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The Hidden Things

by Jamie Mason

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A twisty, dark thriller from the acclaimed author of the "ripping good" (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Full, inspired by the real-life unsolved theft of a seventeenth-century painting by a Dutch master.
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With The Hidden Things (Gallery Books, 2019) Jamie Mason has crafted a solid suspense thriller that is firmly rooted in contemporary culture. It all begins when 14-year-old Carly fends off a would-be attacker who follows her home from school. Their encounter in the front hallway of her family’s home is captured by the surveillance cameras that her stepfather, John, had installed. Predictably in the 2010s, the video goes viral on social media after first being posted on the local police website. Soon Carly is fielding questions and attention from friends and strangers alike, who all know her as the plucky teen who defeated the bad guy.

Carly’s a bit overwhelmed by all the attention, but not so much that she doesn’t notice how oddly John is acting in the wake of the incident. And she isn’t immune to the household tension that erupts because neither Carly nor her mom realized John had installed surveillance cameras inside as well as outside the house.

Many cities away, the viral video comes to the attention of a group of people who are particularly interested, not in Carly and her heroics, but in what’s shown in the background: The corner of an old painting that was stolen from a museum and later thought to be lost forever when an underground sale went awry. How did it end up in Carly’s house? And to what lengths will people go to get it back?

The story is told from a variety of viewpoints, giving the reader insight into what all the main players are thinking and feeling. There’s Carly, of course, who is the heroine in more ways than one. But there’s also her stepfather, who finds himself trapped in a situation that could cause him to lose the comfortable home life he has finally found. And the other people who were involved in the caper-gone-wrong along with John are also given their turn in the spotlight: hapless loser Roy, ruthless bad guy Owen, and the enigmatic Marcelline, left for dead but very much alive. As they all converge on Carly’s home, no one’s sparing a thought for who might get caught in the crossfire. And it’s up to Carly to try to save herself, her family, and her “normal” teenage life.

Mason does a great job of juggling the rotating viewpoints without losing the reader’s attention. She managed to make me sympathize with each of them in turn, even when I knew the unspeakable things some of them had done. And she doesn’t try to wrap things up with a neat bow and unbelievable feats of strength from a young teenager. Carly is indeed her own savior (with a little help) but she is changed irrevocably by what she learns and what she is forced to do, and Mason doesn’t shy away from exploring the consequences of those actions. It kept me turning pages to the very end, and feeling satisfied when I closed the cover.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  rosalita | Sep 1, 2019 |
This story totally hooked me.

The writing has a literary flair, with beautifully crafted sentences and poignant observations throughout.

Pacing is the kind of slow burn that invites us into the characters' minds so we feel the emotions, then gradually builds in urgency and intensity as the truth unravels.

The plot is complex without ever becoming convoluted.

Characters are well developed, realistic, and, I thought, fascinating. I loved Carly! When someone is called "fearless," it doesn't really mean they have no fear, only that they have the strength needed to move beyond the fear. That's Carly, and she's a badass teen!

The Hidden Things isn't a throwaway thriller. This is a character study, a look at the lies we tell others and ourselves, and a glimpse at what people are capable of when pushed to the edge.

*I received a review copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.* ( )
  Darcia | Aug 29, 2019 |
Jamie Mason is a great writer. And a better storyteller. Edgy and on point. The Hidden Things is a perfect example. The characters, typical of Mason’s other works, are well-drawn and deeply flawed. In this story, they find themselves in the midst of an art heist that goes very wrong. Not immediately, but years later when home-invasion assault during which fourteen-year-old Carly Liddell fends off her attacker. The entire event is captured by home security cameras. The video finds its way to the cyber world and becomes a sensation. Everyone watches, cheers her courage and resolve. Well, not everyone. Something is buried at the corner of the video. Something that means nothing to most viewers but to a few it means lies, deceit, and greed. To Carly’s stepfather, it means his dark past has come calling. What follows is a convoluted story that will keep you on edge until the end.

DP Lyle, award-winning author of the Jake Longly and Cain/Harper thriller series ( )
  DPLyle | Jun 22, 2019 |
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A twisty, dark thriller from the acclaimed author of the "ripping good" (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Full, inspired by the real-life unsolved theft of a seventeenth-century painting by a Dutch master.

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