Blog Tour Review: The Secrets that We Keep

The Secrets That We Keep

Title: The Secrets That We Keep
Authors: Liam Blunt, J. Guibone, Amae Dechavez, Mark Manalang, I.P. Lanz, Irene Recio, Buñag Manlapaz, Yeyet Soriano, Celestine Trinidad
Editors: Georgette Gonzales, Yeyet Soriano
Genre and Themes: Crime Thriller Anthology
Format: eARC
Publication: 24 March 2018
Read: April 2018

the book { goodreads | amazon | buy print (ph only) }
the authors { liam blunt | j. guibone | amae dechavez | mark manalang | i.p. lanz | irene recio | buñag manlapaz | yeyet soriano | celestine trinidad | georgette gonzales }

Oh, we weave such a tangled dark web. Is it possible to disentangle oneself without inflicting damage, permanent damage, to one’s person?

When a person goes missing, how do you find her? Where do you find her? Does she even want to be found?

A vigilante targets neighborhood nuisances. But without any evidence, how will he be apprehended?

Don’t do unto others, lest they do to you what you did to them. In a manner more gruesome than you can ever imagine. Can you survive the retribution?

Dead bodies can’t go anywhere on their own, right? Or can they?


– My Thoughts –

Welcome to today’s stop of The Secrets That We Keep Blog Tour!

I am a fan of crime thrillers — well, mystery and thrillers in general. When I first heard that The Secrets That We Keep is having a blog tour, I felt like I shouldn’t let the opportunity pass. I mean, an anthology by local PH authors, featuring stories in one my favorite genres? Sign me up!

Read my comments on the stories below and find out which ones are my favorites!

Indiv-Web-Blunt     Indiv-Children-Guibone

Liam Blunt

Robert runs a page in the dark web where he documents his heists and thieving for the entertainment of others. It is also his source of living, aside from the occasional freelance jobs he does. Armand is a start-up owner, a friend of a single mother named Katrina. Web started with three different points of view and as the story progresses and thrill increases, we see how the lives of Robert, Armand, and Katrina converge.

In one of the scenes where Robert is talking to his mother, I kind of pitied him because the way his mother talks to him, it seems like he’s only seen as a source of income from the family. If she is concerned about her child’s well-being, she doesn’t show.

I liked the pace of the story, and I’ve always loved multiple points of view, especially with mysteries, because it gives me different angles of the story and it makes it easier to piece the puzzle together.

And although I can’t say I didn’t see the twist coming, I loved how the connection between the characters was unveiled and the scenes where they finally crossed paths with each other (again).

Web is a good start to set my expectations for the rest of the stories.

J. Guibone

Elmer is in an undercover operation inside the community of The Children of Truth, lead by the charismatic Arturo. Arturo is accused of polygamy, sexual abuse, brainwashing, and the likes so Elmer is assigned to investigate the case.

Funny thing is, sometimes, the system that we are trying to correct and overthrow, is the very thing that consumes us in the very end.

The thing I liked about The Children of Truth, is that it didn’t have lots of action-packed, fast-paced scenes, but rather twists that will make you think, deeply, and leaves you confused, maybe?

Indiv-Sandra-Dechavez     Indiv-Tomorrow-Manalang

Amae Dechavez

Sandra is a girl with problems — namely, trespassing, gambling, disturbance of peace and the likes. Zanjo is the guy tasked by his father, to keep Sandra off the streets, as his community service punishment for punching a teacher. The guy has a temper.

Sandra and Zanjo are ex-lovers. When Sandra’s grandmother died, Zanjo, being the clever and the one who always solves mystery clues first, is determined to know who the killer is, as much as he hated the old woman himself.

Initial reaction: YAAAY DEATH!! Okay, don’t get me wrong, I just love reading whodunnits and solving mysteries.

I didn’t like Sandra, nor Zanjo (guy’s obsessed with Sandra, please), but I would have loved to read more. I have questions. Like, WHERE IS SANDRA AND WHAT THE HELL IS SHE DOING!?!

The title did explicitly say (a prequel) — so does that mean there’s a full Sandra story? I need answers, please give me answers.

Mark Manalang

Sylvia works at night in the dark streets of Manila, waiting for her customers in the most concealed corners. It’s not the most convenient of jobs, but people sometimes have to make do with the circumstances they were born in, even if this means risking their lives every day just to make a living.

Following the murder of a friend, and an opportunity to be free from this kind of life, Sylvia waits in the shadows of a flickering lamp post for the last time. And then an unfortunate thing happened.

Probably the scariest thing about this is that I know it happens in real life. How many people, making a decent living on the streets, at night, or even in broad daylight had the unfortunate luck of being in the wrong time and the wrong place? For them, there might not even be a tomorrow.

For the few pages that I’ve known Sylvia, I felt like I already knew her, knowing that her story may as well be stories of hundreds of other Filipinos out there. Because of this, Tomorrow We’ll See is one of my favorite stories in this anthology!

Indiv-Snatched-Recio     Indiv-Sniper-Lanz

Irene Recio

When I signed up for this blog tour, I thought I was up for crime fictions and thrillers only. That’s why I was confused while reading this, and even after.

Laura and John have two daughters, Jane and Melissa. When Jane’s biological mother tries to get into the picture again, Laura’s fears of losing her child to her real mother surfaces.

