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Hidden Pictures

by

Jason Rekulak

Hidden Pictures
average rating is 3 out of 5

Thriller, Fiction

R. Alex Jenkins

My overall feeling about this book is a ruined opportunity. Sometimes a gripping page turner, but the last 10 percent is dross. I couldn’t care less what happened in the end and it goes from being a suspenseful thriller with a potentially explosive conclusion to a Mills & Boon horror romance thingy.


How did it go wrong? I’m baffled. At 80% I was still having fun, noting down things I liked about it, but then a tiresome review had to be written instead.


This is NOT horror, but somehow ranked the Goodreads Choice AwardWinner for Best Horror (2022), Seriously? It’s certainly a thriller with creepy sections, but it's not scary, disgusting, disturbing or graphic at all.


There is an element of distinct commercialism because everyone is so pleasant and clean cut! It time-constrains itself to into cramming as much information in as possible for the sake of drama. Like an entire seance taking place during the lunch hour while the little boy (that your career depends on to protect) thrashes around in the swimming pool. Definitely YA because of the ridiculousness (I checked and it isn't). More like pre-empted screen-writing for direct adaption to Netflix, hence my accusation of commercialism.


The most disappointing element is writing this pithy and tedious review for a book that seemed so good at first.


The best part of this book are indeed the Hidden Pictures scattered throughout its pages. This element as an ingenious and inventive opportunity for tension and surprise, followed by discussion and interaction, to see how the pictures evolve as the plot thicken, excited to see what's coming on the next page. The evocative pictures first appear in Chapter 2 - a crude children's drawing of a bunny rabbit - and I was going to write a glowing review about how these images wonderfully enhance a story that turned into a naff sort of whodunnit with disappointing wuh?ness all over the place.


Billed as the best horror of the year? No way. What does that say about the general public? About the Goodreads rating system? Like the next Stephen King book that everyone has to read. Critics give rave reviews and it sell lots of copies and therefore must be brilliant, right, like Grandma We Love You getting to No.1 in the music charts and wondering who on earth buys that nonsense.

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