Another really great and creepy story by C.J. Tudor. As I did with I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O’Farrell, I read this one both in audio and paper versions. Richard Armitage is the narrator for The Hiding Place, and holy heck is he an absolutely fantastic narrator to read this story!! I hurriedly told our former Hoarder Jackie to run out and get this one in audio because like Tudor’s first novel, The Chalk Man, The Hiding Place is complete enjoyment in audio!
Armitage has the perfectly suited voice to give this added element of creepiness of the story and also the perfect whiff of unreliability found in Joe Thorne’s character.
Never go back. That’s what people always tell you. Things will have changed. They won’t be as you remembered. Leave the past in the past. Of course, the last one is easier said than done. The past has a habit of repeating on you. Like bad curry.
Joe Thorne returns to his childhood school as a teacher to settle some old scores. All along there is this scent of unreliability that follows Joe – he himself tells you often he is a liar, or the stories he’s telling are all lies. Hes’ returning to the place of his childhood where something awful happened to him and his sister and he wants somehow to lay it all to rest I suppose – I found this was something that was a little loose in the storyline….
Anyway, Tudor is fantastic here once again with a story that conveys a strong sense of nostalgia. Just like in the Chalk Man, we return to the 80s and another group of boys from elementary school. She is excellent at creating this vivid image of boys in school, their behaviour, the one that is the leader of the group, the bully, the followers, and what became of them and how their past behaviours translate into their adult lives. She has fantastic skill creating these images, memories and characters – they are easily recognizable and you are launched back into your own memories of these times. You know these kids. You went to school with them too.
There is another thread in the story that I felt was weaker? or unneeded? It did perhaps lend itself to that bit of unreliability in Joe’s character, I suppose it did give reason for Joe needing that teaching job – maybe it’s just that it wasn’t threaded well into the story and this is the reason I felt it was a weaker element.
Overall, I gave The Hiding Place 3.5 stars, but the narration definitely elevates this one to a 4-star read! It is a creepy book! There’s definitely feelings of being unsettled, but again it’s that amazing gift of character development that Tudor has combined with Armitage’s spot on narration that makes this book so enjoyable! Thank you again to Penguin Random House Canada (Doubleday Canada) for the copy! I read this quite some time ago too, sorry for the delay in posting!
(I found out that Armitage narrates Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer (one that’s not part of a series) and it sounds like it could be complete enjoyment to listen to because Armitage is reading it!)