“I do not believe in fate. But sometimes there is an ineluctable quality to life, a course it is difficult to alter. It all started here, at the pit. And this, it seems, is where it will end.”
Author: C. J. Tudor
Published: February 5th 2019 by Crown
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Goodreads Rating: 3.73
“Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.
Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back.”
Thrillers and mysteries are my favorite genre of books to read. I’m not a terribly big fan of horror books or movies for that matter. My imagination is way to wild to need any aid in not being able to sleep at night. With that said, The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor falls only ever so slightly into the horror genre. I don’t necessarily agree with Goodreads’ community in terms of this label but I’m pretty sure ‘Creepy’ isn’t a genre, so classifying it as a ‘horror’ book will have to do.
I first stumbled upon C.J. Tudor last October when I was looking for something to read around Halloween that wouldn’t scare the pants off of me but would still satisfy my need for a Halloweeny read. I settled on her debut book The Chalkman, more on that book at a later time. Needless to say I liked The Chalkman enough for me to immediately snatch up The Hiding Place when it came out last month. Anyways, I decided to take this on our family spring break trip last week and honestly I read the book way to fast.
Joe, now a middled aged English teacher, is a pretty disreputable main character. He’s broke and in a heap of trouble from a pile of gambling debt. He’s also just returned to his home town to take up the English teacher position, which has just opened up at his old high school. While the teaching position, well really the paycheck anyways, is definitely a plus to coming back to his hometown, it’s hardly the only reason he’s returned. In my humble opinion, Joe is the worst and I picture him to be a straggly 45 year old who can’t seem to handle his own problems. But while we watch the story unfold through Joe’s eyes, the story isn’t really about Joe. It’s about what happened to his sister Annie 25 years ago.
“The past isn’t real. It is simply a story we tell ourselves. And sometimes, we lie. “
One thing I found to be interesting is that this book was actually published in the UK as The Taking of Annie Throne, which after reading the book, I wonder why they didn’t keep the same name for the US editions? Not important, what is important is that the town of Arnhill has been plagued with misfortune dating back to before anyone can even remember. In 1949, a mining disaster took the lives of 18 men who were swallowed up by “The Pit”, though only 15 bodies were ever recovered. The funny thing though, and this is where I think Tudor really draws you into the story, even with the numerous accidents and countless generations of residents who have both lived and died in the town, the town cemetery is barely even occupied. There also happen to be no children buried in the graveyard either. So where exactly do the dead go in Arnhill?
Joe and his high school ‘crew’ soon find out the answer to that exact question. The Pit. The Pit is far from just a mine. It’s a burial ground that has a mind of it’s own and only can be found when it wants to be found. Their visit into the burial ground though has repercussions, more than they could ever know. Within no time at all, one of them is dead, one of them goes missing, and one has brought back something from the burial site with them. And this ladies and gentlemen, is where Tudor’s writing style shines.
She illustrators perfectly the claustrophobic associated with small towns. She captures the shady nature of humankind and how our fight for personal survival wins over how we treat others. All while she takes the reader on While we don’t fully get answers into what truly lives in ‘The Pit’, I couldn’t help needing to ‘shake off’ the feeling of being watched as I dived deeper into finding out what could be worse than death. And fyi the imagine of that girl from The Ring crawling up a wall, popped into my head more than once while reading this.
“I do not believe in fate. But sometimes there is an ineluctable quality to life, a course it is difficult to alter. It all started here, at the pit. And this, is seems, is where it will end. “
I won’t lie to you. The hiding place is dark. It has everything in it to keep you engaged with just the right amount of shivers crawling up your spine.
At less than 300 pages (US Edition), you can easily read this book in a couple of hours and I would highly recommend planning on reading it all at once, because you won’t want to put it down. Get it HERE!