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The Hiding Place

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,698 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Sometimes it’s easier to believe a lie.

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,
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by NAL (first published October 1st 2012)
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☔Diane S.
It has been a very long time since I couldn't wait to get home from work to finish a book. Really wanted to find out who did it and what happened. This is a very frightening story , more so because it is a 4 yr. old child who is killed and his 7 yr. old sister was supposed to be watching him. This is a family with many secrets and all come to a head on the 25th anniversary of the boy's death. Well written, rapidly paced and very suspenseful. Now I have to go back and read his first book which I ...more
Judy Collins
David Bell delivers THE HIDING PLACE, an absorbing multi-layered, suspenseful mystery crime thriller--leaving you page-turning to learn the events surrounding the disappearance of a small boy, some twenty-five years ago, which will forever change the lives of two families. Nice Cover

Years ago, a four year old boy, Justin went missing. In the blink of an eye, he was gone forever. He was sent to the park with his sister and a friend, Michael, without adult supervision. Several months later his bod
Another solid one from Bell, an author I've only recently discovered. The man can write a very good domestic mystery/literary thriller. I've compared his other book to Coben, but I now think he's more like Jennifer McMahon, partially due to his use of strong female characters, but also something about the style. This one is all fairness is less twisty and more predictable than his other mystery, but the writing is consistently impressive along with character development and pacing, so quick, pag ...more
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars. To begin with I found it very strange and irresponsible that a parent would send two children off to the nearby park with the seven year old sister expected to look after the four year old brother, Justin. This is a recipe for trouble if ever there was one and so it turns out, when the four year old child goes missing and then the body is discovered some time later. The reason why two children were sent off to the park on their own is not uncovered until much later in the ...more
The Hiding Place by David Bell was an engrossing tale with many unique plot twists that kept my interest even during a stressed out - got too much work to do - state This book was a GoodReads give-away, but I still highly reccommend this book to anyone who likes police-procedurals and family-drama type mysteries. This is worth your while to read and wonder about as you ask what appears to be obvious questions. Why would you let your seven year old baby-sit her four year old brother?
What would
Kimberly Gallagher
I thought this was poorly written. I could almost hear the b-rated scary movie music playing behind the scenes. I forced myself to finish to the end, I wanted to find out what happened, though I had zero emotional stirrings for any of the flat characters.
I didn't like this book much, and it's not entirely Bell's fault; I blame cover dissonance and my Tana French hangover. I saw the beautiful/spooky cover and the cryptic title and thought "Oooh, this will be another one of those literary crime novels I love these days," and instead it was just kind of...workmanlike. The prose is almost aggressively undescriptive, the dialogue awkward at times. I've read a bunch of meh mysteries in my life and I can enjoy them, but it's not what I wanted at this m ...more
Diana Leigh
Rating: 4-stars

THE HIDING PLACE is another amazing book going on my 2012 favorites list. It's a haunting story of a terrible crime, and the family secrets and lies surrounding it that finally surface over two decades later.

A young boy was murdered, his accused killer sent to prison. But on the 25th anniversary of the crime, there's a renewed interest in the case. The victim's sister and one of the detectives who investigated the murder are having doubts the right man was convicted.

Through his ch
A gripping tale that reels you in and has you wanting to know the truth.
A crime long gone more than twenty years passed and one man in prison for the crime. New information and faces unearth this old crime that would have been proven more accurately if modern forensics were to hand in the past when this family faced their loss.
This story read like a Harlan Coben story with an apt twist in its tale.

Review also @
The Hiding Place by David J Bell. The cover and title hooked me before I ever opened the book. The story was a bit slow and it took way too long to get to the resolution. However, I was intrigued and didn't figure out the "who did it" until towards the end.

Twenty-five years ago, Janet Manning and her brother, 4 yr old Justin were playing at a nearby park. It was the first time her mother allowed her to be in charge. She was supposed to be watching him but when she sees her best friend, Michael,
Crystal Craig
Twenty years ago, Janet Manning's younger brother, Justin, disappeared. Seven-year-old, Janet was in charge of her four-year-old brother that day. They were at the park, alone for the first time. But, Janet got distracted. Her best friend, Michael was in the park that day too. They played together and soon Janet forgot about her brother. Next thing, Justin was gone … gone forever.

Twenty years later, Janet and her teenage daughter, Ashleigh live in the house Janet grew up in -- along with her fa
The book did keep me captivated by the twists and turns. On the other hand, I can't say it was a page turner because it was a bit of a slog. There are too many characters that fit into the plot but aren't fleshed out. I despised the main character Janet and didn't feel any of the characters captured my heart.

