My Rating: 4/5
Author: Thomas Hall
Title: Hidden: A Novel of Suspense
Six-year-old Eric Allen vanishes into thin air one rainy morning after his dad drops him off at school. Detective Dave Munoz and FBI agent Craig Walker are called in to solve the case. But how can they even know where to begin, without a single witness or a shred of evidence?
As they increasingly become convinced that the bright, handsome youngster has been kidnapped, the two lawmen also come to realize that it’s not only Eric’s life that hangs in the balance, but also that of the boy’s distraught father. Jonathan Allen is still grieving the mysterious death of his wife a few months earlier; now, the disappearance of his son threatens to destroy what’s left of his world.
Munoz and Walker grimly and painstakingly piece together a complex puzzle. Their investigation draws them into a tangled web of dark secrets and sinister activity that seems to stretch from some of New England’s seamiest neighborhoods to some of its most posh addresses.
As the days pass, the likelihood of finding Eric alive rapidly diminishes. And it seems that the people who might have helpful information about the child’s disappearance keep turning up dead. Can the two lawmen crack the case before it’s too late? Can they find where little Eric Allen has been hidden?
Author Thomas Hall takes readers on a tour through New England’s roads less traveled, including its red-light districts, quiet suburban neighborhoods, and even its hallowed halls of justice. Along the way, Hall pauses periodically to pull back the picture-postcard facades and reveal startling secrets behind closed doors in the lives of seemingly ordinary citizens.
(Because this is a mystery type book, I will try to avoid any potential spoilers.)
Hidden is a story about child abduction/pornography. The beginning of the story is a flashback to the arrest and trial of Tony Sarno. Tony was arrested for solicitation and possession of child pornography. Afterward his trial, the story jumps ahead to the abduction of a little boy named Eric Allen. Eric’s mom was killed not even a year prior which left a strained relationship between him and his dad, Jonathan. Now Jonathan is close to losing his only son, unless the police and FBI can find him. Walker and Munoz must solve who kidnapped Eric and where he might be hidden. With dead ends all around, it’s hard to find any leads that could help them solve this case.
The story is written in third person following multiple characters. On the bad side, the reader gets a rough idea of the hierarchy through Tony. You know he is involved with the shady dealings, but you’re not so clear about Gunner or the big boss. (Gunner is the spokesperson for the big boss.) Tony is smart with computers and can do things that most people cannot. He gets himself into a little bit of trouble at the beginning-where we first meet him. On the good side, we have the local police and FBI. Walker and Munoz are the main characters for this part. They have experience working with abduction cases and must put their heads together to find Eric. The FBI and local police get along rather well, as opposed to other stereotypes that the FBI pushes the local police out of the way. Although the Allen’s are the center part of the story, the reader doesn’t see much of them throughout the book. There are also a few other characters that play a role in this crime.
The plot moves along well. Although you knew who was behind the actual kidnapping, you were unsure of the other people involved. Even though the story was about child pornography – a touchy subject – there were not many details on the actual events that would cause any discomfort to the reader. Without saying too much, I was surprised at the ending. I did wish we got a few more pages that wrapped things up in more detail. The last ten or so pages felt a little rushed. I also wanted to know a little more about what happened with the Allen’s. I won’t say more to avoid spoilers.
Overall I enjoyed the book. If you like mystery/suspense novels, then you might want to try this book.