The Harrison lodge is full of hiding places where young Kate can discover all the secrets no one wants her to know.
Eleven-year-old Kate keeps her knowledge to herself—one sister’s stash of marijuana, the other’s petty cash pilfering, her grandfather’s contraband candy bars. She protects her mother and Gran, too, screening out critical comments from the hotel suggestions box. But suddenly the stakes are raised; her grandfather’s best friend is murdered the day after Kate heard the two men arguing.
At the same time, far from the quiet mountain resort, a homeless man sees a robbery gone wrong . . . a gang member seeks revenge for the death of his son . . . and a boy chooses the worst time to wield spray paint on a store window. In a strange and spiraling sequence of events, their disparate worlds collide at Harrison Lodge.
Kate offers shelter to one of them, unaware of the terrible consequences to the family she loves. But people can hide in all kinds of ways, sometimes even in plain sight . . . and some secrets are just waiting to be exposed.
There are many types of family in Hiding Places. A street family. A gang family. A dysfunctional family. A devastated family. Long-lost family. There are also many places to hide. Under a bridge. In a secret passage. Behind a romance novel. Beneath a facade. In plain sight. These recurring themes nicely set the framework for the suspense as well as the psychology behind it. This psychological facet to the suspense gave it a feel reminiscent of Diane Chamberlain’s novels, and I really couldn’t put it down. But, when all was said and done, it just didn’t come together for me. All the elements were there but for me they just didn’t quite click.
Even now, I’m sitting here trying to figure out exactly what I didn’t like about Hiding Places.
Maybe it’s that I couldn’t quite determine each character’s motivation (at least for the most part) but even as I type that out I can give you a cursory idea of them. Shallow perhaps but it’s there.
Maybe it’s the lack of anything truly redemptive, and by that I’m not even talking about the basic absence of spirituality in a book classified as Christian fiction. I personally believe it’s nice sometimes to simply relax into a book you know won’t offend you without having to stop the story for church every so often. But what I’m referring to in this case is that there just didn’t seem to be much character growth. There was some, granted, but it was mild and left me somewhat dissatisfied.
Speaking of characters… maybe the main reason I couldn’t click with Hiding Places is that I just couldn’t like most of the people in it. Two key characters – Kate and Pearl – made this book for me and I loved both of them. Kate is a precocious eleven-year-old in need of a hug who takes care of her family when it should be the other way around. Pearl is the great-grandmother who sees in Kate a kindred spirit and brings some levity to the otherwise heartbreaking plot. Everyone else is … bleak and dysfunctional and frustrating.
Bottom Line: Erin Healy’s engaging writing voice and the riveting suspense will make the book difficult to put down. But the lack of redemptive development and the plethora of difficult-to-like characters may leave you dissatisfied once you’ve turned the last page. Still, I have no problem at all recommending it to fans of suspense, especially people like me who enjoy Diane Chamberlain or Kristen Heitzmann. It’s a well-written book, just not my favorite 🙂
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
About the Author:
Erin Healy is the bestselling co-author of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning fiction editor for numerous bestselling authors. Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors. Her novels include such thrilling stories as Never Let You Go, The Baker’s Wife, and Stranger Things. She lives with her family in Colorado. Learn more at http://www.erinhealy.com/