The Hidden Things

The Hidden Things

by Jamie Mason

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Overview

A brilliantly original thriller and “a startling, smart, vivid book” (Tana French, New York Times bestselling author) from the acclaimed author of Three Graves Full—inspired by the real-life unsolved theft of a seventeenth-century painting.

Twenty-eight seconds.

In less than half a minute, a home-security camera captures the hidden resolve in fourteen-year-old Carly Liddell as she fends off a vicious attack just inside her own front door. The video of her heroic escape appears online and goes viral. As the view count climbs, the lives of four desperate people will be forever changed by what’s just barely visible in the corner of the shot.

Carly’s stepfather is spurred to protect his darkest secret: how a stolen painting—four hundred years old, by a master of the Dutch Golden Age—has come to hang in his suburban foyer. The art dealer, left for dead when the painting vanished, sees a chance to buy back her life. And the double-crossed enforcer renews the hunt to deliver the treasure to his billionaire patrons—even if he has to kill to succeed.

But it’s Carly herself, hailed as a social-media hero, whose new perspective gives her the courage to uncover the truth as the secrets and lies tear her family apart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501177323
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 03/03/2020
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jamie Mason was born in Oklahoma City and grew up in Washington, DC. She’s most often reading and writing, but in the life left over, she enjoys films, Formula 1 racing, football, traveling, and, conversely, staying at home. Jamie lives with her husband and two daughters in the mountains of western North Carolina. She is the author of Three Graves Full, Monday’s Lie, and The Hidden Things.

Read an Excerpt

The Hidden Things


  • The video had been watched only forty-four times before Carly Liddell’s attacker was identified to the police. Viewer number forty-four was the prize tipster, and it was a good thing it was all resolved quickly. The young man in the video had killed a turtle over a span of hours one dull Saturday a decade earlier, at the age of nine, in the early weeks of the same summer he’d set his first fire. Since then, matches, rocks, the heel of his shoe, the long drop over the railing of a bridge, and other weapons of juvenile destruction had been urgently fascinating to him in ways that got him into trouble when he was a boy, in ways he’d learned to hide over the years.

    He’d been stealing things, lately. And watching women.

    He always would have made the news.

    The video, a sloppy edit of footage from a home-security system, went on to become something of a phenomenon. It had been cut together in a hurry by a tech-savvy officer in the cybercrimes unit who was good with that sort of thing. It went up on the police website less than twenty minutes after the flash drive, loaded with the raw recordings from the home’s monitoring surveillance, had been plugged into his computer. Backslaps and high fives all around for that one.

    The local news stations had rushed to repost it. It was a civic duty, of course. But at least as good as all that, it was irresistible: a heart-stopper in three acts that clocked in at under half a minute.

    By the end of the next day, it had been uploaded to more than a dozen YouTube accounts.

    In seventy-two hours, nearly a quarter of a million people had seen fourteen-year-old Carly Liddell come into the frame from the top right, her face pixelated to anonymity in every shot.

    The view in the opening clip is admirably long-range, the camera pointing down a concrete driveway, clearly covering the near intersection and eventually fuzzing out of focus a block up the far sidewalk. The feed is tagged in the lower left-hand corner as Exterior_3, which would indicate at least two other cameras are outside scanning the bland green agreeableness of the minivan-and-hybrid neighborhood.

    Carly comes down the stretch of pavement covered by Exterior 3 in the last yards of her return trip from school, backpack on one shoulder, crossing the screen on a slight diagonal, right to left. She moves with a loping, coltish gait that already shows signs of being reined in. She’s so close to grown.

    Even with her head high, and with only one reflexive glance at the phone in her hand, she doesn’t appear to react at all to the young man slouching beside the hedge on the retaining wall as she passes him.

    But even in the grainy farthest reach of the lens, his notice of her is unmistakable. He leans forward, watching, hesitates for a beat, then checks the walkway behind them. It’s deserted. He slides into her wake.

