BWW Reviews: DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS by Marla Miller

Related: AIDS, mystery, DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS, Marla Miller

Bigotry.

Paranoia.

Sex.

Violence.

Death.

Secrets.

No, it's not a contemporary political thriller, but at times it feels very, very relevant.

In the spring of 1985, little was known about HIV and AIDS, other than tens of thousands had died from this mysterious, deadly virus.

For those not around at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the level of hysteria, bigotry and fear may seem ridiculous. But for those of us who remember the time so accurately portrayed in Deadly Little Secrets, it was all too real.

Marla Miller's book takes place in a fictional Orange County, California town, but it begins with a debate that took place in big cities, suburbs and rural communities across America: should schools teach accurate information about how to protect against AIDS?

Science was dismissed in favor of bigotry and hysteria: all gay men were assumed to have AIDS, and it was their just punishment for an immoral life. Never mind that everyone was vulnerable, whether through unprotected sex or tainted blood supplies.

In the midst of her campaign to include AIDS education for all students, school nurse Loretta Casterini discovers secrets about her best friend, Dr. Julia Brooks, that shake their relationship.

Over the ten day period recounted in this book, Loretta finds that everyone has secrets. Some are benign, but some are deadly.

As someone who worked and volunteered in the AIDS community at that time (and again now), every word in Miller's book rang true. It took me back to a time that I realized with a heavy heart could easily happen again.

My only criticism is the lead character's name. I recognized it from a movie I love and whenever her full name was mentioned, it took me out of the story. But I don't expect this be a problem for others.

Miller has crafted a real page-turner. I thought I would read this in a leisurely way, but instead I stayed up late, unable to put it away until I knew how it ended. You will, too.




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About Author

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Victoria Noe Victoria Noe has been a writer most of her life, but didn?t admit it until 2009. After earning a Masters from the University of Iowa in Speech and Dramatic Art, she moved to Chicago, where she worked professionally as a stage manager, director and administrator in addition to being a founding board member of the League of Chicago Theatres. She was a professional fundraiser, raising money for arts, educational and AIDS service organizations, and an award-winning sales consultant of children?s books. She also trained hundreds of people around the country in marketing, event planning and grant writing.

But after a concussion impacted her ability to continue in sales, she switched gears to keep a promise to a friend to write a book. Her freelance articles have appeared in Windy City Times, Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post. The first three books in a series on the experience of grieving the death of a friend were published in 2013.

A native St. Louisan, she?s a lifelong Cardinals fan and will gladly take on any comers in musical theatre trivia.



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