While I still think that this story is out of place with the others, it captures the emotions, the terror of someone you love being stripped away from you.

brb just gonna hug my mum

I.P. Lanz

This story involves a sniper, a grandmother, a bounty hunter, a policewoman and her best friends. I didn’t even know there are bounty hunters here in the Philippines, forgive my ignorance. Hehe.

I really don’t remember much about the story, but I remember thinking, why do they all have to be working in tech? I think three of the characters I mentioned were.

And being a nerd, I remember laughing out loud upon reading this:

He was a programmer and he was good at what he did, but it didn’t translate to a higher pay or position. He reported to a project manager who didn’t know anything about IT, thought Java was coffee, and Python would bite him in the ass.

Indiv-AmongUs-Manlapaz     Indiv-Retreat-Soriano

Bunag Manlapaz

Athena and her gang are living their lives as they had predicted back in high school, although Tina seems to have forgotten about them, for some reason. (This part still confuses me, how.) She is tasked to solve and find connections between three murders and she rediscover things about her past that she apparently tried so hard to forget.

At first, it was obvious to me that the killer is doing some kind of revenge, that the murders are personal and he’s just not some kind of a sociopath going around and killing people. But I didn’t know what the reason was.

When I learned the killer’s motive, I cringed not at him, but at the people who made him suffer, that shaped him into the revenge-seeking person that he is. People don’t deserve death no matter what, but bullying people without showing any remorse at all, is one of the worst things any people can do.

During graduation, we were all smug and proud of what we’ve accomplished, no matter if it meant crushing other people’s confidence. When our names were announced, none of the others clapped. It didn’t matter, we clapped for each other. We didn’t care about the others. That was just our nature.

I started reading this, rooting for Athena to solve the murders but in the end, I didn’t care what happened to her anymore. 😦

Side note: I love how the character’s names are pulled out of Greek mythology — Athena Ramirez, Alaminos Atalas, Leomidas Mauro, Hermano Mercurio, Oedi Purissima.

Yeyet Soriano

This one was too short for me to form any kind of legit reaction, although I was also confused with its place among the other stories in this anthology.

I know Kate from Kate, Finally because I’ve watched a live reading video of the book months ago, but I haven’t read the book yet, so I’m not really familiar with her.

And upon research, I found out that the author has a book titled The Retreat, which is a crime thriller. I would really love to know what would happen if Kate did attend the retreat, so I think I would enjoy reading that book.

I mean, a writer’s retreat where they have to write a true-to-life crime story, in a secluded, secret place? Ha. ha. Nothing could go wrong there.


Celestine Trinidad

Three bodies missing from hospital morgues before they were even examined for an autopsy. Some officers think that time should not be wasted investigating these anomalies — they were drug addicts, doomed to die, anyway. But not Eva, she is willing to go at any length, just to solve this, bring justice to the family of the dead, and find the people involved, even if it means working with the seemingly unfriendly Senior Inspector Luke Torres.

Ahh, I think the phrase ‘save the best for last’ perfectly described Missing Bodies.

With all the drug-related deaths going on, and the police, the very institution that should be protecting us from all these, advocating it, Missing Bodies perfectly mirrors the current situation here in the country. Yes, even to the extent of having a former human rights commissioner who fought for the rights of the innocent going to jail because of an alleged connection to drug lords — sound familiar??

The play on names — Chief Inspector Rolando Dela Riva, and a certain chief of police named Batumbakal — is so funny I wouldn’t believe it if you say they were not put there on purpose.

Yes, Missing Bodies mirrors the terrible reality in the country, where innocent people, mostly the poor, and being targeted, killed, for the sake of the so-called drug war. But it also tells us that for every bad and abusive cop out there, there are still Evas and Lukes out there trying to protect the oppressed and seek justice for them, even if it means discovering the treachery of their colleagues and friends.

Celestine Trinidad is becoming one of my favorite authors! I’ve read her #romanceclass book Ghost of a Feeling, and I loved this short story as much as I loved that book (spoiler alert: I gave it 5 stars). Which is why I loved her, even more, when she said that she is going to write a full novel based on Missing Bodies. (Huhu give me pls)


Of all the stories, my top favorites would be Tomorrow We’ll See and Missing Bodies!

Aside from the crime thriller plots, one of the things I loved with this entire anthology is how it tries to bring light into some of the important issues in our society today. In Missing Bodies, as I said, the current issue of EJKs and drug-related death in the Philippines. Tomorrow We’ll See, we see the reality of being in more than one group of marginalized people. In Sniper, the lack of accessibility of healthcare, especially for the poor and how hard it is to climb the corporate ladder, what with most heads of companies seeing employees as mere resources rather than actual people. Or maybe this is just me overreading between the lines, I always do that, by the way.

There’s also a bunch of admirable women here — Katrina, from Web for trying to raise her own son alone after his father left when he found out his son is mute, Sylvia from Tomorrow We’ll See, Laura from Snatched, Athena from Among Us (okay, she found the connection between the cases, let’s give her that), and Eva from Missing Bodies.

Like most anthologies, the stories ranged from just meh to easily one of the best things I’ve read this year. It’s really on both sides of the extremes that’s why I rated it with 3 stars.





4 thoughts on “Blog Tour Review: The Secrets that We Keep

  1. Quote: “I didn’t like Sandra, nor Zanjo (guy’s obsessed with Sandra, please), but I would have loved to read more”

    I felt the same. I don’t care about them but at the same time I wanted to what’s next. Haha

    My most favorite is Missing bodies too. This story somehow made me felt that I’m unfit to write crime or at least need MUCH MORE training. Hahaha 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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