Review: Hidden by Emma Kavanagh

Tuesday 21 April 2015
Title: Hidden
Author: Emma Kavanagh
Publisher: Century
Publication Date: 23rd April 2015
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9781780892047
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
HE'S WATCHING: A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He's unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently.

Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman - before it's too late.

SHE'S WAITING: To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety - both for her, and her young niece who's been recently admitted. She's heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he?

As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman's next target will be. But he's there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks...

I read and reviewed Emma Kavanagh's debut novel Falling at the end of last year, and really enjoyed it. I was thrilled then when I was asked to be part of the blog tour for Hidden. Early reviews for the book were very mixed, but given that I recently hated a book that everybody else loved, that didn't bother me in the slightest.

It's hard to know where to start with a book like this. It starts off brilliantly, with probably one of the best openings to a book I have read this year. Emma's writing is incredibly descriptive, and so I almost felt as if I was standing alongside Charlie as she witnessed the results of a shooting spree at a local hospital. Having worked in a hospital in the past, I found it more than a little eerie picturing the scene described here.

Clues are dropped in the beginning before we go back in time to six days before the shooting. The biggest in particular leaving the reader with a number of questions about the gunman himself, the main one being whether he is an unknown entity or does he in fact know Charlie, Imogen and Aden? Or indeed any of the myriad of victims lying dead on the hospital floor. This is what compelled me to read on, and despite not immediately taking to all of the characters, it was the first-person narratives of Charlie and the gunman that were by far the most gripping in the book. Towards the end of the book especially is when the story gets really good with some dramatic events making for some truly exciting and thrilling twists. Hidden is an extremely thought-provoking book, with not everything being clear cut. I wouldn't want to elaborate for fear of spoilers but it is all too realistic in places, and very well researched by Emma.

There are a number of threads running throughout Hidden and a number of characters to follow, leaving me wondering just when everything would eventually converge and all would be revealed. I have to say that I completely failed to work out who the gunman was, but with plenty of twists and red herrings throughout, I am sure that there will be a lot of readers who fail to do so. Emma's experiences in the police bring to the book that authenticity authors often attempt to achieve but that only very few actually do. Emma was an author to watch after the release of Falling, but that is the case even more now with Hidden and I can't wait to see what she writes next.


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