Hidden by Paul Jaskunas
GENRE: Suspense | PAGES: 240
My rating: ★★★
The author’s debut novel is well written and incredibly believable as he writes in a female voice.
The female in question, Maggie, is a shard of her former self; a troubled and tainted soul, tormented by the memories of a violent attack from her past.
As she comes to terms with that night, and the things that led her there, she is forced to peer into the recesses of her mind, and what she finds makes her question the testimony that locked her husband away for the brutal act.
Maggie is relatable as a character and all three male characters (Manny, Nate and Carson) have distinct personalities. The detail is vivid – presented in a way that isn’t long-winded and I was particularly impressed with Maggie’s internal monologue of her struggle. Her psychological state is so accurately captured that her confusion became mine. The doubt, the fear, the seizures – utterly believable.
The only disappointment for me was the ending. It felt right for Maggie to make peace with herself and her demons but somehow I was left wanting in some way.
On the whole, however, if you’re into psychological drama, this was a rather gripping read. (3.5 stars)
As unnerving as it is mesmerizing, “Hidden” is an evocative, emotionally charged domestic drama — a willful and traumatized woman’s painful search for the truth about the man who assaulted her one summer night. Six years after the attack, Maggie Wilson receives a call from the prosecutor who helped put her husband in jail after Maggie identified him as the man who nearly killed her. Told that another inmate has confessed to the crime and that her ex-husband will be freed, the shock plunges Maggie into memories of her stormy marriage to Nate Duke, the ambitious heir to a real estate company. Secluded in an old farmhouse that was her marital home, Maggie relives her marriage to Nate and his abusive treatment of her. But in her present, a very different man is haunting her — the born-again convict who has confessed to the crime. As his story competes with hers, Maggie pores through trial transcripts, old journals, and photo albums, trying fruitlessly to remember exactly what happened. Written in spare, elegant prose, Paul Jaskunas’s novel reads like a waking dream as Maggie is torn by the question — was it Nate? Or was it this stranger who seems to know intimate details? And what will it cost her to discover the truth? A work of searing suspense written in the heroine’s brave voice, “Hidden” is ultimately about a woman confronting the betrayal of her body and the ambiguity of her mind.