The Hiding Place
by C.J. Tudor
Publication Date : February 5, 2019
Pages : 345
Synopsis From Publisher :
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.
Around this time last year I was raving about C. J. Tudor’s debut novel, The Chalk Man. I am delighted to be in the same position this year with Tudor’s second novel The Hiding Place. The Hiding Place is the perfect mix of mystery, folklore, and edge of your seat suspense.
Joe Thorne who returns to him hometown full of regrets and thoughts of retribution. He acknowledges his role in the tragic events of his past, but he believes others are to blame as well. His return to Arnhill unleashes something in the town which has been buried since Joe left. As Joe’s present and past come together he must face them both in order to move forward.
Tudor has an incredible ability to create complex and multi-dimensional characters. In The Chalk Man, one of the key characters participated in morally questionable behavior. However this character had some redeemable qualities which made him likable. In The Hiding Place, Tudor has done the same thing with lead character Joe Thorne. Joe has some noble reasons for returning to Arnhill, but he also has some not so noble reasons. In spite of Joe’s poor choices, I still wanted him to overcome his demons and guilt. Tudor has mastered creating the shady yet lovable character.
The town of Arnhill is the costar of The Hiding Place. A former mining town, the residents are no stranger to hard work and tragedies. Many lives were lost due to collapsed mine shafts and lung diseases from working in the mines, leaving families in financial ruin. After the mine closed, Arnhill lost it’s central employer and has never really bounced back. Arnhill comes across as a very gloomy and desperate place, even the residents lack kind words to describe it. Joe arrives on the heels of yet another tragedy in Arnhill ; a murder suicide involving a mother and her young son. These horrible events do not bring the town closer together instead they make the locals meaner and more suspicious of each other. This element is what made Arnhill such a huge part of The Hiding Place. Tudor exemplifies a town on edge just waiting for the next calamity to strike; filling the story with anxiety and a strong sense of dread.
Switching between Joe’s teenage years and present day the plot is filled with many cliff hangers, creating the much loved “I’ll just read one more chapter “ effect. Tudor’s descriptions are vivid, but do not weigh the story down. Instead each description is plotted carefully with word choices that allow readers to truly picture themselves in Arnhill. Readers will also understand and sympathize with Joe’s shame and guilt.
I am so happy to find myself in love with yet another novel by C. J. Tudor. I am now struggling to decide which of Tudor’s books I like best. While The Chalk Man is more of a coming of age story and The Hiding Place is a story of redemption; Tudor’s gritty and compelling writing style showcases her ability to be original yet consistent. Readers who loved The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton should add The Hiding Place to their list of must reads.
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars