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What Hides Within by Jason Parent

What Hides Within

by Jason Parent

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258428,870 (4.75)7



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You don't like spiders and fear they will be crawling all over the pages of this book? Don't let that keep you from reading it, though, as it is much more than just an arachnid creature feature. Though the story does start with an unfortunate incident, leading to an eight-legged lodger in Clive's head, it soon turns into kind of a psychological thriller with a dose of humor.

The characters are multi-layered and not too likable, which makes it much more interesting to follow them along. As it turns out, at the end the spider was one of the characters I liked most, simply because it was the most honest in both its intentions and actions (the other was a little girl).

While Clive, the main character, seemed decent enough at first, just your regular shy and unremarkable guy, I couldn't shake the feeling there was also something off about him that made him not so nice at all. Same could be said about his friend Morgan.

At the end I recognized that the title may not only refer to the arachnid resident in Clive's head, but also to the secret thoughts hidden within each of the characters. Once revealed, they turned out to be pretty creepy as well, reminding me once again of one of my favorite sayings: the real monsters are mostly human.

(Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book, all opinions are my own) ( )
  misspider | Mar 12, 2018 |
What Hides Within begins with Clive Menard, a previous patient angry at the physician who botched up the surgery on his brain. A great first chapter that creates questions, in the reader’s mind, that are slowly answered over the course of the novel. It isn’t until the final chapter that all are finally concluded.

The story then pulls the reader back in time to when Clive’s real trouble began. For anyone suffering from arachnophobia, this might not be the story for you. I suffer from this fear, yet was fascinated by the plot. Grotesque as the idea was, I found myself compelled to read, to the end and put my mind at rest with the resolution. At least, I had hoped for a resolution. A short way into the story, I felt the urge to grab a Q-tip and give my auditory canal a good cleaning!

Yes, gross as it was, my morbid curiosity pushed me to continue. Clive, an ordinary man, wished for a better life, one with a better paying job and a relationship with the girl he loved. The saying careful what you wish for rings true in his case. He found himself in extraordinary circumstances. Initially frightening, he discovered the immediate benefits of listening to his new companion. His life improved, his wishes granted. But for how long?

What Hides Within will take drag you along, willing or otherwise, on Clive’s journey as he discovers exactly what deal he’s made, with whom and what it will cost him in the end. Lessons within the story will be learned, but will it be too late? At least one thing can be learned by the reader: choose your terms carefully.

The energy of the book kept the story moving. The thoughts and actions of the characters were, at times, amusing. In the end, I was left feeling the story resolved, yet potential for more. Those who enjoy a thrilling, yet dark novel will enjoy What Hides Within. ( )
  santaflash | Jan 2, 2018 |
This had quite the plot and was very well carried out although I was never quite sure if it was supposed to be horror or paranormal. It had elements of both making it enjoyable as well as entertaining. Hiding under the dark theme was even elements of humor. The characters were great, extremely well written even though Clive was just too darn likable. I would recommend this book to fans of horror and fans of the paranormal alike or anyone just looking to be scared to death. ( )
  Carol420 | Oct 9, 2017 |
As assured a debut novel as any I've read, [b:What Hides Within|15828555|What Hides Within|Jason Parent|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344971853s/15828555.jpg|21561970] defies both expectations and classification with cleverness and style. Is it horror? Comedy? Crime thriller? Supernatural mystery? The answer is difficult to pin down, but that didn't keep me from enjoying evey second of this book.

When I first started reading, I was expecting a light horror comedy somewhere in the vicinity of JOHN DIES AT THE END or THIS BOOK IS FULL OF SPIDERS, maybe even shades of DIRK GENTLY'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY.

But even though it is full of wit and humor, as the story progresses it subtley shifts to a different place - and in the end, Joe Hill's book [b:Horns|6587879|Horns|Joe Hill|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388257278s/6587879.jpg|6781405] comes to mind as the closest analogue, though thankfully WHAT HIDES WITHIN stays enjoyable throughout the duration and never slumps into pathos, not even for an instant. I'm not sure I'd completely categorize this book as horror, either - even though there are enough lurid shocks to turn the stomachs of more squeamish readers, certainly.