    If there were only one frame of the video to see—Carly in front, the young man a few long steps behind—in just that single still image it would be clear that one of the people in the scene belongs there and one doesn’t.

    Her posture is soft, easy in a pleasant end-of-the-day fatigue. She’s all but home. It’s in the flutter of the flannel shirt tied around her waist. It’s in the tilt of her head and the bend of her knee.

    But he’s rigid, chin down, every bit of his stance just a degree off a natural bearing. Some switch in him has been tripped, and he’s not entirely what he was a few seconds before when he was only loitering on an empty suburban block. Now he’s a mannequin, a robot, an approximation made of impulse wired through him like opposing magnets strung together. The surging current has pushed his arms away from his sides, pulled his legs slightly bent, the omen of a reflex to come, the windup to a sprint or a spring.

    Then the edited video cuts to a different camera, labeled Exterior_2, this one mounted on the back side of a decorative column, one of two pillars flanking the front door. Carly and the young man are facing each other. There’s no audio, but he’s closed the gap and seems to have invented something to talk about, something to keep her poised between being rude and being on the safe side of that door.

    The young man’s back is to us, still taut and awkward, but now Carly is also rigid. Her key is in the lock, but that’s as far as she’d gotten. He’s walked all the way up onto the stoop and set his body close to the door’s handle, though not quite blocking it—a threat with a built-in plausible deniability that buys time with her doubt.

    She’s backed away a little to preserve a cushion of personal space, though it meant giving up the easy reach to the door. She’d have to nearly touch him now to finish getting inside. She plucks at the hem of her T-shirt, shedding nervous energy in the repetition. His shoulder twitches. He says something. She shakes her head and glances at the empty intersection, so close and useless to her.

    The young man looks down and shuffles back a half step, and Carly either misinterprets the maneuver or takes the only chance she can count on. She dives for the key and the threshold. He lets her get past him. He also looks to the intersection. It’s still empty. He doesn’t even have to hurry to stop the door as she scrabbles to slam it closed behind her.

    The last part of the video is shot from the back of the foyer, by a camera marked Interior_1. The light off the paint gives a vague green hue to the indoor footage. Carly is slapping at a control panel on the wall. He pushes her away from it. They both trip and scuffle over her fallen backpack. She shoves with all her woefully inadequate might and gains less than an arm’s length from him.

    Instead of pulling her in, the young man locks his forearm across his body and drives them on, plowing and pinning Carly into the corner next to her own front door. Her back hits the wall hard enough that the edge of the painting in the foreground jumps and quivers on its nail. Her knees let go, and his surprise topples him into the blank space where her body should have been to receive him.

    On elbows and heels, Carly scrambles backward toward the camera, toward the quarter of a million viewers (and each new one, as they come) holding their breath, rooting for her, willing her a way out. She makes it into the sharpest focus yet, her long hair swinging around her shoulder in a sheet of blue-sheened chestnut cascading from the strong side part that’s almost close enough to stroke.

    He runs at the camera, lunges for her, catching her left ankle as it shoots out in her ungainly crab crawl. He drags her, kicking and thrashing, away from the clear focus that felt like safety, back into the open foyer. He pulls her leg up, tilting her onto her back. He leans in, stooping low to make a short fall of the distance left to be on her, to finally catch her under his control. And Carly Liddell, never a dancer, never a gymnast, never any color belt in any martial art—but ever the natural math and science whiz—becomes trigonometry and physics. And she has cool boots.

    Her mind and muscles do the calculations of the arcs and angles as she rises up, torso cocked to the left, then swinging to the right to load momentum into her free leg, which she brings back across her body. The knobby tread of her goth-girl combat boot explodes his grip on her ankle.

    In a perfect ballet of Newtonian inevitability, unlearned and unpracticed but as natural as a whirlwind, Carly makes a figure-eight flourish of the follow-through, winding up again, this time to bring her boot crashing into the sweet spot where his jaw meets his ear, dropping him like a bag of gravel.

