Secret Volume 2
Secret volume 2 continues to be an improvement over Yoshiki Tonogai’s previous series, with more emphasis on character profiles and less on gratuitous murders. The deaths happened in the past, so now people are analyzing them — although there is the occasional attempted homicide, just to ramp up the suspense.
We open with a profile of an accidental survivor. He stayed home sick from class on the day of the deadly bus trip, but he’s still severely affected by the events, since he was secretly dating one of the students who died. That might explain his suicide — if that’s what it was. I’m not sure what, if anything, to trust in this story, particularly once the adult hired to help the kids with their guilt starts talking about how “it would’ve been better if [someone else] died.” That’s not the usual sentiment one hears from a counselor.
He’s the manipulator in this situation, but he’s a known one, threatening the kids to reveal their secrets by the end of the week. There were three murders to account for, and we find out about the second one in this volume — but the context is very different from the first, in the previous book.
Everyone’s plotting, with various revelations made in a series of conversations. Suspicion has now turned to the cause of the accident, with something being wrong with the veteran bus driver.
Secret is a chewy soap opera, with revelations moving the story along at a pace that keeps each volume interesting. It’s not particularly deep or memorable, but for a bit of emotionally driven entertainment, it’s readable.