Title: The Hiding Place
Author: David Bell
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
It’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin Manning’s disappearance, and his older sister Janet is still grappling with that fateful day. After all, she was supposed to be in charge of her brother, but she didn’t look after him closely enough. Now, the man accused of kidnapping and killing Justin is being released from prison, and Janet has mixed feelings. She can’t bring herself to admit it, but she isn’t completely convinced of his guilt. When a man comes to Janet’s door late at night claiming to have new information about Justin’s kidnapping, Janet knows that she must follow this new trail, wherever it might lead.
The Hiding Place is a novel with many layers. There’s the mystery behind Justin’s kidnapping, but it’s also about Janet’s attempts to move on with her life, to find some sense of normalcy day-to-day. On one hand, it would be helpful to find closure and to put to rest those nagging doubts, but on the other hand, bringing up Justin disturbs everything in Janet’s life. She’s a well-written character, and it’s interesting to see how she deals with the new information thrown at her. It’s clear she still has a lingering sense of guilt over her brother’s disappearance, though there’s no way it was her fault.
Indeed, all the characters in The Hiding Place are exceptionally well written. From Janet to her daughter, Ashleigh, to her father, who refuses to even discuss Justin, each of these characters leaps off the page. The reader has no doubt they have their own motivations, and it’s difficult to believe their lives don’t continue on after the last pages are turned. It’s wonderful to see how much time and effort Bell invested in crafting his characters, even the minor ones, and it makes for an incredibly engaging, emotionally investing read.
What David Bell does exceptionally well is maintain a heightened level of suspense from beginning to end in The Hiding Place. Every time it seems like the reader has an answer, Bell twists the story such that more questions pop up in its place. It makes for a great read and keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end. His writing style is very atmospheric and it makes the reader feel like there are secrets to be revealed at every turn.
With wonderfully crafted characters and an engaging plot, The Hiding Place is a superb read. This is a novel you’ll want to read in one sitting; it keeps you riveted, and you won’t be able to rest until you discover the truth behind Justin’s disappearance. If the books you’ve been reading lately haven’t been thrilling you, this is a great choice for a change of pace.
Other books by David Bell: