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Hide and Seek by Andrea Mara

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller
Hide and Seek by Andrea Mara

By Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Hide and Seek by Andrea Mara is described as ‘the unmissable new crime thriller for 2022 from the top ten Sunday Times bestselling author of All Her Fault’ and is the perfect addictive read to keep you turning those pages fast.

What really happened to little Lily Murphy over thirty years ago? Why is a local community so cagey of questions? What secrets is Joanna Stedman keeping close to her chest? These are some of the questions you will ask yourself when reading Hide and Seek.

When Joanna and Mark Stedman move into their new home with their young family in a well-to-do Dublin suburb they are excited at the prospect of their life ahead. A nice home, a bit of a fixer-upper, with a big garden and plenty of potential is just what they wanted. It is also near to Mark’s parents which has its benefits but what Joanna hadn’t realised is that the house has a dark history. In conversation with one of her new neighbours, Joanna discovers that their new home was once the family home of Lily Murphy, a three-year-old little girl who went missing in the eighties, following a game of hide-and-seek. Her parents, Robbie and Mary Murphy, had been a glamorous couple who hosted dinner parties and were popular in the community but, after Lily disappeared, nothing was ever the same for the residents of Rowanbrook.

Joanna has an immediate feeling of apprehension and a foreboding descends on her. Discombobulated within the walls of her new home, Joanna needs to discover the truth about Lily Murphy’s disappearance for the sake of her own peace and for that of her family. Through talking to neighbours she picks up snippets of information but it’s all very vague. Adamant that there is more to this story, Joanna expands her search online and starts to make some very frightening discoveries.

Andrea Mara has been dubbed ‘the queen of the cancel-your-plans thriller’ and it is easy to see why. With twists and turns aplenty the reader is taken on a very unsettling journey as the past is slowly drip-fed, increasing the tension and the suspense as the chapters unfold. Joanna’s personal history is wonderfully intertwined throughout leaving the reader guessing at every stage of the reveal. Character-wise Andrea Mara has created a brilliant ensemble, with an almost stage-play-vibe off some of the scenes. It is very easy to visualise the nosey neighbour, the cold neighbour, the friendly one, the curious one, the suspicious one and so on as vital clues are unearthed and we get to see behind the scenes of this very close-knit community.

A missing child is the stuff of nightmares and in Hide and Seek Andrea Mara perfectly executes the ripple effect that such a tragic event can cause. Joanna, as a narrator is excellently depicted as someone we never really get to know. There is a mystery to Joanna, leaving the reader at times frustrated and at other times having empathy for her. Her behaviour is erratic but as the story develops, we slowly discover the truth.

Hide and Seek by Andrea MaraHide and Seek is a smart and compelling read offering the reader a wonderfully unpredictable experience right down to the very final page. Andrea Mara is a class writer. She understands people. She understands suburbia. She understands children and she most definitely understands her readers and what they now expect from her books. A highly enjoyable, multi-layered dual-time mystery, Hide and Seek is another original tale from this exciting Irish writer.

(c) Mairéad Hearne (Swirl and Thread)

Order your copy online here.

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