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Lisa Gardner is fast establishing a reputation as an excellent thriller writer. I remember really enjoying one of her earlier books, but for some reason never quite got round to reading any more r. Judging by Hide, it's unlikely that I'll let several years pass before I read something else by her again.
Annabelle Granger did not have a normal childhood. For some unknown reason, her father would never allow her family to stay in one place for long, constantly moving them around America and providing them with new identities. Now aged 30, she still lives a solitary life, unsure of exactly what it is she should be afraid of. When the bodies of six children are uncovered in an underground pit at a former mental hospital, Annabelle is shocked when one of the bodies is identified as her. As she works with police detectives DD Warren and Bobby Dodge, Annabel starts to uncover the truth about her past.
Hide is one of those books that grabs you from the start. It starts off in a rather intriguing fashion and never really stops. Mystery is piled upon and it seems there is no end to the layers of intrigue that Gardner lines up. Yet the book is never confusing. It's not one of those titles that is so labyrinthine in its plotting that you can never quite remember who is who or who has done what to whom.
On the contrary, Hide is very well plotted. It kept me guessing until right near the end and intrigued throughout. Just when you think you've got a handle on where she's heading, she throws in another curve ball that throws you off the scent. OK, the final denouement could be accused of cheating just ever so slightly, hiding the murderer from you for most of the book, but even this was well-handled so you didn't feel cheated.
Gardner has a style well suited to thrillers. The action rips along at a fair old pace but never so fast that it becomes one of those empty, breathless thrillers. She doesn't get bogged down with so much detail that it becomes a dull police procedural, but neither is she shallow and superficial. Her writing contains enough detail to make it feel gritty and believable.
Because of that, it actually feels a little different to other books of this type. Sure, it contains some of the same DNA (a hero/heroine under threat from an unknown assailant, police trying to track down a killer), but it's not your standard serial killer/stalker novel. You start off by thinking that you know exactly where it is heading (a cat and mouse game with a serial killer, a dark secret hidden in the past), but Gardner throws in enough new ideas to keep it feeling fresh.
It's helped by the fact that the book is full of likeable (if sometimes slightly irascible) characters. Annabelle is a fun, slightly spiky character to be around; Bobby Dodge might be your bog standard cop with a Heart and a Past, but Gardner manages to make him more than a cliché. Sergeant DD Warren might get a little less of a look in, but she's still a pretty strong character when she does and it's good to see two strong female characters in a traditionally male-dominated area.
It's testament to how good Gardner's writing is that I only found out after I'd finished this novel that this is actually a sort of sequel, and that Bobby Dodge had previously featured in Alone. At no point did I feel that I was missing out, as Gardner provided plenty of information on Dodge's background. At the same time, if you had read Alone, I don't think you would feel the book was repeating what you already knew. That's a serious feat of writing: to not patronise existing readers, but not make newcomers feel excluded.
If there's a criticism, it's that - as with all too many thrillers - it can sometimes be a little unbelievable. Characters act in ways that they simply would not do in real life and do stupid things, or there are just one too many unlikely coincidences, just so that the author can make the plot head in the right direction. Equally, although the book kept me interested and intrigued towards the end, it was starting to feel a little drawn out and I was anxious for the finale so I could find out exactly what was going on.
In either paperback or Kindle edition, a copy of Hide will cost just shy of £5. To be honest, although I enjoyed it, I'm not sure I would want to pay that much (I got it for 99p when it was on offer), but it's certainly worth paying a couple of pounds for.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2013
I'm trying to expand my reading horizons at the moment, and rather than staying in the chic-lit category, I've been trying out some other types of books. After reading some good reviews of this one, I thought it would be a good re-introduction to the world of crime fiction, which I have been out of touch with in recent years.
