The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place

by David Bell

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Overview

The Hiding Place by David Bell

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 Bring Her Home 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451237965
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/02/2012
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 141,439
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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 Bring Her HomeSince She Went AwaySomebody I Used to KnowThe Forgotten GirlNever Come BackThe Hiding Place, and Cemetery Girl.

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

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

Twenty–five–years ago, the disappearance of four–year–old Justin Manning rocked the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. After his body was found in a shallow grave in the woods two months later, the repercussions were felt for years..

Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her 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.

 


ABOUT DAVID BELL

David Bell is currently an assistant 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. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice. His previous novel is Cemetery Girl.

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • There are a number of parent–child relationships in The Hiding Place. What is the nature of these relationships? Do any of them seem healthier than others?
  • If you are a parent, how do you feel about the decision to leave Janet in charge of her little brother on the day he disappeared? Is there ever a time when this is okay? Was this fair to Janet?
  • Janet is haunted by and feels guilty about the disappearance and death of her brother. Do you think this contributes to her intense desire to believe that the man on the porch is really her brother as an adult?
  • Everyone in the story has a secret he or she is keeping. Why do people who are close to one another—people who are even in the same family and intimately related—so often keep secrets from one another?
  • Are the men in the story—Bill Manning, Michael Bower, Steven Kollman, Frank Stynes—less capable of dealing with their emotional pain and torment than the women? Do any of the men deal with their emotions better than the others?
  • In many ways, Ashleigh is the most physically courageous character in the story. Is that just because she’s young, or is something else driving her to do the things she does?
  • Ashleigh is withdrawn from her mom emotionally, but she also possesses an intense desire to make her mother happy, even going so far as to risk her own safety to do so. Is this typical teenage behavior? Why or why not?
  • Discuss Janet’s complicated feelings for Michael. Does she really care for him, or does she just intensely associate him with her past? Or does Michael simply represent the freedom Janet has never had?
  • Like Janet, Detective Stynes feels guilt and regret over events in the past. Why is Stynes attempting to finally deal with these things? Why couldn’t he do it right the first time?
  • Why is Steven Kollman so drawn to Janet? Do you sympathize with him at all or understand why he approaches Janet the way he does?
  • Discuss Dante Rogers. Do you feel any sympathy for him? Is it possible for him to ever have a normal life? Will he ever get over or deal with the inappropriate feelings he has toward young children?
  • How do you think the Manning family will move on after the end of the book?
  • Will Janet ever see Michael or her mother clearly, especially after what she learns about them at the end of the book?
  • Whom do you blame the most for what happened to Justin—Michael or Ray Bower? Why?
  • Why is the book called The Hiding Place?
  • Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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?!?!?!?!?