Review: Turning Secrets by Brenda Chapman

Title: Turning Secrets by Brenda Chapman
Stonechild and Rouleau Series Book Six
Publisher: Dundurn
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 408 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Keeping secrets is a very bad idea.

Former teenage runaway and new single mother Nadia Armstrong moves to Kingston to turn her life around. But six months after she rents a low-end apartment, her body is found at an isolated construction site. Major Crimes begins piecing together her last days, uncertain if it is a case of suicide or murder. To make matters more difficult, a member of the team is leaking information, putting Staff Sergeant Rouleau in a precarious position.

Meanwhile, Officer Kala Stonechild’s niece, Dawn, is secretly corresponding with her father, who’s out on early parole and turns up in town uninvited.Dawn’s friend Vanessa is also keeping a dangerous secret — her relationship with an older man named Leo, who preys on young girls. And it’s not long before he has Dawn in his sights.


Turning Secrets by Brenda Chapman is a puzzling mystery with a socially relevant storyline. Although this latest release is the sixth installment in the Stonechild and Rouleau series, it can be read as a standalone. However, I highly recommend the previous novels as well.

Kingston Major Crimes Officer Kala Stonechild cannot shake the feeling the death of Nadia Armstrong is not as straightforward as it seems. The young single mother appears to have committed suicide, but the information turned up during the investigation casts doubt on this theory. Her boss, Staff Sergeant Jacques Rouleau, is being pushed by acting Chief Willy Ellington to close the case. However, like Kala, Rouleau thinks there is more to Nadia’s death than meets the eye. Kala and Officer Tanya Morrison uncover interesting information about Nadia’s life outside of motherhood, but do these revelations have anything to do with her death?

Working long hours leaves Kala concerned about her teenage niece Dawn Cook who is unsupervised most days after school lets out. Dawn has finally settled into her life with her aunt and she has made a few friends. She is closest to Emily who is worried about another member of their circle, Vanessa, who spends most of her free time with her new boyfriend, Leo.  Dawn beings to agree after Vanessa introduces her to Leo, who is much older than the teenage girls and makes Dawn very uneasy. But Dawn has worries of her own since she is secretly meeting her ex-con father, Fisher Dumont, on the sly.

Throughout the investigation, there are also plenty of office politics playing out. Rouleau’s relationship with crime reporter Marci Stokes raises a few eyebrows especially since she is getting inside information about their cases. Kala’s burgeoning romance with fellow Officer Paul Gundersund runs into problems when his estranged wife returns to town.  Officer Woodhouse continues to rub his fellow police officers the wrong way with his prickly attitude. And Rouleau is unhappy with Chief Ellington’s pressure to close Nadia’s case.

Turning Secrets is an extremely  clever police procedural that is multi-layered and engrossing. The regular characters continue to grow and evolve as they work their cases and juggle their lives outside of Major Crimes.  Brenda Chapman’s topical storyline deals with somewhat dark subject matter but she deftly incorporates these issues into the unfolding story.  With shocking twists and stunning turns, this gripping mystery comes to a breathtaking and surprising conclusion. Another fantastic outing in the Stonechild and Rouleau series that old and new fans are sure to enjoy.

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