Annabelle Granger has spent her whole life running away from something....but she doesn't know what. She was seven years old when her parents uprooted her life by asking her to pack a few of her favourite items, and they moved away leaving their friends and neighbours behind, taking on a new identity. This pattern continued for years, until Annabelle reaches adulthood and becomes settled with her life following the death of her parents. Her world is turned upside down, however, when she hears of bodies being found in the grounds of a former mental health hospital, and one of the victims is reported to be..... Annabelle Granger. The identification is based on a locket bearing her name, which she had given to her best friend Dori when she was little. She visits the police and between them they try to uncover the secret of Annabelle's family history, hoping this will lead them to the person responsible for the murders.
As you would probably expect from a crime novel, there are quite a lot of characters to get to grips with in this book. This isn't helped by the fact the main character and her family have several aliases, so there were times when I had to think and backtrack to figure out who people were. The characters are introduced gradually though, so it doesn't become too confusing or overwhelming, and I wouldn't say I was confused or unsure what was going on at any time.
I found myself very empathetic towards the main character. Although obviously I have never experienced anything similar to what she is going through (thank goodness!), I warmed to her immediately and could put myself in her position to imagine what she must be feeling. There were times when I was genuinely scared for her safety, and found myself jumping at creaks in the house when reading in bed. As a person, Annabelle is very easy to warm to, and although she has been forced to lead the lifestyle of a recluse, she also has interests and things she is very passionate about, for example her sewing business and fabrics, and the love for her dog Bella is something many people can relate to. She has had a very difficult life and is a strong character on the outside, but obviously the reader is privileged to witness her more vulnerable side in terms of her feelings and fears.
As for the other characters, I found myself distrustful of pretty much everyone as I tried to work out who was looking after Annabelle's interests, and the people who couldn't be trusted. There are many suspects throughout the book, which is good if you are the kind of person who likes to get to the bottom of murder mysteries, as it will keep you guessing throughout the many twists and turns. I kept changing my mind about who I thought was responsible, and although I had figured out who could and couldn't be trusted, I didn't quite manage to put the pieces together to work out why.
The police duo in charge of the case are a male/female partnership (D.D and Dodge), and it's interesting seeing how these two work together and the chemistry they have. Although their relationship is difficult, they work well together and I was inwardly willing them to find some answers and crack the case. Interestingly, there is a romance element in the story, but even that is not as predictable as I expected.
I really enjoyed this novel, and am glad I decided to branch out into crime fiction. I have read similar books in the past, but I tend to find some of these "whodunit" books a bit similar. This one was different from the start, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the crime grabbed my attention immediately.
The pace of the novel is just right for me, although I found it took a little while to get going at the beginning. I think this was just me being impatient to find out what was going on, rather than the book being slow! The chapters alternate between Annabelle's perspective, and the investigating team's prospective. I think the fact Annabelle tells her story in first person helps us to relate to her, as we get a good idea of what is going on in her head. The other characters' feelings are described from the outside, so although we can imagine how they are feeling, some characters are focussed on more than others, so it's easy to become drawn to some rather than others. For example, we are told a lot about Dodge, but very little about his partner D.D, which means we are more likely to be on his side when they fall out over the progress of the case.
At the beginning of the book, I was struggling a little with some of the American terminology, and I think this is why I found it slow starting and didn't get into it immediately. After a while, however, I got used to this and found myself enjoying the American setting and terminology. The book is also quite descriptive, so I could picture the scenes myself based on my impressions of America from TV and films. This brought the book to life for me, as I love the scenery and city life scenes from American films and could just picture things like the flat where Annabelle lives, and so on.
There are a few sub-plots running alongside the main plot, which didn't detract from the main story but instead held my interest and made me want to continue reading. Each chapter is left on a cliffhanger, and there are many twists and turns throughout this book which keep you guessing and hold your attention.
Overall, I think this is an excellent crime novel, with a satisfying outcome. By that, I simply mean that I wasn't disappointed by the ending, and I felt that there were no loose ends which is something I have experienced with previous crime novels. Whether or not they all manage to resolve the case and live happily ever after....well, you'll just have to read it for yourself.
(Review is also posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
==Synopsis of the book:==
Annabelle Granger has had a tough life. She has spent her Childhood days moving every few years with her Mum and Dad to a new place with new identities. She knew not why or what her family where running from, but it was a life she got used to and didn't question. As a result she was always a loner and her parents where her only friends.
