- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (October 2, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780451237965
- ISBN-13: 978-0451237965
- ASIN: 045123796X
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 137 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hiding Place: A Thriller Paperback – October 2, 2012
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"Bell follows his 2011 debut, Cemetery Girl, with an artfully constructed tale...a powerful, provocative novel." - Publishers Weekly
About the Author
David Bell is a bestselling and award-winning author whose work has been translated into six languages. He’s currently an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. His novels include Bring Her Home, Since She Went Away, Somebody I Used to Know, The Forgotten Girl, Never Come Back, The Hiding Place, and Cemetery Girl.
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Twenty-five years ago, seven year old Janet Manning was sent with her four year old brother, Justin, to a nearby park to play. Her mother instructed Janet to never take her eyes off of her sibling, but Janet's friend, Michael, was at the park too. Janet and Michael went off to play and when they returned, Justin was missing. Justin was later found buried in a shallow grave in the adjoining woods. An African American man, Dante Rogers, who was also a questionable character, was convicted for this crime he insisted he did not commit, and after serving his time, subsequently was released from prison still maintaining his innocence.
On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the murder, a stranger approached Janet at her family home, in the middle of the night, suggesting that there was additional information regarding her brother's killing. Janet determined to find out the truth, along with her daughter Ashleigh, uncovered many lies and distortions and her brother's closed case started to unravel.
There were some problems with the book for me. I questioned why, after twenty-five years this stranger first came forward. Janet, who no doubt suffered a difficult life after the death of her brother, didn't come across as feeling any guilt for the incident. In fact, she was presented as a very strong, well-adjusted woman, raising her daughter on her own and taking care of her unemployed, aloof dad. Side stories, such as Janet's single-motherhood and money being stolen from the church, fizzled and left this reader asking why time was wasted on this part of the story. Also, Dante Roger's story needed to be heard, either by his own voice or the voice of his family or friends. Further, Janet's friend, Michael, who was in the park with her the day Justin was killed, mysteriously came home to confront Janet about a memory that had revealed itself during therapy. It all was too coincidental, and believe it or not, very slow in parts.
That being said, the book still held my interest. I wanted to find out what really happened the day Justin was killed, and that is why I gave a three star review.
When Janet was 7, 25 years ago, her little brother was found dead in the woods. What's worse is that the was supposed to be watching him. Her mother died several years later, they say from grief. Her father Bill, becomes distant.
Now Janet is raising her own spirited child, 15 year old Ashleigh and they're back living with Bill. On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the murder, there's renewed interest in the murder and rumblings that the man tried and convicted for the crime might have been railroaded because of his race. A cop, a stranger and an childhood friend leave Janet reconsidering all she thought she knew about that day her brother was killed, maybe even that he wasn't even the body they buried. And everyone seems to be keeping secrets.
Filled with interesting, and flawed characters and plot twists around every corner, this story kept me guessing until the end.
My only criticism is I wish there was more resolution at the end for the minor characters. There were no major questions, but each character was in part sympathetic and I would have liked to know how they ended up. Don't let this deter you from reading this book.
Back in town, the events of the murder 25 years ago are suddenly being relived.
And the appearance in the middle of the night of a stranger at Janet's door claiming he knows what really happened sets events into motion that eventually reveal the true story.
I liked the book a lot. It became more and more compelling as I read further in the book.