HE'S WATCHING A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He's unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently.
Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman - before it's too late.
SHE'S WAITING To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety - both for her, and her young niece who's been recently admitted. She's heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he?
As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman's next target will be. But he's there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks...
I would like to thank Random House, Cornerstone and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this book.
"I can smell the blood. It is all I can smell. It coats my nostrils, my lungs, it stains the inside of my throat. It is on me."
These are the harrowing opening lines of this gripping psychological thriller. 'Hidden' kept me on tenterhooks from start to finish. As I was reading it, I could feel my heart beat faster and my stomach squeeze with tension and the more I advanced in the book, the more pressured I felt. The fact that from the prologue I knew that things would ultimately end up tragically, just increased my apprehension a tenfold.
What factors drive a man to open fire on a crowd of innocent people? 'Hidden' starts off with a horrific mass murder in a hospital lobby ... a gunman ... a bloodbath ... a scene out of horror films.
"The bodies litter the hospital lobby like autumn leaves blown inside on a gusty day. There are so many of them, the floor has vanished beneath them."
The first chapter is narrated by Charlie, a crime reporter, and a witness to this mass murder. She describes the devastation left in the wake of the gunman.
From then on, we are taken back in time to six days before the shooting. A hooded armed man is spotted inside the hospital. Soon after a nurse is run over on a busy motorway. Who is this gunman? Why is he targeting a specific ward? Is the nurse's death an unfortunate accident or is it somehow linked to the strange happenings at the hospital?
Chapter by chapter, through countdown of days and povs of the four main characters, the author brings the story full circle as she skilfully unfurls the circumstances leading to the shooting. We are taken inside the mind, the psyche of the principal characters: Aden the police officer who's carrying deep psychological scars; Charlie, who feels she doesn't truly know her own family; Imogen the psychologist, a red-haired twin who's in an uncertain relationship; and the shooter, who's ultimately a victim himself and of whom I couldn't guess the identity till the very end.
This book is so well-written that I actually ended up feeling sorry for the shooter. His is the reality of many people around us in real life. People who have been hurt or traumatised and who even though they try hard, seem not to find their place in society. People who once they reach their breaking point, are capable of doing the unthinkable.
'Hidden' is a brilliant psychological thriller that hooked me from the first page and I highly recommend it to anyone loving a truly absorbing read. This was my first Emma Kavanagh book and it will certainly not be the last.