    She rolls onto her hands and knees. She pushes up from the floor and looks down at her fallen foe. Run! thinks every single person who will ever watch the footage.

    And she does.

    It’s magnificent.

    But short-lived. The video freezes and the cybercrime tech destroys the triumph and tension with a quick electronic red circle, drawn to bring the audience out of the drama and into the lineup. The young man’s face, sideways in forced repose against the foyer tile, is largely in shadow and not terribly in focus, but it’s lit up enough that someone who knows him well might peg him. To the stranger, he still looks rough-hewn and indistinct. But viewer forty-four had already picked up her phone by the shot of him coming off the retaining wall. He was arrested just a few hours after Carly walked past him on the sidewalk.

    It was a good day for Good Samaritans. It was a good day for law enforcement. It was a good day for the local news outlets that vied to make the most appealing special report of the pulse-racing video and happy ending.

    And it would have been a good day for John Cooper. His elaborate security system, which his new wife teased him for, had caught the reckless and newly bold young man who had attacked his stepdaughter, and it got the boy before he’d done all the terrible things he’d been whittling vivid in his mind for years.

    The system had worked just as designed, its clarity and clever placement revealing what had happened and when and how, and most importantly, by whom.

    In the longer reach, the video had captured a moment of heroic self-preservation that would go on to inspire many people in both the abstract and even occasionally in practical application.

    It could have been a good day for John Cooper, but it wasn’t. His wife and stepdaughter knew of the perimeter cameras. They knew about the door chimes and the alarm codes and the motion-detector lighting. But they hadn’t known about, nor would have they agreed to, Interior 1, the camera inside the house. And they didn’t know why he had needed to put it there in the first place.