Now she is 30 years old and living in a flat in Boston. Both her parents have died a few years before and her only friend is her dog Bella. She still does not know why she had such an unusual upbringing and now there is no-one to ask. All she knows is her father trained her to be prepared for danger and take care of herself and most importantly not to trust anyone.
This solitary life is shaken up, when in the grounds of a now disused mental institute six bodies are discovered in an underground cavern. The bodies have been bagged up and on one of them is a locket with Annabelle Granger's name on it. And because of the unusual way these bodies have been stored working out how long they have been there is going to take time and patience. All the Police can tell is they are Children. Now Annabelle must engage with the Police and advise them she is not dead and that she gave this precious locket to a friend Dori shortly before the family moved and disappeared again.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
It is not often I am complimentary about a novel I have read and fail to find some fault in it but this is amazingly the case with this excellent wondrous piece of crime fiction. I am a bit of a misery on the whole and those who know me probably wouldn't be so insensitive to say so but I know me and that is the truth. So for me to wax lyrical about a novel is unheard of as I find it easier to criticise than to praise.
What makes this more amazing are two other factors. The first is as a rule I do not enjoy the first novel I have read from an author I am not familiar with. I have struggled in the past to put my finger on exactly why this is but I think its getting used to the style of writing the author employs, getting to understand them and how they write. As we are all different and we all think and write differently but I found even on the first page of the story I was immediately getting and understanding exactly what the author was saying and enjoying it. I was baffled but very happy with this amazing development. (next thing I know I'll be friendly with strangers and talk to dogs!!)
The second is this was written by an American author. Now to any normal person this would not be a problem at all, but for me it always has been. I'm not sure what it is the culture, the lifestyle or the wide open spaces, but I really struggle to relate to any American author. I have tried so many and they have always disappointed me and I have not been able to relate to either the story or the characters or even both. But this novel was a real eye opener and I loved every minute of it and felt mentally drained by everything that had happened within it.
The author Lisa Gardner wrote her first novel when she was only 20 years old. She has written a total of 16 books. With 'Hide' being her second in the DD and Warren series and it was first published in 2007. There is seven stories at present in this series. However to a new reader of the series this novel could have been the first because while you knew their was history between DD and Warren for me it wasn't important and did not in any way effect the story I was reading and what was happening and had happened to Annabelle.
So why did I purchase this book? Well the simple answer is I was at a car boot sale so time ago and there was a lady selling lots of books. I had selected three at 25p each and I wanted a fourth to make it an even pound. And having enjoyed this book so much I think it was probably the best 25p I have ever spent. I had no feelings at all about the book, I immediately knew it was a Detective story which I love on the whole but nothing else. The title sounded interesting and even the two paragraph summary on the back cover did not get my senses going. So it sat on one of my book shelves for six months until I finally thought I should give it a go and see what it was about.
The story was excellent it had everything I think I would look for in a Detective novel. I was engrossed from the very first page. I wanted to know about this unusual young lady Annabelle and why she and her family spent her Childhood years moving and having new identities everywhere they went. It seemed bizarre but even as I started to learn about her I found her a wonderful character and one I immediately took to my heart and felt a great deal of empathy for. It started by focusing on her and this I found fascinating but very soon focused on DD and Warren which I didn't so much enjoy but as the story unfolded and I learnt more about them I liked more.
The story had a good pace about it and I loved all the mystery and suspense within it. It for me was such a well thought out story, I never had any idea what would happen next and what direction it would go in next. Certainly there was enough threads to it and a lot of possible avenues the investigation could take. The only thing that I thought was odd was identifying the six bodies from the underground cavern. I am sure given the nature of the investigation that resources would have been brought in much quicker to identify them. As surely that in most cases would have a massive bearing on how the investigation proceeded.
For me this was a real and I hate to use the term page turner. I felt involved in the story the whole way through and I had to know the truth about Annabelle's family and who killed those Children. The story was well told and there where several possible suspects to be eliminated. Although the Detectives seemed to find this task difficult to do and these characters all seemed to continue to appear throughout the story. But that in a way also added to the suspense and mystery as I always felt they all had something to hide or something they did not want discovered about them.
