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The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place

3.8 15
by David Bell

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Twenty-five years after a child's murder shocks a small Ohio town, new evidence forces everyone to question what they believe in this tense thriller from the bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Cemetery Girl.

Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her four-year-old brother in the park. Now,


Twenty-five years after a child's murder shocks a small Ohio town, new evidence forces everyone to question what they believe in this tense thriller from the bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Cemetery Girl.

Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her four-year-old brother in the park. Now, with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin’s death looming, a detective and a newspaper reporter have started to ask questions, opening old wounds and raising new suspicions. Could the man convicted of the murder—who spent more than two decades in prison—really be innocent?

Janet’s childhood friend and high school crush, who was in the park with her that day, has returned to Dove Point, where he is wrestling with his own conflicted memories of the events. And a strange man appears at Janet’s door in the middle of the night, claiming to know the truth. 

Soon, years of deceit will be swept away, and the truth about what happened to Janet’s brother will be revealed. And the answers that Janet has sought may be found much closer to home than she ever could have imagined.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bell follows his 2011 debut, Cemetery Girl, with an artfully constructed tale that charts the devastating, life-changing effects over 25 years on the people most affected by the murder of a four-year-old boy, Justin Manning, in Dove Point, Ohio. Justin’s sister, Janet, and playmate Michael Bower, then seven-year-olds, were supposed to look after Justin in the park where he disappeared. A 17-year-old black boy, Dante Rogers, was arrested for the crime, tried as an adult, and served 22 years in prison. When the local newspaper revisits the killing, so perforce do Janet; her father, Bill Manning; her 15-year-old daughter, Ashleigh; and Det. Frank Stynes, who was part of the original investigation. Bower’s return to Dove Point and a stranger hinting at new knowledge about Justin’s death prove to be catalysts for a total re-examination. The quiet dignity of Rogers, the secrets the Mannings buried with Justin, and the conscience-clearing efforts of Stynes make for a powerful, provocative novel. Agent: Laney Katz Becker, Markson Thoma Literary. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Hiding Place

“An artfully constructed tale that charts the devastating, life-changing effects over twenty-five years on the people most affected by the murder of a four-year-old boy….a powerful, provocative novel.”—Publishers Weekly

“David Bell does a masterful job of crafting a crime story, with the guilty and innocent existing next to each other, whether they realize it or not. He has also created a tense drama of emotions and relationships. It is a riveting book with surprising but believable twists on every page.”—Suspense Magazine

“A gem of a book….Bell has written another winning thriller that is certain to entertain, frighten and swiftly climb bestseller lists.”—Bowling Green Daily News

More Praise for David Bell

“One of the brightest and best crime fiction writers of our time.”—Suspense Magazine

“A natural storyteller and a superb writer.”—#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Nelson DeMille

“David Bell writes spellbinding and gripping thrillers that get under your skin and refuse to let go."—New York Times Bestselling Author Linwood Barclay

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“[Bell] writes with a clarity of both vision and purpose; and his characters are eerily familiar because they are just like you and me.”—Thomas F. Monteleone, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Fearful Symmetries

Praise for Cemetery Girl

"Cemetery Girl is a smasher. It twists and turns and never lets go, and...it could happen just this way."
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End

"Cemetery Girl is more than just an utterly compelling thriller—and it certainly is that. David Bell's stellar novel is also a haunting meditation on the ties that bind parent to child, husband to wife, brother to brother­—and what survives even under the most shattering possible circumstance. An absolutely riveting, absorbing read not to be missed."
—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Darkness, My Old Friend

"Trust me: you have never read a missing persons story like this one....A fast, mean head trip of a thriller that reads like a collaboration between Michael Connelly and the gothic fiction of Joyce Carol Oates, Cemetery Girl is one of those novels that you cannot shake after it's over. A winner on every level."
—Will Lavender, New York Times bestselling author of Dominance

