The Hiding Place by C. J. Tudor (2019) Review

If you had a chance to right your wrongs, would you take it?

Why I picked up the book:

Because it’s a C. J. Tudor, duh? But seriously, to the synopsis. In The Hiding Place we follow Joe as he returns to his home of Arnhill to settle old scores and find closure from things that happened in his past: betrayal, heartbreak, and the loss of his sister.

Although Joe wanted nothing more than to leave it all behind, he felt compelled to come back after he received an e-mail from someone who says not only that they know what happened to Annie, Joe’s sister, but that it’s happening again.

Using deceit to get a job at his former high school (and hide from some not-so-nice people who are after him), Joe lands on Arnhill determined to “confront the horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back (not my words but the synopsis wouldn’t be complete without them).”

The book through my criteria lens:

As with all Tudor books, I thoroughly enjoy her books. She has this amazing ability to consume your attention and capture your attention from the first page. Her books are impossible to put down once you have started.

Joe is one of my favourite male characters of all time. I am usually drawn to female characters, because I tend to empathize and relate to them more naturally. Every now and then an author manages to develop a male character so well that seeing the world through their eyes is unquestionable. Joe’s depth, motivations and journey are enthralling. I wish all the characters in the book were as developed as he was, but Tudor came pretty close. The idea for this book was amazing and the execution was near flawless. I would have liked more of the hiding place.

As usual, Tudor plays fair and has the most original ideas for books. If there is one thing you can blindly count on is for Tudor to deliver on atmosphere. She builds suspense with her narrative effortlessly. I would say that is her superpower. You are transported to whatever world she creates and you feel everything she wants you to feel through her characters! Reading her books is like going on a mental and emotional vacation.

My personal feelings:

Overall this has been my favourite C. J. Tudor so far. I loved the supernatural aspect in the book. It complemented the thriller aspect perfectly. I wouldn’t call this horror, but I think it went as far as it could without bending the thriller genre.

What solidified this book as my favourite, even though The Burning Girls scored higher, was Joe. Talk about a fully developed character with a stunning redemption arc! I really felt an emotional connection to him and I was invested in his growth journey. Fine, I lied. What solidified it as my fave was Joe AND the way Tudor explored loss and grief in The Hiding Place. I have lost two people who were my everything and I have faced my own mortality. I deeply connected to the morality exploration of the lengths we could go to get our loved ones back, if the chance was present. It’s a question I ask myself every time I wish my dad and grandfather were still here (or when I fear my days are counted): if I could make it happen, where do I draw my line and how fair it’ll be to them.

C. J. Tudor continues to be one of my favourite contemporary authors and I leave each of her books hungry for more, knowing I’ll re-read them and begging for a TV or movie adaptation!

Enjoyability     10

Characters       9

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution       9

My total rating: 4.83


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