Book Review: Hiding Place by Meghan Holloway
By John ValeriAugust 17, 2021
Hiding Place by Mehan Holloway is the second book in a trilogy featuring Hector Lewis, a man obsessed with uncovering the truth of what happened to his wife and daughter 15 years ago.
In a short span of time, author Meghan Holloway has proven to be a versatile and vibrant storyteller. Her debut novel, Once More Unto the Breach (2019)—which recently achieved bestseller status—is a historical thriller set against the backdrop of World War II, while her last offering, the eBook novella The Library of Lost Souls, is dubbed a “futuristic love story.” Holloway’s newest, Hiding Place, is the second entry in her suspense trilogy featuring Hector Lewis, following 2020’s critically acclaimed Hunting Ground.
As the story opens, Hector—a rough around the edges loner long suspected of causing the disappearance of his wife, Winona, and daughter, Emma, 15 years ago—is solicited for help by gun-toting Faye Anders, proprietor of The River Inn. Faye’s young, non-verbal son, Sam, has gone missing on a school field trip, and she’s been told that he’s the man to call on for delicate matters. Despite being a police officer, Hector has a reputation for working beyond the limits of the law to achieve what he considers justice. The two set out for Senator Grant Larson’s ranch, which borders Yellowstone National Park, where they find Sam safe in the company of the politician and his entourage. While a seemingly happy reunion ensues, Faye instinctively understands that everything has changed—and fears she may have no choice but to uproot their lives once again.
Faye and Sam have been on the run for years, hoping to avoid detection by a powerful man who has every resource at his disposal to find them. Raven’s Gap, Montana—with its deep forests and steep mountains—has become their “home” after several brief stays elsewhere, and Sam has finally formed some genuine attachments to people (and pets) other than her. These include fellow runaway Evelyn Hutto (Hunting Ground’s heroine), who has been convalescing at the inn since taking on a sadistic serial killer—and losing a few fingers and toes in the process. So the thought of leaving, though prudent, is also painful. Meanwhile, Hector’s visit to the ranch, where Winona once worked as a horse handler, stirs up memories and a mess of trouble. As he gets closer to learning the truth, it becomes clear that his life is also very much in danger. And it seems that answers, when they do come, only lead to more questions.
The narration is written in first-person and alternates chapters between Hector, Faye, and Grant Larson. It’s an effective three-part structure, given that each character has their own agenda, history, and secrets; even the least likable of the bunch, Larson, is rendered tolerable, if not sympathetic, by having at least some redeeming qualities. Hector and Faye, meanwhile, exude complexities while inhabiting common emotional ground; indeed, Hector is painfully aware of his failings as a husband and father and wants nothing more than to bring (the bodies of) Winona and Emma home, while Faye understands the fragility of life and will stop at nothing to protect Sam from falling victim to the circumstances of his birth. And Evelyn, though a more peripheral presence here, still plays a pivotal role in the proceedings while also serving as a point of reference for Hector’s conscience, which she awoke in Hunting Ground.
Action-packed and profound, this book is as much about confronting the past as it is about learning to live in the present. Though serving as the bridge between Parts 1 and 3, the story satisfies entirely on its own merits while creating high anticipation for the trilogy’s conclusion. If Meghan Holloway isn’t yet among your must-read authors, she should be—and you’ll want to find a Hiding Place of your own to hunker down with this taut and twisty thriller.