"Cemetery Girl grabbed me by the throat on page one and never let up. An intense, unrelenting powerhouse of a book, and the work of a master."
—John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of Damage

"A smart, tense, creepy take on the story of a missing daughter, told by her far-from-perfect father. If you think you know this tale—from all- too-familiar newspaper accounts, from lesser movies and books—then this terrific novel will make you think otherwise."
—Brock Clarke, national bestselling author of Exley and An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

Meet the Author

David Bell is a bestselling and award-winning author whose work has been translated into six languages. He’s currently an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. His novels include Since She Went AwaySomebody I Used to KnowThe Forgotten GirlNever Come BackThe Hiding Place, and Cemetery Girl.

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The Hiding Place 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
I am in love with David Bell! Last year his novel Cemetery Girl blew me away and his new book The Hiding Place delivered a tale that was suspenseful, mysterious and delved into small town issues. David had my attention from the first sentence, “What do you remember from that day Janet?” and held me firmly till the last. He spun a tale with fleshed out characters that at times stole my breath away. The tale begins around the twenty-fifth anniversary of the day four year old Justin Manning went missing while at the park with his seven year old sister Janet. Janet is now a single Mom who has moved back into her childhood home. She is helping her father who lost his job at the local factory. The newspaper is running a piece about the murder and conviction of Justin's killer. The first article is about Dante Rogers, a black man from the wrong side of the tracks who was convicted and served his sentence for the murder of Justin. He is now living back in town and still claiming his innocence. A young, eager reporter begins to make Detective Stynes, the police officer involved and Janet question events that took place all those years ago. The tale that unfolded kept me enthralled as we pieced together that day in the park. David Bell has an uncanny ability to create characters that blur the lines of fiction and become real. I connected with them all and felt like they could be neighbors. Janet has suffered from guilt, the loss of her mother and the stigma of being an unwed mother in a small town. She is incredibly tough and mourns what she has lost. Her Dad has shut down; refusing to rehash the past and his coldness hurts Janet. Ashleigh is Janet’s fifteen year old daughter, she is bright and inquisitive. She overhears a young man tell her mother he had answers about that day. When her mother doesn't act, she takes it upon herself to find him. Kevin is Ashleigh friend and she likes him, but they both feel the town’s stares at this interracial friendship. Detective Stynes is single, fatherless and questions how he and his partner handled the investigation all those years ago. He was only a rookie, and despite concerns he deferred to his partner. I liked him and thought he was fair. Michael was Janet’s best friend back then, and she had a huge crush on him. He is troubled by memories and has returned to seek answers. Janet leans on Michael but he may not be able to give her the support she needs. The world-building was splendid as Bell took us from past to present, revealing emotions, secrets and small town quirks. The tale was believable and I imagined it unraveling in small towns across the world. The story unfolded at a wonderful pace with peaks and valleys where I was able to catch my breath and absorb what had happened. With nothing more than a simple conversation between two characters he opened up thoughts, emotions and truths that kept me riveted. The monsters in this novel will surprise you and the tale will stay with you long after you close the book. I want to thank Penguin for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of turns and questions raised, keeps the reader engaged
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but I really enjoyed it! I would also recommend A Dog Among Thorns by Joshua R. Fields!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first read by David Bell. The book was captivating and kept my curiosity peaked through the entire book. Really enjoyed the charachter development and follow through with each charachter. Strongly recommend this one!
THaskins More than 1 year ago
