Book Review: Hide Away by Jason Pinter
By John ValeriFebruary 27, 2020
Jason Pinter is an internationally bestselling author whose works include the five-book Henry Parker series, a standalone thriller, The Castle, and two children’s titles. He has been nominated for the Thriller Award, the Strand Critics Award, and the Barry and Shamus Awards, among others; additionally, two of his works were chosen as Indie Next selections and three were named Best Books of the Year by The Strand. There are more than 1.5 million copies of his books in print worldwide. Pinter is also the founder and publisher of Polis Books. His newest, Hide Away, marks both his debut with Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer imprint and the launch of a prospective new series.
Seven years ago, Rachel Marin—then known as Olivia Powell—saw her family ripped apart (literally) when her husband was murdered, his body left on the porch to be discovered by their young son. In the aftermath of that unspeakable tragedy, she assumed a new identity and purpose, transforming herself physically and mentally into a silent crusader for justice. Having moved her family—thirteen-year-old “Eric” and seven-and-a-half-year-old “Megan”—from Connecticut to Ashby, Chicago, she works as a legal secretary by day while pursuing certain extracurricular activities at night. But when the city’s disgraced former mayor, Constance Wright, turns up dead of an apparent suicide, Rachel is compelled to look beyond appearances. After all, Ms. Wright once welcomed the Marins to Ashby and made them feel safe.
While Rachel’s keen observations convince law enforcement—led by detectives John Serrano and Leslie Tally—to investigate the death as a possible homicide (a position further supported by the fact that the victim was newly pregnant), her lack of faith in their abilities results in an unsolicited over-involvement in the case. Though her intentions are true, the consequences are dire: a break-in, a fatal shooting, a deadly vendetta; also, the discovery of a convoluted conspiracy that somebody will kill for to keep quiet. Despite wanting nothing more than to protect her children from the evils of the world, Rachel has unwittingly put them in peril—and invited the kind of scrutiny she has desperately tried to avoid. As her past and present lives come to a head, she must decide who she can trust (if anybody)—or die trying.
…parenthood can be both a person’s greatest strength and their ultimate vulnerability—a notion that lends itself to the exploration of big questions.
The narrative is told through differing perspectives and timeframes, which heightens the tension while revealing backstory that gives the characters depth and illuminates their motivations. This framework underscores issues of identity, and particularly Rachel’s—who she was, who she has become, and who she wants/needs to be. Pinter excels at crafting such dynamic characters, none of whom are without fault yet tend to have at least some redeeming qualities. Perhaps the book’s overarching theme is that parenthood can be both a person’s greatest strength and their ultimate vulnerability—a notion that lends itself to the exploration of big questions. How far will you go to keep your child(ren) safe? What happens when you can’t? And where exactly is the line between vigilance and vigilantism?
Hide Away is a surefire hit for Jason Pinter, who has become a powerhouse within the industry. With Rachel Marin, he has introduced a complex protagonist for complex times. She’s damaged, she’s dangerous, she’s determined—and she’s a damn good mother. This is sensational suspense with serious subtext: Parenting may just be the most fulfilling—and frightening—job of all.