Review: The Hiding Place / The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor

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Rating: ★★★★☆+

Synopsis:

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, 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.

Review:

First off, thanks to Crown and the author for an advanced reading copy of The Hiding Place (aka The Taking of Annie Thorne in the UK) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

So, I loved Tudor’s debut, The Chalk Man, which was published last year (you can see my full review here). Suffice to say, picking up The Hiding Place and binging it was a no-brainer. I love slow-burn, horror-infused mysteries/thrillers where you are left on the edge of your seat throughout the entire read.

Unlike The Chalk Man, The Hiding Place took on a much darker theme and even had a supernatural vibe to it. If I had to compare it to anything, I would probably say Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider’. A violent and gruesome opening scene, leading into a fully fleshed murder-mystery with an air of the supernatural.

What I enjoyed most about the novel was the constant sense of “WTF is going on????” Tudor takes such a slow and deliberate pace when it comes to revealing pertinent information that you are just itching to get to the conclusion. In all honesty, I think that is what makes her such a fantastic writer. She keys in on what a reader like myself wants in these types of stories, and surrounds it with a phenomenal tale with horror imagery sprinkled in. It is like the perfect cheesecake filled with spiders.

Tudor has definitely earned the moniker ‘Britain’s female Stephen King’. Based on her debut, she has been on my must-read list. Now, with two fantastic releases, she needs to be on yours.

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