Book #98

Trading Secrets by Rachael Eckles

Celeste Donovan, a high-powered finance executive, seems to have it all--the penthouse apartment, the supermodel physique with a mathematician mind, and a trail of beautiful men she has loved and left behind. But when her boyfriend Theodore is killed in a mysterious accident, she suspects Omar, her abusive ex who has been keeping tabs on her, is behind his death.

Now she's caught in a game of cat and mouse, trying to anticipate Omar's next move, as she realizes he will stop at nothing to get to her. She sets out alone on a whirlwind journey to entrap him, determined to put an end to his destruction.

Soon Celeste is thrust in the middle of the largest financial scandal in decades. This time, however, she suspects powerful government officials are in bed with some of the world's most dangerous men. When she discovers that those she thought she knew best are involved in a secret society warring with Omar and his coconspirators, she must decide how far she is willing to go to avenge Theodore's death and whether she is willing to risk her own life to save everyone she loves. 


The plot here is very strange and jarring. Eckles opens with the middle, goes back to the beginning, then picks up from the middle again. At times, I found myself wondering if I had missed something, but it seems there were just so many plot holes that you have to trust things are happening behind your back.

Eckles’ characters leave a lot to be desired here. Backstories are merely hinted at, development is scarce, and not a single one of them are likable in any way. It makes it difficult to cheer for Celeste when you know there’s nothing redeeming about her. Some of the situations she finds herself in I wouldn’t wish on anyone, yet I was indifferent about her having a happy ending.

The financial explanations went entirely over my head. What is a hedge fund manager? What do these pretentious prigs do for a living? There’s some sort of sabotage involved, and I had no idea how this came about, only that it cost the antagonist billions of dollars?? Okay. I’m a words girl, numbers and finance do not compute in this colourful mind.

And the sex scenes - wow. I know this has been marketed as a romance thriller, and I also know not everyone appreciates the same things sexually, but these were pretty dire, and felt unnecessary, as though they were shoehorned into the plot as bolster.

It was very easy to suspect what the final plot twist was going to be, but despite knowing what was coming, the finale made very little sense and felt like an anticlimax. Spoiler: It’s amazing how often in these novels the hard-ass strong female protagonist has to be rescued by a man.

I did have a slight idea this book wouldn’t be for me as I read the first chapter. A lot of what I’ve said here is purely personal preference, and although there was a mysterious something propelling the book along for me, it just didn’t pay off in the way I wanted it to.