The Hiding Place

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.

You know how there are certain times of year that have piles and piles of new thrillers ready for you to read? This is definitely one of those times of year as people get ready to escape chillier climes for sunshine and beach reading.

C.J. Tudor’s new book, The Hiding Place, is definitely a great book for reading poolside. This isn’t to be confused with Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place which is about something very, very different.

hiding place

Joe Thorne has come home, a place he never thought he’d willingly come back to. Arnhill is a little village in the north of England, marked by the rise and fall of the coal mine. The cottage that Joe rents was the sight of a horrific murder suicide; a teacher at the school killed her son and then herself. Joe isn’t bothered by living in the same place that was so recently the sight of so much horror – he’s here to keep an eye on a friend from the past, to make sure that something that happened years ago isn’t happening again.

If you read Tudor’s previous novel, The Chalk Man, this one might feel familiar. Both feature rather unlikable middle-aged men who were a part of a particular kind of friend group in their youth, trying to piece together what happened years ago and what relevance, if any, they have to what’s going on in the present day.

But The Hiding Place has a creeping element of horror that was unexpected. Horror is not a genre I ever read but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it, probably because it was done with a light touch. I thought that I knew how the story was going to end and I definitely guessed part of it, but Tudor did a better job than I realized of obfuscating the mystery.

I’m trying to find more to write about this book but I’m struggling. I liked it, I enjoyed reading it, I’ll probably pass it along to friends who I think would enjoy it. But it’s not the kind of book the benefits from a whole lot of dissection. Some books are just meant to be enjoyed on a beach, or a plane, by a pool, or apres ski. The Hiding Place wouldn’t be out of place in any of those spots.

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