Gardner's work is most easily classified within the thriller genre.
But in her new novel, she infuses a solid, complex mystery into the
plotline, nicely balancing excitement --- make that terror --- with
whodunit elements to create a work easily accessible to fans of any
genre. HIDE is much more than a nominal sequel to ALONE; it is a
deliciously creepy tale that begins with a crime scene so startling
and horrific that it resonates throughout the book.
HIDE marks the return of Massachusetts State Police Detective Bobby
Dodge and his former partner, Boston Police Detective D.D. Warren.
Despite Dodge's newly minted position, Warren brings him into a
Boston investigation. The crime scene --- a vision of nightmares
that will shut you down --- is reminiscent of the Richard Umbrio
case that figured so prominently in ALONE. As the result of
evidence found at the current scene, one of the victims is
tentatively identified as Annabelle Granger.
Thus, Dodge and Warren are baffled when a woman shows up in their
office and identifies herself as Granger. She relates the story of
a life lived on the run, with her family changing residences and
identities on an annual basis, crisscrossing the country as if
being pursued by an omnipresent, unknown tracker.
Dodge and Warren's investigation is further complicated by the fact
that Granger bears an uncanny, startling resemblance to Catherine
Gagnon, who as a child was one of Umbrio's kidnapping victims.
Gagnon grew up into an exotic, enigmatic lady who may have
manipulated Dodge into shooting her husband.
Another issue is the slowly blossoming, if reluctant, attraction
between Dodge and Granger. Dodge struggles with the impropriety of
a relationship with a subject he is charged with protecting, and
possibly investigating. Granger finds that she is experiencing
emotions long gone cold, if ever felt at all.
Gardner keeps the plot wheels slowly but steadily moving toward a
cataclysmic conclusion that ties up the apparently irresolvable
plotlines with a plausible and unpredictable explanation.
While built upon the foundation of ALONE, HIDE stands firmly on its
own. Primarily character driven --- the crime scene at the
beginning is over two decades old, and most of the violence in the
book is confined to one scene --- HIDE is part puzzle, part romance
and all good. Don't miss this one.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011