Hide (S J Morgan, MidnightSun)
Hide opens in the Australian outback in the 1980s. A hitchhiker, Alec, is picked up by a man who has his own intentions for the passenger. When the driver reveals more about his passenger than a stranger should know, it would seem that this lift was no coincidence. The story moves back to Wales (Cardiff and Swansea), where Alec Johnston, an unemployed university drop-out, has moved into a squalid share house, cohabiting with some unsavoury types. Among them is a bikie gang–member or two and Sindy, the naive teenage girlfriend of one of the bikies. When Sindy looks to Alec to help her, he becomes embroiled in a whole world of grief that follows him to the other side of the globe. Despite some convenient coincidences, the story stands up, the characters are well-wrought and the tension is wound so tightly into the plot that the reader is gripped by a relentless unease right from the start. There are some great 80s music and popular culture references that will delight those who remember them, while the impressive twists will keep the reader guessing at who’s calling the shots right to the end. Crime fans with a hankering for a gripping, edge-of-your seat read will love Hide.
Deborah Crabtree is a Melbourne-based writer and bookseller