“Cases came together for Harper all at once like illusions, puzzle pieces falling randomly until she took a step in a different direction and suddenly it would come to her, the links, the gaps, shining a light on it all so she could see the way through.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
Melanie Golding has been on my radar ever since I read her debut Little Darlings back in 2019, and I’m so happy that I was given the opportunity to read her second book The Hidden early. I always have a weak spot for mythology/folklore elements in my stories, and as soon as I saw mentioned that this newest story offered exactly that I knew I HAD to read it. My expectations were high, and I have to say that those expectations were definitely met. There are so many different layers to this story, and I had a fantastic time discovering every single one of them.
What makes this story stand out is most definitely its mythology/folklore element. I loved the quotes of selkie related texts at the beginning of some chapters, and the whole introduction and incorporation of the selkie myth was brilliantly done. This element gives The Hidden a hint of the supernatural, but somehow the story refuses to be put inside a neat little genre box that way. Instead, it mostly feels like a mix of a detective and psychological thriller, although neither comes close to giving a defining description of this story either. Instead, The Hidden feels like something a bit more unique, special, and I like it when a story makes you think outside well defined boundaries.
There are a lot of different storylines in play with multiple POVs as well as flashbacks to the past. The story switches a lot between the different POVs as well as between past and present, and this will definitely keep you on your toes. I know juggling multiple POVs and storylines can be a bother, but somehow in this story it really works and as well as adding layers and dept it also added a healthy dose of suspense and intrigue. The writing alone already helps you to keep engaged the whole time, and I simply couldn’t put this story down until I had discovered how it would all end.
The many different elements in play in this story are extremely well balanced. We have the detective thriller angle with Joanna, which I always love in a story and it was interesting to see things unfold from her POV. There is also a lot of focus on family issues, addiction, abuse and mental health problems, and we have of course the whole situation with Constance and Ruby to think about too. Then there is the selkie angle, as well as the comatose man who was attacked in his home… Like I said, more layers than an onion, but it makes for the perfect ingredient for a complex, well written and simply fascinating story. Without doubt recommended!