The story had a very exciting conclusion too. Even here there was a surprise and I really liked the way it unfolded. The result was a satisfying if very nerve jangling finish which certainly had been consumed and very involved in it. The story even had an epilogue, even thought it was just called Chapter 38!! For me this was really important because I had to know what happened afterwards to all the key characters within the story and it all made perfect sense which was a bonus.
For me the books lead character Annabelle turned a very good story into an excellent one. I thought she was a fabulous character and the author described her thoughts and action brilliantly. I felt a kinship and understand with her situation and I enjoyed all the scenes she was involved in. It seemed Gardner knew and described wonderfully well what it was like to have a Childhood ruined and her Adult life haunted by the past. The vulnerability of the character and the unusual circumstances really endeared her to me and I would love to see her in another story.
By contrast the other two lead characters DD and Detective Dodge I found quite ordinary. I liked the challenge they were facing and the way they were always struggling against the clock in the investigation. They for me appeared a little inept in what they were doing and while I liked their relationship and personalities there Police skills did seem quite limited. As Annabelle seemed to do almost as much as they did to try and solve the puzzle. I did think these two grew on me and I would like to see more of the chemistry between them. The author wrote from both of their view points but for me she concentrated more on Dodge so I felt I knew him a lot better than his boss Sergeant DD.
The length of the book was just right to tell an absorbing story. There was great detail throughout of both the scenes and the characters and this helped build and maintain the suspense. One feature at the end of the story impressed me a Question and Answer session with the author and some of the questions where about this book in particular rather than the authors writing in general. I found this enlightening and I was really pleased she has not ruled out using Annabelle again in future stories.
For me this was a First Class piece of crime fiction. It was one I would certainly recommend without question and I really enjoyed every minute of reading it. It was a fascinating story and I thought Annabelle was an amazing character. I think I would go so far as to say this is the best story I have read this year and I am definitely going to try another story from this talented author very soon. Maybe just maybe I am starting to understand and appreciate American authors.
==Other information about the book:
Year first published: 2007
More about the author: www.lisagardner.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS August 2012.
I came across this in the library and knew that Gardner was a highly rated crime author, and having read some of her stuff before too made me look forward to reading it. I'm glad I did because it was enjoyable from the beginning and one I'd recommend.
On the front cover is the tagline 'You really don't want him to find you', and flipping the book to the back cover provides some praise for other Gardner books. This fits in to the crime thriller genre and this is where the author has some expertise having written many previously that have been given positive reviews. We're introduced to detective Bobby Dodge and his partner in the current investigation, D.D. She's not the easiest of detectives to warm to, but we're given a little insight in to Dodge's life from the beginning, learning of how one of his first solved crimes from 25 years ago involving a woman named Catherine still haunts him.
In the present, an underground hidey hole chamber has been discovered at a disued mental hospital. Inside, it houses 6 mummified corpses that have turned in to such a condition because they've been left inside plastic bags on a shelf for who knows how long. This crime, the chamber and what was inside, echos an earlier crime. With a link to Catherine, from something she was victim to many years ago, the first thought is a possible copycat killer as the original perpetrator has been behind bars. The other question is who the unnamed women are in the chamber; being unrecognisable, the only clue is a necklace found around the neck of one victim, belonging to an 'Annabelle Granger'. Upon hearing about her apparent death, Annabelle Granger turns up at the police station; it seems she gave that necklace to a friend many years ago, and that it's definitely not her in the pit when she's still very much alive.
So now we have a link to an old crime and a possible link to Granger, who in herself is a protagonist. We learn of her life, a strange life on the run with her parents who feared a bogeyman was out to get their precious daughter. The ramblings of worried parents gone too far, or some truth in their worries? With both parents now dead and Annabelle still running, Detective Dodge and D.D. have a lot of mystery to unravel, victims to give a name to, and a killer to hunt down.