To me, in the end, this book is just the kind I keep searching for: something new. The story is fresh, the writing inventive and accessible, and the ending leaves the door cracked open for more spiders to enter our lives again someday if they so choose. I will be eagerly awaiting the next literary adventure from [a:Jason Parent|6505947|Jason Parent|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1377873108p2/6505947.jpg], and am so glad to have stumbled upon this amazing new talent. ( )
  Evans-Light | Nov 8, 2015 |
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Ratatouille Meets Charlotte's Web, by Chuck Palahniuk.

Where the hell do I start? Okay, I really liked this book. In fact this is the first time I've read a book of this length in a single day. My enjoyment would have been heightened, though, had I known what I was getting into. Since I don't read synopses before delving into a book, I decided to go back and read the blurb for WHAT HIDES WITHIN after the fact. Nope. No mention of dark comedy or anything of the kind. Cover is quite creepy, but nothing about it says horror farce. It's not that I didn't get a kick out of the wacky characters this book had to offer, it's that I almost put it down because I thought they were unintentional. Clive's overbearing boss, Judith, and stunningly gorgeous co-worker, Connie, had me feeling as if I'd stumbled into an episode of The Office or The Drew Carey Show. Then the weirdo interchangeable doctors popped up and I almost shut down my Kindle. Instead of abandoning the book, I hopped over to Amazon and read a few reviews. Seemed the comedy was on purpose. My bad. I expected a nasty little tale of spider shenanigans, which I got, but I also received a much greater helping of comedic flair than I'd anticipated. Once again, this is not a bad thing, I just wish I would have known sooner. Moving on.

I have a terrible, debilitating fear of arachnids. Can't stand the fucking things. Given the choice between being within inches of a spider and shoving hot coals up my ass, I'd say, "Pack the furnace and mind the steam!" Needless to say, this book screwed with me. I've felt things crawling on me all day. Combine that with the fact that this book is balls-out funny, and you can probably paint a pretty good picture of how insane I looked while reading it. Scratch. Laugh. Chuckle. Slap.

Jason Parent is horror's answer to Christopher Moore. If you're a fan of movies like SHAUN OF THE DEAD or CABIN FEVER, chances are you'll love Jason's debut novel. Which brings me to the quality of the writing. Everything flowed well most of the time, especially for a first time novelist. There were strange little sentences like, "he slashed his fingers, clawing at his neck" which stood out to me because I got an image that the character's fingers were somehow cut by his neck. Odd phrasing like that took me out of the moment a handful of times, but were not too numerous as to completely detract from my overall enjoyment.

Now, I must apologize, but if I'm to tell you why I gave this 3.5 stars I'm going to have to tread into the land of spoilers.


Even though Chester ends up with Victoria at the end of the book, the characters of Victoria and Kyle and Rachel felt tacked on, as if they were nothing more than page filler used to inflate word count. I thought for sure the author was going to bring everything full circle at the end by saying that Victoria had helped Clive with the bombings in some way, but that didn't happen. The more I think about Clive's brother's family, the more I believe the entire book could have done without them. They served zero purpose. I didn't care at all when Rachel died, or when Kyle killed himself, or when it was revealed that Victoria had let her father rot in his room while she went on about her daily life, because those characters were never developed, whatsoever. We know two things about that family, and both of those things are revealed the first time we meet the father and daughter. a) wife is dying of cancer b) Victoria is precocious. Then those characters are flung to the wayside where they sit unattended. Sorry, Jason, but I just didn't care, mainly because you didn't give a reason to.

Last thing as far as spoilers were concerned. The ending droned on and on. The last 3% of the book was a chore because the story was over for the characters who I gave a shit about. And then we're given probably one of the weirdest explanations for Chester imaginable. Nephilim? I'd much rather you'd left that to my imagination, Jason. Seemed a bit cheesy to me. But that's my personal opinion.


Since I was back and forth between three and four stars, WHAT HIDES WITHIN is a 3.5 kinda read for me. It's worth the price of admission and is pretty much impossible to put down. I laughed, I cringed, I yelled at my Kindle, and had an all around good time. So what if the ending didn't jibe for me. Stephen King does that shit all the time and I still read everything he produces.

Thanks for the creepy crawly nightmares, Jason. Now write another one.

Peace up, spiders down! Yeah, yeah! ( )
  Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
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