Title: The Hiding Place (US title) or The Taking of Annie Thorne (UK title)
Author: C.J. Tudor
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Date Started: December 13, 2018
Date Finished: December 15, 2018
*I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
After reading C.J. Tudor’s debut novel, The Chalk Man, I was quite excited to read her follow up, The Hiding Place. Tudor has a narrative style that is both chilling and mesmerizing. The Chalk Man was a wild ride, and I was anticipating great things from her newest novel.
In The Hiding Place, Joe has returned to the town where he grew up. He is grappling with personal issues while at the same time trying to come to grips with what happened to his sister many years ago, and connecting it to current events that appear to be repeating themselves in the town. You see, Joe’s sister Annie disappeared when she was a young child, but then returned a changed girl before dying in a car accident. The novel is told in alternating perspectives from current Joe and young Joe around the time of Annie’s disappearance, so that the reader does not have all of the information until the very end when it comes to climax.
With all of the elements of a story I enjoy reading, I unfortunately have to say that The Hiding Place did not jive well with me. The writing style was still so engaging and engrossing, I couldn’t put it down. The problem I had revolved around the actual story, execution of the plot, and resolution. The book opens with a gruesome murder suicide with descriptions that made my stomach turn. I was hooked. But as readers, we are never provided an answer that is satisfactory. In fact, the whole reasoning behind all of these strange events in the town is quite hand wavy. I for one, am not a fan of books that are set in reality but then throw in a supernatural element simply for explaining a major plot point. I personally felt cheated out of a mystery I was promised.
I also felt The Hiding Place didn’t distinguish itself enough from The Chalk Man. There were too many parallels between the two books. For example, the premise of the story in both books is that a group of friends with one girl who doesn’t quite fit in run into trouble as kids in a secluded region of town and it comes back to haunt them as adults, while told from the perspective of the one who became a teacher. I did enjoy one snarky line that alluded directly to The Chalk Man’s shocking ending, but the rest of the architecture of the story could have distinguished itself a little more.
Overall, 2/5 moose