t do it... can you? 🧐


Thank you Saint Martin’s Press, Netgalley, and the very talented Jennifer Hillier.

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