Hidden by Thomas Hall

Hidden is a standalone mystery by Thomas Hall and it’s the first book by this author I’ve read so far.

Jonathan Allen is having a tough year. Just a few months before his wife was murdered under mysterious circumstances, and now he has to raise his 6 year old son, Eric, on his own. And raising a son who has withdrawn from his dad is not easy. Although things do seem to be just a bit better than before…

Right until one day Eric doesn’t come home from school. Upon checking with the school board he learns that Eric was at the school but during a fire alarm he disappeared, never returned to class.

Detective Dave Munoz and FBI agent Craig Walker are the two main officials tasked to find his son and from the way they act and talk, it doesn’t look good for Eric. Not when the abducted is a small boy, a very cute little boy in fact, where the possibility of returning him for ransom is very small indeed.

Upon investigating the possible abduction, the detective and FBI agent come to the conclusion that the fire alarm was pulled on purpose and the fact that there are no fingerprints on it at all raises their suspicion that this was not merely a simple or random snatch.

Initially it looks like there are two separate storylines, each getting its share of attention from one chapter to another.

The second story is about Tony Sarno, a criminal who is charged with possession of child pornography photos on his cell phone. His lawyer gets him off extremely easily, however, which surprises even the lawyer, who thought he’d have a tough fight for getting Tony off from the charges.

The more the story unfolds, the more we realize that indeed there is a strong connection between the two seemingly separate cases and child pornography is indeed a serious motive for the abduction.

Tony is not only a criminal, but also very good with computers, which he uses for his deranged purposes. While we get to understand from relatively early on who Eric’s abductor is, we are not very clear as to who else is in the background and why is Eric so important afterall.

And could there be a connection between his abduction and his mom’s earlier tragic demise?

The whole book is a roller-coaster that won’t stop until the last page. You keep turning the pages to see what happens next. The writing is very well done, it flows easily and smoothly. I really enjoyed reading the book – not only for the plot itself, but also for the descriptions and the wonderful and engaging writing style.

I found it a bit curious how easily the FBI seemed to work together with the local police in the book, something which is quite unusual from the stereotype found in most books and movies about it, however here the author made it all credible and left us yearning for other FBI agents to be just like these two solving the case harmoniously together.

Now onto the criminal element. Sadly corrupt people can be found in all parts of the society, from the poorest to the richest, and finding the real evil ones who are behind the curtains pulling the strings, especially when they are powerful and wealthy, is not so easy. But as most mystery novels end with finding who the bad guys are, I really liked how it all came to an end here. In fact the ending was a major surprise, one which closed all the loose ends nicely.

Once I’ve finished reading the book I realized just how little is Jonathan Allen is present, in fact almost not at all throughout the novel. I didn’t really notice his absence much until it all came to a conclusion, and I can understand why, afterall there’s nothing much he can do but leave it to the police to try to find his kid.

All in all I found this book highly rewarding, an explosive and suspenseful mystery novel that leaves you wanting for more. And if I understood the last pages in the Epilogue right, there might be a sequel coming at some point, which I’d really love to read as well.

To learn more or order a copy, visit Amazon


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