When Joe Thorne receives a mysterious email from an anonymous sender saying only ‘it’s happening again’, he knows he must return to his hometown of Arnhill, an old English mining town that has seen better days. He returns reluctantly, gets a teaching job at his old high school and soon finds out that no one is happy that he’s back. Joe Thorne, the protagonist in C. J. Tudor’s new book The Hiding Place, is a damaged man, both physically and emotionally, and he knows he shouldn’t have returned to the town where so many memories haunt him. As we get to know this curmudgeonly Joe, we realize that he’s got many demons from his past on his trail, some of whom are still actively trying to hurt him.
I loved C. J. Tudor’s first thriller, The Chalk Man, and had high hopes for this second book and I was not disappointed. The old mining town has many secrets and powerful people who want those secrets kept buried. Joe’s very presence is a threat to them and they seem willing to do whatever it takes to scare Joe away. Yet Joe doggedly remains, harboring some vague hope that he can right some old wrongs. This book reminded me strongly of some of the Stephen King’s books I’ve enjoyed. I found myself rooting for Joe despite the fact that he isn’t a very likeable character. I just knew he was trying to do the right thing in the face of all sorts of sinister opposition.
If you like books filled with long-held secrets and surprise twists in a dark setting filled with unexplained deaths and random humorous moments, this is a book for you. I could not put this book down until the final satisfying page. Highly recommended. I could also recommend this book and Tudor’s first book, The Chalk Man, to older teens who enjoy thrillers.