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Hidden Things 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
    bookaholique More than 1 year ago
    From the outside looking in, John Cooper looks like any normal stepfather. His wife loves him and he has a growing relationship with his stepdaughter. But John is hiding a dark secret. When his past threatens to ruin his seemingly idyllic life we get to find out who he really is. Oh - this was fun. There are several different players and I like how the author slowly weaves them all together. The suspense really builds as the story moves along. I thought this was very entertaining and a real page turner. My thanks to Gallery Books and Netgalley.
    DiiFL More than 1 year ago
    It was an art theft that went very wrong, but that was years ago and who would think that one man’s twisted greed would backfire when a home invasion and attack on a young girl exposes the truth. THE HIDDEN THINGS by Jamie Mason is a tense and alluring read as greed meets revenge head on and one man’s big secret is caught on video and goes viral. Proof that in today’s technology, nothing is private, double-crossing powerful people is dangerous and Karma has no expiration date. Taut and edgy throughout, prepare to get familiar with the edge of your seat as this twisted plot unravels at the hands of a teenage girl. I received a complimentary ARC edition from Gallery Books! This is my honest and voluntary review.
    BookAddictFL More than 1 year ago
    This story totally hooked me. The writing has a literary flair, with beautifully crafted sentences and poignant observations throughout. Pacing is the kind of slow burn that invites us into the characters' minds so we feel the emotions, then gradually builds in urgency and intensity as the truth unravels. The plot is complex without ever becoming convoluted. Characters are well developed, realistic, and, I thought, fascinating. I loved Carly! When someone is called "fearless," it doesn't really mean they have no fear, only that they have the strength needed to move beyond the fear. That's Carly, and she's a badass teen! The Hidden Things isn't a throwaway thriller. This is a character study, a look at the lies we tell others and ourselves, and a glimpse at what people are capable of when pushed to the edge. *I received a review copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.*
    Ratbruce More than 1 year ago
    I loved this book. It's a fast-paced thriller with great characters and a unique premise. All the characters had unusual back stories that were as believable as they were different. Highly recommended
    Deblette More than 1 year ago
    Fourteen year old Carly is attacked going into her house. She fights off the attacker and escapes to the neighbors. This was all on video which the police used to catch the attacker. However, the video was out on social media and something was caught on that video that opened up a door to the past and set off several people who were willing to steal or kill to get to it. This book was a thriller and it was cleverly paced between current events and the past events which brought everyone to this moment in time. I couldn't put it down. I was also intrigued by several of the characters and would not mind seeing them again some time in a future book. A great read, very original.
    Alfoster More than 1 year ago
    This started out as a really interesting novel about a stolen painting that is mistakenly caught on a video of young Carly being randomly attacked at her home after school. As her stepfather is the only one who knows its history, he then becomes frantic as he worries about who will see the video and who will know it's in his possession. But of course, in this day and age anything unusual goes viral almost immediately so those that were involved in the scheme years ago see it and the hunt begins. Many twists but I just got bored for some reason in the middle. The end was satisfying though so I count it as a good read! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
    diane92345 More than 1 year ago
    Suspenseful heist thriller where Hidden Things don’t stay hidden forever. When fourteen-year-old Carly is attacked in her house, the police post video from her home’s security system hoping someone will recognize her attacker. While it only takes 44 views to find her assailant, the video has now spread far and wide on the internet generating millions of views. While happy that Carly’s attacker is behind bars, her stepfather is in trouble in two areas. First, his family didn’t know the security cameras were in the house. Worse, the attack video shows a small fragment of a famous stolen multi-million dollar painting on the wall. Engrossing look into high-end art theft and its aftermath. Hidden Things keeps its reader at a high level of suspense while propelling them forward to the excellent conclusion. This book is recommended to anyone looking for a thrilling ride through the illegal art trade. 4 stars! Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A home security video camera has captured how Carly Liddell, age 14, fought off an attacker just inside her front door. The man had followed her up to her front door and just as she put the key in the lock, he pushed her inside and knocked her down. But Carly is determined and she ends up kicking him several times and runs over to her neighbor. By then, the attacker has left. This video has gone online and become viral. However, the video shows the edge of a painting that hangs in the Liddell foyer. It is a priceless work of art that had been stolen many years ago. Now, Carly’s stepfather, John Cooper, is nervous that someone may recognize the painting. His wife, Donna, wants to know why he finds it necessary to have such an elaborate security system and cameras in the house. John’s real name is Jonathan Spera. He knows a man named Roy who has spent his life just making do. He’s somewhat simple and has taken care of things for Jonathan in the past. Now, John needs to hide the painting in case someone recognizes it in the video. Then, he needs to try and sell it. But, the past has caught up with him and the people he cheated and harmed years ago are ready for revenge. This book builds with background history coming together and we see how all of the characters interact with one another. The tension really builds and we know that people will stop at nothing to get their hands on this painting. How will it all end? Carly is a tough cookie, and poor simple Roy broke my heart. Well constructed characters, all with great descriptions. Donna just comes across as an after thought. Good plot and satisfying read. I’m sure others will like it too. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