When I read the summary of this book, I was hopeful I would enjoy it. It appeared to be the kind of book that would hold my interest (which is difficult to do!). I was not one bit disappointed! All the way to the very last page! I don't want to say too much, to give the story away. What I will say is this: when I read books, any books, even for pure pleasure, I read every word. I might reread a section or two, to be sure I understand every character and how they fit in the story. I want to be certain I understand completely every angle/twist and turn (when I get to the end); I like to see how critical parts of the story are intertwined to make the story flow when reading. As I read this story, everything came together perfectly. I don't know how else to say it; parts I read earlier in the story, which I gave no real weight, fit so nicely as the story concluded. I already purchased Cemetary Girl, the book David Bell wrote prior to The Hiding Place, and can't wait to get started on it! I believe he has another book out, which I will, no doubt, purchase after I finish this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This wasn't an action packed mystery novel, but it didn't need to be for it to be an amazing read. It was a nice break from the usual mysteries. The characters and plot are enough to hold your attention from beginning to end. This is my first book by this author and I'm about to start my second!
LostLenoreLL More than 1 year ago
Twenty-five years ago, Janet Manning was seven years old and Justin Manning four. Being a big sister, Janet had the responsibility, for the first time, to go to the park with Justin and to keep an eye on him. Not a big task after all but when Michael, Janet friend and crush appear, she had forgotten all about her little brother and just like that, in a blink of an eye, Justin had disappeared and was found dead later. Some black guy with pedophile behavior was seen playing with Justin earlier and with witnesses and proofs that the guy did it, the case was closed. Now, on the twenty-five anniversary of Justin death, strange things start to happen. A strange person comes at night to Janet house telling her that things were not the way everybody thought. The reporter give hints about racism in the easy conviction, Michael returns home and acts strangely and even Janet and the detective in charge start to have doubts. What if the wrong man was sent to prison? What if Janet was instructed to say those things that many years ago? Was Justin really dead? So many what ifs to be questioned that everything will change again to the Manning family. I loved this book. Since the first sentence, that you realize that this story is not what is supposed to be. So many questions that you (reader) ask yourself in order to understand the plot. For instance, who is the parent that lets a seven year old in charge of a toddler? And why? As I continued to read, the plot thickens and I could not stop reading it and I was so deep within that I could sense the hope and angst and even the pain of this family. They were stuck in the past, separated by secrets and lies and illusions. When I realized who was the "bad guy" I felt shocked and sad but I realized that it could not be any other way.  Brilliantly written, captivating and a little disturbing (but in a good way).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book started off slow for me but then it caught my attention. A good mystery about a death of a young child and the impact on the family. Would recommend for a book club. Lots of discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
David Bell introduces the reader to the family of Justin Manning, a boy who was murdered twenty-five years ago, when he was only four years old, his body found six weeks after he had disappeared, buried in a shallow grave in the woods near a playground. His sister, Janet Manning, who, at the age of seven, had been entrusted for the first time with the care of her brother in the park where he had been playing, compounded by her mother’s death a few years later from (as they said) a broken heart, has been plagued with guilt for all the intervening years. The anniversary of the boy’s disappearance brings it all back to the forefront of the consciousness of the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. Discrepancies in various accounts of the day of Justin’s disappearance come to light in the aftermath of the front-page newspaper article commemorating the murder, and for the first time questions arise about the guilt of Dante Rogers, a black youth seventeen years old and living, literally, on the other side of the tracks at the time of his arrest. Convicted by an all-white jury, he had been paroled three years ago after serving 22 years in prison. The novel explores the relationships among the Manning family members: Janet, in her early thirties, office manager for the dean of the local college and the single mother of fifteen-year-old Ashleigh, and Janet’s dad, 62 years old and unemployed for the last two years, Janet and her daughter living with Janet’s dad to assist with finances. Janet is determined to get to the truth of her brother’s death, with the assistance of one of the cops who originally investigated the crime, leading to the exposure of long-buried secrets and one unexpected, and shocking, turn of events after another. The author has crafted a well-written, intriguing tale, exploring as it does the part played by memory, trauma, and the relationships among and between family, friends, and others whose lives one may only tangentially touch, but to great and long-lasting effect. A gripping, fast-paced novel, and one which is recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NookieSH More than 1 year ago
SERIOUSLY! The paperback is $4.48 and the NOOK BOOK IS $12.99?!?!?!?!?