Kavanagh, Emma - 'Hidden'
HIDDEN starts with the aftermath of a tragedy: a shooting in a hospital lobby, that has left several people dead and wounded. Only Charlie seems to be unhurt. Then the story goes back in time, starting with just before the shooting, painting the picture of how the shooter entered the lobby and began shooting, and it is immediately clear that the shooter knows Charlie and several other people in the lobby.
Thereafter, the books weaves its way through time from a few days before the shooting up to the shooting itself, not necessarily in chronological order. Written from the perspectives of several of the main characters, we slowly discover how the shooting came about. First, Charlie, a reporter for the Swansea Times, who discovers and then investigates the death of an old friend, Emily Wilson, who somehow ended up on the central reservation of the motorway, and was killed by a car. Emily was a nurse at the hospital. Then Aden, a policeman who was part of an armed police response that went horribly wrong, ending up with the shooting of a young boy, who is now in a permanent vegetative state in hospital, and who is investigating reports of a prowler with a gun at the hospital. He is trying to come to terms with what happened, why he didnít pull the trigger but his colleagues did. How could he not have reacted in a dangerous situation by doing so? Then there is Imogen, and twin sister Mara, and their relationships with their other halves. Imogen also works at the hospital, as a psychotherapist. Mara ends up in the hospital, when her daughter becomes suddenly and violently ill. And then there is the shooter himself, unidentified until the final moments of the novel.
This novel is a complex mix of characters and storylines, and uses an intriguing approach to telling the story, that works well. We know that the shooting will happen, but we donít know the who, the why or the details of the how. Each character is fleshed out, and their place in the story slowly becomes clear. Everyone has secrets to hide, difficulties to deal with, and these all contribute to the plot development. The identity of the shooter, once finally revealed, was so surprising, it detracted a little from the overall story, but overall, this was an intelligent read, well plotted, and an enjoyable read.
Michelle Peckham, England