I won't say any more on the premise except that it iss original and quite intelligently done, requiring some thought to put the pieces together as they start to fall in to place. Everything that seems to make plausible sense is questioned but eventually the premise become clearer, with Gardner keeping us up to speed with what's going on and who's who. The web of characters increases but I didn't find myself getting too confused or lost because of the way the author was able to make things clear as she went along.
As for the atmosphere, it was, for the most part, relatively dark but because there didn't seem to be a ticking clock for another murder, it had a slower pace perhaps than some crime thrillers. It was still able to create vivid scenes and characters, and draw you in with a gripping premise that made you want to know how it would all eventually end.
The novel was easy to read as it flowed well, being an 'easy' read in the sense that it was enjoyable and fluid to move from page to page whilst being absorbed in the characters and premise. I liked the characters, even the ones we were supposed to feel a bit colder towards like D.D., because Gardner helped to give us some background to their motivations and perspectives. There were times, however, where I felt their depth could have been a little greater and the relationships between them a bit more developed. For instance, something happens between two characters that I had half expected, but didn't think it was explained or made to feel real enough to have a realistic feel to it. This may have been because there was quite a lot of focus on Annabelle at the expense of other areas. However, I still liked the development of her as a character because it made her easier to relate to, to imagine to scenes and what she was going through, which was further developed by having some chapters from Annabelle's first person perspective.
My other little niggle with this was that there seemed to be one loose end that wasn't tied up at the end. Although it was left reasonably well at the end, having an explanation and ending for at least the main characters (Ie Dodge and Annabelle), there was a piece of the storyline that didn't seem to be completed, which was a bit disappointing when considering the overall 'well roundedness' of the novel.
Overall, however, I found this an enjoyable read that was easy to get in to and gripping enough that it made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next without having guessed it early on (which is always a bonus!).
38 chapters over 372 pages (Hardback)
Paperback selling on Amazon for £5.24
Hide is a crime thriller that focuses on Annabelle Granger, a woman who has been on the run from an unknown stalker for all of her life, even as a child, when her parents would whisk her away at the last minute and they'd start new lives. Not knowing any different, Annabelle wakes one day to find that her death has been announced in the paper.....
Meanwhile, an underground chamber has been discovered in the grounds of a former mental hospital, and the remains of six young girls are found. One of them wears the locket that Annabelle had as a girl. Convinced there is a strong link to a previous mass murderer, Detective Bobby Dodge and Sergeant DD Warren investigate, and when Annabelle approaches them, the mystery starts getting deeper and deeper.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the mature and subtle dealing with the subject matter. The sensitive nature of young girls being abducted is dealt with in a way that doesn't really open your mind to the horrors that may have befallen them. Instead, it focuses purely on the fact that there is a murder mystery to solve, a killer at large, and that he is likely to be the very same person who has stalked Annabelle's family all their lives.
Lisa Gardner manages to inject pace throughout the book, switching the writing style from the first person with passages featuring Annabelle, to the third person when Bobby is the main focus. The characters all get depth and background, and the construction of this is expertly handled. I felt the flow was not interrupted at all, and the breaks in pages for chapters and new scenes was enough so that you could pick the book up briefly if you only had a small window to read in.
Some of the action is dealt with in a very cloak and dagger style, and Gardner manages to achieve what crime thriller authors should: the art of deflection. There are plenty of moments where there are obvious culprits, then some that are subtle enough to make you wonder whether it's deliberate or if you've really hit the nail on the head. Either way, when the ending of the book and indeed the murder mystery came along, I was surprised. It's not that the character hadn't occurred to me as the murderer, but the circumstances, the twists and the way it comes about is intricately woven but without making it seem complicated in terms of story presentation.
It wasn't perfect as a crime thriller, but it certainly made it hard to put down at times. I was very impressed with the thought that had obviously gone into the writing style and how the tale was presented. The pace of the action fluctuated but the speed of the story maintained a persistent constant, making you really want to find out how it all ends. It brings the back history of the characters into play enough so that you have to focus, but without bogging you down in too much detail to get you bored and make you want to skim. There was one plot thread which seemed somewhat irrelevant to me, but I had an indication that there had been a previous book featuring the characters, and I wondered whether having read this first would have cleared things up somewhat.
