Thursday, December 6, 2012

Twisted Tale - Review Nobody Has to Know

Once again, I have a review to share with you today, Frank Nappi's thriller Nobody Has to Know.  The novel is a sad, frightening, and twisted tale that keeps you reading - even when you sometimes want to stop.

Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi's dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him.

Nobody Has To Know is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

My Review:
As I said, the story kept me moving forward toward the finish line even though I wanted so many times to stop.  I knew what was coming.  The nature of the novel starts with a fresh-faced, exciting high school English instructor, Cameron Baldridge, who is the favorite of the entire school body.  He's got everything going for him and a bright future ahead.  One momentous decision changes all of that, sending his life down the slope toward a train wreck. 

Worse is, you see the crash coming.  So many times I wanted to pull Cam from the story and slap some sense into him.  Getting my emotions churned up is a sign of a good novel, in my estimation.

Every character in the story has difficulties in their lives that they either never dealt with and continues to haunt them, or that they are continuing to deal with - without dealing with it, if you get my meaning. 

Since the time of the drowning of his summertime sweetheart when fourteen, you see Cam continuing to be deluged by the memories.  It affects his relationship with his fiance in the present. 

Nikki, the young, innocent siren and target of Cam's lust, feels like an outcast, an old soul among immature, power-hungry, high school illiterates. 

Samantha has been molested by her step-father since the time she was young, and even though she's tried to get her mother to understand what's been going on, has no one in her court - and this twists her thinking to an extreme. 

Melanie is a brainiac who just wants to fit in, to be thought of as more than just a smart girl on her way to Harvard.  When she voices her desires, her family just puts her down and tells her she isn't pretty or talented enough to be anything more than a brain. 

Hayley saw and endured far too much abuse from her alcoholic father and strives for nothing more in her OCD existence than to have money and power in her career.  She constantly seeks to control the uncontrollable.

They all collide together, woven and twisted into a dark tapestry of sex, violence, and despair.

The one saving grace is Cam's mentor, John, but sadly Cam never takes advantage of the older instructor's wisdom.  Instead Cam pushes John farther and farther away as he sinks deeper and deeper into his actions, deceit and lies.

You want to root for Cam to do the right thing, but he never does.  This makes him a less-than likable character.  We see him become engulfed in his own fantasies until he acts on them again, and again, and again.  Even when he has the chance to come clean, he chooses to just add more fuel to the blazing bonfire.  His selfishness is on full display - and it isn't pretty.  He destroys many lives in the process, but then many of those lives make choices that only add to their own destruction.  The cycle goes full circle.

I did pretty much figure out what was coming about 65% of the way through the story, but even then I wasn't quite sure I was right.  This kept me reading - again, for me a sign of good storytelling.

Some miscues in word usage (constantly using lied instead of lay or laid) and some issues with formatting at times got in the way of the reading flow.  There were also many times throughout where point-of-view shifted several times within a scene, sometimes even within the same paragraph, and disrupted the flow as well.  But then other times there were transitions that kept the shift from being quite so jarring.

Overall, Nobody Has to Know kept me moving forward despite the depressing and despicable nature of the storyline and characters.  I found myself continuing to hope Cam would do the right thing at some point in the story, and that kept me reading as well.  This is dealing with some VERY touchy and grotesque issues of the human soul, so keep that in mind if you decide to read this.  But if you like a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing, I can recommend Nobody Has to Know.

But you can't say I didn't warn you!

Frank Nappi's Bio:
Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story "A Mile in His Shoes" starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Frank continues to produce quality work, including Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.  Please follow his blog or contact him through his website at

Follow the Tribute Books blog tour at:
Price/Format: $3.99, ebook
Publisher: G Agency LLC
Release: October 16, 2012

Kindle buy link ($3.99):


  1. D A, thanks for the detailed review of Frank's book. Sometimes I think the hardest thing a writer can do is create a not very likable character, but still keep you flipping through the pages regardless. It's a delicate balance, and I'm glad that Frank pulled it off for you.

    1. Yes, probably one of the hardest things to do in writing. However, I'm one of those that likes reading things that are gritty and have a basis in the real world. This is all too real and could have been ripped from today's headlines. Plus I love a book that keeps me guessing. Thanks so much for allowing me to participate in Frank's tour!

  2. Nobody Has To Know is a great title for a novel! The title alone should generate interest.

  3. P.S. For early December, Frank is donating all of the proceeds from the sale of 'Nobody Has to Know' to support recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. His own community where he teaches high school English, Oceanside, was devastated by the storm.