Hidden – Emma Kavanagh
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.
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…
My review copy was provided through Netgalley.
Hidden opens immediately after an horrific shooting incident within a hospital. We are watching the action through the eyes of a local newspaper reporter (Charlie) as she surveys the injured, the dead and the dying. She is beside her friend, firearms officer, Aden who has been badly wounded and Charlie is willing him to live as his life ebbs away.
It is a powerful start and it creates a gripping scene which makes you want to keep reading.
The narrative then jumps back one week and Emma Kavanagh starts to outline the events which led us to the shooting in the hospital. We see Charlie and Adan, a friendship which is threatening to develop into a relationship. We meet twins Mara and Imogen – they are intrinsic to the story and their lives will overlap with Charlie, Adan and that of the shooter’s too.
The mysterious shooter – we also get to see some of the narrative through their eyes too. The hospital was not a random location at which to unleash carnage, the shooter has been prowling round the hospital. Hospital staff are concerned that they have spotted a hooded figure carrying a gun and the police have been notified.
I enjoyed the powerful opening to Hidden and the mystery identify of the shooter was a nice touch. The central figures of Charlie and Adan are engaging characters, I enjoyed Charlie’s story in particular – there are potential problems at her work, she finds herself reporting on the death of an old friend and is facing pressure from a victim’s family to print their side of a story (which may not necessarily be a true reflection of events).
The week of narrative leading up to the shooting covers the lives and relationships of the key players. I felt Emma Kavanagh delivered a strong human drama and her characterisation was great. Perhaps too great for me as I found that I really didn’t warm to a couple of the cast and as a consequence I found their story an unwelcome distraction from the characters I did like. This is purely a personal observation and I have read many reviews to know that I am in a minority in this area, however, it was a factor.
I also guessed the identity of the shooter halfway through the book. Only to find I was totally wrong at the end of the book – I like when this happens.
Hidden will appeal to thriller fans. Great characterisation and a nice mystery of the shooter’s identity running throughout. My score of 3.5/5 reflects a strong story but with a couple of characters who didn’t captivate me. The real acid test for any novel is whether I would read more books by the same author and in the case of Emma Kavanagh I certainly would.
Hidden is published by Century and is available in Hardback and digital formats
You can read an extract from Chapter One here: http://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/index.php/extract-hidden-emma-kavanagh/
Emma Kavanagh is on Twitter: @EmmaLK