REVIEW: HIDDEN, BY CATHERINE MCKENZIE

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When a life is abruptly interrupted due to a sudden death, those left behind must struggle to piece together unanswered questions, while grieving for the loss.

Jeff Manning had just started walking home from work after a difficult day, focused on what had happened and blinded by the sun in his eyes, when he is struck by a car and killed.

His wife Claire learns about the accident right away, but Jeff’s colleague Tish, who lives in another city, hears nothing and wonders about the unanswered texts she has sent him. By the time she learns of his death on the following Monday, she has spent a frantic weekend wondering and worrying.

Hidden is a story about relationships, mistakes, forbidden emotional connections, and secrets that linger long afterwards. The story is narrated in alternating viewpoints, including Jeff’s, which takes us back to events that happened before his death and lends his perspective to a story that had me questioning everything. As we soon learn, in bits and pieces, there is always more to the story than what appears on the surface. And each person has a different view. The suspense builds as we try to piece it all together for ourselves.

Meanwhile, the author reveals the family dynamics in each of the households: Tish, her husband Brian, and her pre-adolescent daughter Zoe, are all struggling with issues that have nothing to do with Tish and Jeff, and they, too, are in the dark. Keeping secrets can be a very difficult thing to do under the best of circumstances, but in the aftermath of a death, emotions run high.

Claire has to deal with her son’s grief, as well as coming face-to-face with her ex-boyfriend Tim, who was also Jeff’s brother. These dynamics add another layer to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, since the writer’s style had me guessing throughout; at the end, there were still many questions and only a few answers, but I loved the journey. Definitely a five star read for me.

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