Overall then, a very enjoyable crime thriller from another author to add to my list to watch out for. I'll certainly read some more Lisa Gardner books at some point. Not knowing the name beforehand had make me put it off for a while, but I'm now glad that I picked it up and went for it. Recommended.
I am a big fan of Lisa Gardner after reading a few of her books, and this is the latest one of her books that I picked up from the library.
Annabelle Granger is having a cup of coffee one morning and reading the newspaper. Then she comes across her name. She's dead. Instead of being confused and scared, she feels relief! All her life Annabelle has been on the run with her mum and dad, trying to get away from someone. Moving home every 18 months to 2 years as a rule. But nobody ever tells her who. Then when she was still young, her mum commits suicide after the pressure of their life of lies gets too much for her. Later, when Annabelle is older, her dad is killed by a speeding taxi. Now that both her parents are dead, she realises that she will never find out the truth of who wants to hurt them and why.
Annabelle decides to stop running after all whoever posed a danger to her and family must think that she has been murdered like stated in the newspaper. However, Annabelle decides to tell the police, and the police only, that the body they found is not her. The real girls family deserves to know the truth.
The police tell her that 'her' body has been found in a mass grave at a mental institute with 5 other young children. They also tell her that a necklace was found on the body with her initials on. Now things start coming back to Annabelle. When she was younger, presents started being left on their front doorstep for her, but they were left anonymously and no-one ever sees anything. The necklace was one of them. Did someone murder the anonymous the girl thinking it was Annabelle or was it more sinister?
Fed-up of being forced to run all her life, she decides to help the police find the murderer in the hope that she will get some answers. But she does this with shocking consequences.
This book had me gripped from the first to the last word. So much so that I sat on my big, comfy leather armchair with a cup of tea and this book and just read all day long! I finished the book in 2 days, and the ending was a complete shock. I never would have imagined who the murderer was, and who had stalked Annabelle so much during her life that she was constantly on the move.
Once again, Lisa Gardner has pulled another brilliant book from her hat. In fact, I have already ordered my next lot of her books from the library (its only small in our town, so I had to order them in from other libraries). Gardner writes so well, that just as she gets to the point where you are certain that you know who the killer is, it switches path and there becomes another suspect. I love these kinds of books, and love the fact that I have to guess who the culprit is. But, with all books that I've read by Gardner so far, I have never been able to guess who the murderer is. Same with this book.
'Hide' gets a well-deserved 5 out of 5 dooyoo stars from me, for the suspense angle and also the way the whole novel was so well-written.
This is the second Lisa Gardner novel I've read, and I'm definitely a fan now, if not before.
Hide is a story of crime. Annabelle Granger was stalked when she was just seven years old. Just weeks after her family fled, her best friend disappeared. Wearing a locket baring Annabelle's name.
Detective Bobby Dodge is called in the middle of the night by DD. An ex, and a colleague. Now a Sergeant, DD Warren is in charge of a murder investigation after six child female bodies are found in an underground pit in the grounds of an abandoned psychiatric hospital. The case resembles a previous abduction case, so DD calls in Bobby (a state detective, where she is a city copper) to verify her initial reaction.
The newspapers run the story that Annabelle Granger's body has been recovered from a mass grave. So Annabelle decides it's time to stop hiding and talk to the police. Tell her story, and hopes to discover what it was she was taught to fear and run from.
This story grabbed me by the ears and pulled me in. Each character has flaws, which make them so real. The author doesn't shy away from showing them either, and actually shines a spotlight on them from time to time. Even to the point of seeing a flaw through another characters thoughts. Very refreshing really.
It's written really well. The clues that you're given send your mind off on one path, while the characters are still treading further behind. Whether that path is right or wrong, I'm not saying! A few curve balls come your way as you reach further into the book, but the best thing is, you want to find out the answers that are thrown at you early on. You want to read until it's over. You don't want to go back to work!