Title: The Hiding Place
Author: John Burley
Published: HarperCollins Avon UK August 2015
Status: Read on August 06, 2015 — I own a copy
The Hiding Place (also published as The Forgetting Place) is John Burley’s second stand alone novel of suspense.
Dr Lise Shields has always accepted that Menaker Psychiatric Hospital houses some of America’s most dangerous criminally insane offenders, until Jason Edwards becomes her patient. There is something not quite right about his presence at the institution, and when her supervisor refuses to produce his file, Lise is driven to investigate. Her suspicions are seemingly confirmed when she is approached by two FBI agents who explain Jason is in hiding, and both she and her patient are now in danger.
With several twists in the tale, The Hiding Place is gripping novel. Whilst the story may require some suspension of belief during its reading, most nagging elements of discord are eventually resolved as the startling conclusion is reached. It may be a little slow to begin with, as Burley establishes the foundation for his story, the pace of The Hiding Place picks up considerably as the novel unfolds, building suspense that will keep you turning the pages.
“This, I realise, so often leads to our downfall. We press forward not because we want to know, but because we must know. It doesn’t matter how terrible that knowledge is, or what price must be paid for it. And it is not until the moment of revelation that we scurry back in horror and dismay…”
Dr Lise Shields is an interesting character, we are told she has been a psychiatrist at Menaker for five years, and leads a rather solitary life. Her choice of profession was inspired by an uncle that suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and Lise is desperate to protect Jason from his pursuers in a way that she was unable to protect her uncle from his.
“We belong to our past, each of us serving it in our own way, and to break the tether between that time and the present is to risk shattering ourselves in the process.”
If you can avoid spoilers, The Hiding Place offers an impressive final twist, perhaps one I should have seen coming…but was neatly distracted from. This is a taut, page turning thriller.
“The past is what imprisons us. There are some things in this world that can never be undone. But they can be faced. They can be forgiven. And if we hold onto that, then there is a chance for us. A chance that someday…we will be free.”
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