My favorite character was Kevin, Janet's daughter's best friend. He is loveable. The kind of guy I wouldn't mind my daughter dating. The author included him in a few chapters but he almost
The Hiding Place by David Bell
Twenty-five years ago Janet Manning's four year old brother disappeared. His body was found some weeks later in a woods not far from the family home. Now, all these years later, a mysterious man has appeared on Janet's doorstep in the night, claiming to know the truth about her brother's death. The man disappears, and Janet tries to put it out of her mind, but her teenage daughter has overheard the conversation, and begins an investigation of her own.
The memories of
Jeremy Lee
I had read several decent reviews of the Hiding Place and started it with high expectations. Unfortunately, the reality didn't live up to the expectations. I must admit I prefer my books to have more action in them, and this one seemed to meander along at an almost sedentary pace, with not many plot-reveals along the way to liven up the interest. I found myself almost skim-reading some passages in an attempt to get to the next piece of action. Eventually, I was getting to the point where I was l ...more
This book had a lot of potential. I believe the author tried to do too much with the story. He couldn't decide if he wanted it to be a thriller or if he wanted to be a novel about how the loss of a child affected an entire family in different ways. He wound up doing neither well. Instead, he wrote a book that had too many characters to be a thriller. He tried to develop each of the characters he introduced which just muddied the waters. All the reader was left with was a bunch of characters, all ...more
Darcia Helle
Some mysteries are straight forward whodunits, while others, like this one, offer many layers and lots to think about. I found the characters believable and was intrigued by the various relationships. Bell shines a bright light on the issue of guilt, innocence, and that gray area in between. The plot had some twists but, for me, it was more about how one past event forever changed so many lives.

At times, certain issues and conversations were rehashed a bit too much. The pace slowed and I wanted
Shelby Lee
For some reason it seems like a disproportionate amount of the books I get from my biannual hauls have something to do with horrible things happening to children. I don't know why, I guess maybe it's some sort of niche, like romance novels or something? But a bunch of them go on sale and they have intriguing summaries and not-awful covers, so they end up with me and I end up crying softly into my pillow.

This novel is part mystery novel part family drama part child tragedy. It's a good book, if a
Honor Kelly
This story combines a family story (uncovering buried secrets), a mystery (who killed the victim 25 years ago), personal growth (how does someone recover from family tragedy?), coming of age (how do teens process family tragedy?), and a minor theme of racial justice. The author does a masterful job of interlinking these into a coherent story of a detective--and the surviving family--revisiting the murder of a young boy.

I found this to be a not-fully-satisfactory mix of thriller and literary nove
It was a page turner, sure, but the characters were flat. Almost everything was told directly by the characters rather than being shown through descriptive sentences or paragraphs. The characters just announced their feelings and worries and thoughts to the readers, which makes for a dull reading experience. It almost had the bones of a good novel but the execution wasn't there.
This book had me hooked from the first chapter. I enjoyed the writing style and seeing the story for a few different characters' perspectives. It was a mystery about a 4yr old boy who was murdered 25 years ago, and suddenly new twists to the tale start bubbling to the surface to make everyone reevaluate what happened. A good read overall.
Theresa Haskins
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 cer
I'm not normally a fan of suspense novels -- if you see what I normally read, it's usually soft sci-fi, fantasy, and steampunk -- but this novel, recommended by my local book club, was very engrossing. I sat down and started reading a couple of chapters after finishing some homework one night, and the next thing I knew I was around Chapter 10 and it was almost midnight!! Needless to say, I became sucked into the characters' lives, wondering if Janet (one of the main characters) would ever truly ...more
Lisa Nienhaus
This was the first book I have read by David Bell. Once I picked the book up, I had a hard time putting it down. It really drew me in and I really liked Janet, the main character. Janet's brother Justin dies when she is 7 years old. As an adult, with a daughter, Janet's father gets laid off from his job and Janet and her daughter Ashleigh move into with Janet's Dad to help him make ends meet. I didn't find all the characters in this book likeable and realistic. But most characters were people on ...more
Henry Lawrence
This book makes you start to believe in the supernatural, but it really wasn't. The central character, Janet, a thirty-something single mom, is haunted by the death 25 years before of her three-year old brother, Justin. A Black man has been convicted of the murder and has now been released from prison.
Back in town, the events of the murder 25 years ago are suddenly being relived.
And the appearance in the middle of the night of a stranger at Janet's door claiming he knows what really happened set
Mary-Anne Swift
This was a good mystery book that kept me turning the pages! It was a little creepy - but not too creepy to keep me up at night (Ok, it kept me up a little. But not much). I did feel like the author was trying too hard to make you think that almost everyone in the book was a suspect, which was a little annoying, especially because I felt like a lot of the character's personalities changed when the case got close to being solved or was solved. And there was a also kind of a lot of strong language ...more
I woke up this morning around 4am and not being able to fall back asleep, I started to read The Hiding Place. I had intended to read for maybe a half hour and hoped to be able to fall back asleep. Instead, I found myself not being able to put this book down and finished it. This is the first book I have read by David Bell and plan on picking up Cemetery Girl this weekend. I felt I had figured out what happened to little Justin in the beginning but found with each chapter Mr. Bell kept me second ...more
Bit slow, but over all a good story.
Well-written and tauntly crafted.
A few months ago I read David Bell's other novel, "Cemetery Girl," the review of which you can find on here. One of my biggest complaints was that "Cemetery Girl" had a less than satisfactory ending. I felt like I was left hanging. In contrast, "The Hiding Place" has a complete ending. All of the questions are answered, and you don't need an epilogue to tie things up. However, and that's a big however, I'm not sure it's an improvement.

Janet Manning is haunted by the murder of her little brother
review to post Oct 5, 2012
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David J. Bell is the bestselling and award winning author of the novel SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW (NAL/Penguin). His previous novels include THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University and can be reached via his website at, on Twitter at, a ...more
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Cemetery Girl The Forgotten Girl Never Come Back Somebody I Used to Know The Girl in the Woods

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