Thrillers have always been one of my favourite genres, but there was a time I was completely taken aback by the “girl” in the title trend. As much as I liked Gone Girl and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I didn’t like any of the “girls” that came after them, so by the time I came across C. J. Tudor’s debut, The Chalk Man, I was almost ready to give up on the genre!
Reading The Chalk Man was a last-ditch effort on my part to save my appetite for thrillers, and you can’t imagine how happy I was to read Tudor’s haunting novel! It was refreshing to see a plot that didn’t revolve around an unreliable witness/ a woman with a drinking problem, yet could keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Tudor earned herself a big fan with The Chalk Man, and I was over the moon when her second book came out last month.
The Hiding Place is the story of Joe Thorne. Joe had left Anhill, the small town he grew up in after tragedy struck his family. Anhill is a place people leave for good – it is a desolate, dilapidated town with an abandoned pit mine. So at the time Joe left Anhill, he too had vowed that he’d never set foot in Anhill again. But then something had changed, and Joe is now back in Anhill to take the place of a recently deceased English teacher at the school he once attended.
What has made Joe return to a place he isn’t welcome – where his old pals are no longer his friends? As the story unfolds, we learn that Joe has two reasons for his return. Joe is in serious trouble related to a gambling debt, so he is trying to outrun his loan shark. And then there is this old score Joe wants to settle – something that has got to do with his sister Annie’s disappearance and death at the tender age of eight.
I really liked the sound of The Hiding Place premise, but my enthusiasm didn’t last for long with this one. That’s not Tudor’s fault though – I’m not the right audience for this book. The Hiding Place is marketed as a thriller, however, it has horror/ supernatural elements, and this chilling novel managed to frighten me silly! Inter-generational family drama in a small town is at the heart of this book. But as you can imagine when you add a creepy doll, and a pit from where no one returns unchanged into the mix, the result could become spine-chilling! Even though I didn’t appreciate getting goosebumps while reading this, I suppose it speaks volumes about Tudor’s ability to write, so I recommend The Hiding Place to readers who enjoy eerie thrillers. 3 stars.
Note: Many thanks to Crown Publishing Group for sending me a review copy of The Hiding Place.