It is my absolute pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Hide and Seek by Richard Parker. I think I hid it quite well, but I was somewhat of a fan of his last offering, Follow You, and so I was delighted when asked by Noelle from Bookouture if I’d take part in the tour. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book in just a moment but first up, here is what it’s all about.
The Official Book Blurb
The sun is out. Your little boy is smiling. The next time you look… he’s gone.
When Lana and Todd win a trip to Blue Crest Adventure Park, their four-year-old Cooper is ecstatic, but when Lana goes to meet them, Todd is out cold, and Cooper is missing.
No one stopped the man carrying the sleeping boy. The cameras don’t show where he went. Then Lana receives an anonymous message, telling her to visit a local school with a horrifying history…
This is no random attack. Whoever took Cooper is playing a twisted game, and if Lana wants to find him, she must participate.
What is the link between the school and her missing son? Can Lana uncover the kidnapper’s identity and save Cooper before it’s too late?
Okay. So I may have lied a little earlier. I was absolutely useless when it came to hiding my feelings on Follow You. I loved it and shouted about it as often as I could to anyone daft enough to listen. It ticked all my boxes, a delicious blend of gore and sickly dark humour which had me chuckling into the small hours. So my expectations were quite high when it came to reading Hide and Seek. I am absolutely delighted to say that every one of them was met.
More a creepily unnerving story than a full on gore fest like his previous offering, Hide and Seek is the story of a family thrown into turmoil by the attempted abduction of the young son, Cooper. Although the first attempt is thwarted by his mother, Lana, the man’s whispered promise that he will return has them all on edge, none more so than Lana who makes it her mission to find the man responsible for their terror. When Cooper goes missing, could it be that the same man, a person Cooper knew as Mr Whisper, has returned?
From the very outset of this book I was hooked. It seemed innocuous enough a start. A woman grappling with her laundry as her son plays outside. It takes only a small fraction of time for everything to change and from this point on you get the ultimate sense of pace and jeopardy which will prevail throughout the whole book. As Lana fights with the man in the mask to keep Cooper with her, you feel her whole world is shifting and what follows is somewhat inevitable and yet no less unnerving and heart thumping.
Lana’s obsession with finding the man who tried to take Cooper dominates the early part of the book, her quest even taking her to former murder sites, every killer, at least in her mind’s eye, a potential match for the man she is looking for. So it is somewhat of a surprise that both she and her husband Todd overlook what, to even the most oblivious reader, is obviously setting them on fast track to impending doom. They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but when the horse comes fully dressed in a Snip the Squirrel mask, it should at least set some alarm bells ringing. Read the book and believe me that will make a lot more sense.
Although completely different in tone, I still really enjoyed this book. There were less of the shock, bam, in your face moments, it really wasn’t that kind of story, but there was a growing sense of unnease with every passing moment, and a slow build of the tension to a highly dramatic conclusion. In some scenes I was almost holding my breath, poised on the edge of my seat, desperate to see what would happen. While I anticipated that some of Lana’s so called friends probably couldn’t be trusted, I definitely didn’t call the who, the why or the how. And as Lana was led on a wild goose chase in search of her son, Todd was dealing with a problem of an entirely different nature. His ‘situation’ led to some of the more, how should I put it, wince inducing moments of the story, showing that Mr Parker’s thirst for blood isn’t entirely sated just yet. Not on the same level as its predecessor, but still able to make the skin crawl.
I love the style of Richard Parker’s writing and the way he can make me invested in the characters, even if I don’t always entirely like them. Not that I particularly disliked any of the characters in this book, with the exception of the obvious, Mr Whisper. I admired Lana’s tenacity, even if I did question the sanity of her actions. Even Todd had his moments. His actions, while misguided, are all done for the sake of his wife. They both took mad risks in order to save Cooper, ones which almost beggared belief. But let’s face it. It wouldn’t have been such an interesting story if they’d just sat back and left everything to the police now, would it?
I was suckered in from the off and sense of duty (and self preservation) were the only things that could stop me from racing through to the end. Fast paced, short chapters had me turning the pasges well into the night and if I hadn’t had to pretend to sleep before I had to go back to work, I would have finished it in the same evening.
Chilling, thrilling and proof positive that it is absolutely right to have a natural suspicion and perhaps even hatred of American red squirrels, I loved it. Cant wait to see what Mr Parker offers up next.
My thanks to publishers Bookouture for the advance copy of Hide and Seek for review. It was released on 31st August and is available to purchase at the following links.
About the Author
Richard Parker was formerly a TV script writer, script editor and producer before turning his hand to penning twisted stand alone thrillers.
HIDE AND SEEK is his fifth book and is published August 2017.
FOLLOW YOU was his fourth psychological thriller. Reviewers are saying it’s Bookouture’s darkest crime novel to date.
STALK ME was his third and rode high in the UK and US charts.
SCARE ME was his second. Hollywood movie rights have been acquired by major US studio, Relativity Media. Star of PRISON BREAK and screenwriter of dark horror thriller STOKER, Wentworth Miller, has written the big screen adaptation.
STOP ME, Richard’s darkly fiendish debut, was shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award.
Check out the other brilliant blogs taking part in the tour this week