The Hidden Child

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🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2

An absolutely riveting ride, from start to finish.

With its ominous pacing, vivid characterization, and alarmingly-charged plot, the author achieves an intensity of menace and foreboding that never lets up.

Dealing with infamous events that took place, for the most part, in the year 1965, situated on and around the creepily atmospheric Saddleworth Moor and neighboring town of Gorton, Manchester, (and of which, this reader was not already overly familiar with), this story, as experienced raw and unprompted, was almost suffocating in the emotional immediacy of its draw.

Featuring a composite of characters so evil that if they weren’t drawn from real-life you would scarcely believe them, the author skillfully provides welcome counter-balance in the form of our poignant and tender pinch-hitter characters Ronald Cappleman, and his (dare I say “cuddly”) brother Thomas, who are trying desperately to eke out a living on their remote acreage and sheep farm adjacent to the story’s pivotal moor. Kind-hearted and heroic, this somewhat-misguided-but-still-lovely-duo provide the closest thing to solace and succor you will encounter in this gut-wrenching and sordid story.

When eight young people mysteriously disappear, (four of them children), deep in the bowels of North-East Cheshire, (a community, in this time-period, struggling with all the familiar plights of poverty, unemployment, teenage motherhood, and the improbably-assumed panacea of binge-drinking), the police and community are understandably reeling.

As yet another young child is added to the Missing Persons List, a young mother and her boyfriend, (pitiable even in their abhorrently narcissistic parental neglect), frantically face the unimaginable terror accompanying the loss of a loved one, with no closure as to her fate.

Every parent’s worst nightmare, this book held me pinned – spellbound and hostage – unable to stop reading until the tension was ultimately resolved.

Without giving the plot away (for those readers not already familiar with this horrific tale), this is a story that will have you leaving the lights on, as you lock the doors, turn on the security alarm, and consider, once again, your life of tepid normality a supreme and blissful blessing.

A great big thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.

Note to readers: For those sensitive to violence against animals (as is this reader), there is a scene at the 25% point of the story (on my kindle) involving the slaughter of two ewes. Once the first ewe is killed, the second slaughter (easily identifiable) for about a page, through to the end of the chapter. is horrific and can be skipped.


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