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The Dirty Secrets Club

Publication Information:
New York : Dutton, ©2008.
Physical Description:
355 pages ; 24 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
In the wake of an ongoing string of high-profile murder-suicides in San Francisco, forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett is hired by the SFPD to perform investigative autopsies and discovers a harrowing commonality among the suicide victims.


Call Number
Gardiner, M.

On Order



Introducing the writer Stephen King trumpets as “the next suspense superstar”

Recently Stephen King devoted an entire Entertainment Weekly column to Meg Gardiner, proclaiming her “as good as Michael Connelly and far better than Janet Evanovich.” How is it possible, he wondered, that this Californian was published only in Britain? Starting now, suspense fans on this side of the pond can get their fix right here: Dutton is proud to introduce Gardiner’s brand-new series heroine, Jo Beckett, in The Dirty Secrets Club .

An ongoing string of high-profile and very public murder-suicides has San Francisco even more rattled than a string of recent earthquakes: A flamboyant fashion designer burns to death, clutching the body of his murdered lover. A superstar 49er jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge. And most shocking of all, a U.S. attorney launches her BMW off a highway overpass, killing herself and three others.

Enter forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett, hired by the SFPD to cut open not the victim’s body but the victim’s life. Jo’s job is to complete the psychological autopsy, shedding light on the circumstances of any equivocal death. Soon she makes a shocking discovery: All the suicides belonged to something called the Dirty Secrets Club, a group of A-listers with nothing but money and plenty to hide. As the deaths continue, Jo delves into the disturbing motives behind this shadowy group—until she receives a letter containing a dark secret Jo thought she’d left deep in her past, and ending with the most chilling words of all: “ Welcome to the Dirty Secrets Club .”

Author Notes

Meg Gardiner was born in Oklahoma and raised in California.

She graduated from Stanford University and practiced law in Los Angeles and taught writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Meg authored China Lake which won the 2009 Edgar award and The Dirty Secrets Club which won the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award 2008. The Liar's Lullaby (Dutton Adult, June 2010) is her eighth novel.

Meg lives with her husband and their three children near London.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

An intelligent and stubborn heroine who's just emotionally vulnerable enough to be empathetic lifts this novel from Gardiner (China Lake), a Californian now living in London making her U.S. debut. Dr. Jo Beckett, a forensic psychiatrist (or "deadshrinker"), performs psychological autopsies to uncover the truths behind grisly crimes. Recruited to consult on the possible suicide of prosecutor Callie Harding, who drove her BMW off a San Francisco bridge and struck an airport minivan on the road below, Jo discovers this accident is the latest in a string of high profile murder-suicides. As Jo and the SFPD's Lt. Amy Tang dig deeper, they uncover the Dirty Secrets Club, a shadowy group of citizens whose members include a noted fashion designer and a football star, both of whom committed very public suicides. Still coming to terms with her doctor husband's recent death, Jo struggles to pinpoint the club's origins, realizing that a former member may be systematically driving the remaining members to their deaths. Gardiner should win new fans on this side of the Atlantic with this adrenaline-filled thriller. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* San Francisco forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett doesn't cut open victims' bodies. She dissects their lives. It's her professional duty to determine why the dead get dead. This time around, Beckett just might be in over her head. Residents of San Francisco, already edgy from recent earthquake tremors, have become further unhinged by a series of provocative and very public murder-suicides. They're tied to the Dirty Secrets Club, a group that promises anonymity to high-profile citizens aching to confess their sins. U.S. Attorney Callie Harding was the driving force behind the club until the night she drove her BMW off a city overpass, ending her life and those of three others. The word dirty was scrawled in red lipstick across her upper thigh, a clue that ultimately leads Beckett and diminutive SFPD detective Amy Tang to a sadistic psychopath with vengeance on his mind. Beckett and Tang are close to collaring the culprit when Jo receives a threatening letter detailing a dark secret of her own. This is the U.S. debut for Gardiner, an American who makes her home in London. Stephen King has raved about her in print, and she proves more than worthy of that praise in this twister of a tale teeming with thrills and chills.--Block, Allison Copyright 2008 Booklist

Library Journal Review

"As good as Michael Connelly and far better than Janet Evanovich," said Stephen King in an Entertainment Weekly piece that prompted multiple U.S. book deals for London-based American Gardiner. Here, a bunch of suspicious deaths in San Francisco demand the attention of forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett. With a national tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.