    MKBagwell More than 1 year ago
    Reading a Jamie Mason novel is not for everyone. Let me say that right off the bat. However, if you’re a reader who values a satisfying experience and a unique escape, then she’s the one for you. Jamie Mason novels are not ‘popcorn’ books that you blow through, not Patterson-esque quick bursts of quick-cut scenes and certainly not for the impatient. With her use of resonant words and complex syntax, she forces you to read at HER pace, not yours. She makes you pay attention to, not only every word, but how each is used in the greater scheme. You must match HER stride or you will not appreciate the subtleties of her work. It’s been said in reviews that Jamie Mason novels are difficult reads. You’re damn right they are. By using out of the ordinary descriptors, paying attention to the nuances of the mundane and delving into a person’s psyche from different angles, she reminds us readers WHY we read. The vibrancy of her words, the arrangement of her sentences and the structure of her paragraphs all combine to draw the reader into the world she has created. And she does it in a unique and ultimately satisfying way. That being said, Jamie Mason’s The Hidden Things delivers on all fronts. Characters simultaneously likable and distasteful with traits of both to which we all can relate, whether we admit it or not. A contemporary plot diffused with elements of the modern and the antiquated. Dialogue purposely designed to juxtapose her prose. And, of course, a pacing she has orchestrated to keep the reader on task and engaged. Don’t let the richness of her work put you off. The Hidden Things is a gem, arguably the best of her three novels. And certainly one which could easily be converted to film, with the right cast and directing. If you give Jamie Mason’s The Hidden Things a chance, you will be repaid with, not only a satisfying experience, but I bet you’ll have a new go-to author for intelligent and insightful novels. She’s slow to publish, which makes us anticipate her next work all the more. But she’s quick to reward.
    Steve Aberle More than 1 year ago
    Hidden Things is perfect for the wired-up, social media times that abound. Looking for a fast and fun read? Hidden things is it. The author writes well and includes details that enrich and engage the reader. The main character seems like an ordinary 14-year-old teen. Hah, but looks deceive, do they not? Carly is one cool cat. She fights off an intruder trying to break into her house. Of course, the video goes viral and Carly is the new hero for the moment. But as attention intensifies, Carly’s Stepfather becomes increasingly nervous. What is he hiding and why? The reader will be compelled to read as fast as possible in order to discover what is really going on behind the scenes of this seemingly peaceful and normal house.
    Janice Lombardo More than 1 year ago
    Carly arrives home from school just in time to be attacked by an unknown assailant. Thanks to security cameras, the situation is easier for the police. Unfortunately, the attack goes viral and the "wrong" people see something unrelated to the attack. This escalates into a brilliant read with amazing characters. Many Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, PockCarly arrives home from school just in time to be attacked by an unknown assailant. Thanks to security cameras, the situation is easier for the police. Unfortunately, the attack goes viral and the "wrong" people see something unrelated to the attack. This escalates into a brilliant read with amazing characters. Many Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for a great, suspenseful, read!et Books and NetGalley for a great, suspenseful, read!
    Janice Lombardo More than 1 year ago
    Carly arrives home from school just in time to be attacked by an unknown assailant. Thanks to security cameras, the situation is easier for the police. Unfortunately, the attack goes viral and the "wrong" people see something unrelated to the attack. This escalates into a brilliant read with amazing characters. Many Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, PockCarly arrives home from school just in time to be attacked by an unknown assailant. Thanks to security cameras, the situation is easier for the police. Unfortunately, the attack goes viral and the "wrong" people see something unrelated to the attack. This escalates into a brilliant read with amazing characters. Many Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for a great, suspenseful, read!et Books and NetGalley for a great, suspenseful, read!
    Janice Lombardo More than 1 year ago
    Carly arrives home from school just in time to be attacked by an unknown assailant. Thanks to security cameras, the situation is easier for the police. Unfortunately, the attack goes viral and the "wrong" people see something unrelated to the attack. This escalates into a brilliant read with amazing characters. Many Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, PockCarly arrives home from school just in time to be attacked by an unknown assailant. Thanks to security cameras, the situation is easier for the police. Unfortunately, the attack goes viral and the "wrong" people see something unrelated to the attack. This escalates into a brilliant read with amazing characters. Many Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for a great, suspenseful, read!et Books and NetGalley for a great, suspenseful, read!
    jjthor More than 1 year ago
    A riviting book about a missing 17th century painting and those involved in the theft and double cross. Carly is attacked in her home and it is caught on the home cameras. It goes viral and the truth of the family starts to come out. Old partners and now adversaries find her stepfather . will she be able to unravel the secrets and save her family life befroe its too late. It was a great read very well thought out and characters well written. As they say secrets and lies will always come out. Well worth reading