If you thought «The Chalk Man» was dark and creepy, «The Taking of Annie Thorne» will give you jitters. C.J. Tudor took the mystery of her second book to the new level by adding some surprising horror elements. The attention to details, the mystery elements, and deeply engraved traumas provided the perfect scenery for a creepy thriller!
When Joe Thorne was fifteen, his little sister, Annie, disappeared. At the time, Joe thought it was the worst thing in the world that could ever happen. And then she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her. Now Joe has returned to the village where he grew up, to work as a teacher. Joe has bad debts – and bad people – he needs to escape. He’s also received an anonymous email: I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR SISTER. But coming back to the place he grew up means opening old wounds, and confronting old enemies and the things they did. Joe is about to discover that places, like people, have secrets. The deeper you go, the darker they get. And sometimes, you should never come back.
Joe Thorne is not a person you would instantly fell in love with. In fact, his behavior is shady. He is a gambler, a drinker and someone who have fallen very far into the debt well. What would a person like him, someone who has nothing to lose, would do just to take the collectors off his back? The answer is – almost anything.
When an anonymous sender writes him an e-mail: I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR SISTER. IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN. Joe Thorne has no other choice but to return to his childhood town. However, nothing is as simple as it seems, and everyone around him has their own agenda that Joe’s return might interfere with.
WHAT I LIKED:
- Joe Thorne isn’t a lovable character. In fact, most of C.J. Tudor’s characters are flawed. They aren’t perfect, they don’t tend to know more than everyone around them and they don’t possess some magic tricks that would make their life easier. They feel human. They feel real.
- Joe Thorne likes to read! He likes to read thrillers. «Instead, I listen to some music on my phone while reading a much-hyped thriller I’ve already guessed the ending of.» It’s a shame he can’t read the book by C.J. Tudor, he would definitely be very surprised by the ending. I wonder if this is some sort of hidden pun… Hm… What do you think?
- I didn’t guess the twist. Which is the whole point of thrillers, isn’t it? When by halfway through you know exactly what is going to happen at the end, the mystery part is completely gone by that point. Although, I’m yet to find anything that would have come even close to «Gone Girl» by Gillian Flynn. It was my very first review and post of this blog and probably one of the most memorable books I’ve ever read. C.J. Tudor definitely has the potential to surprise.
- The dark, creepy ambiance. Do you like beetles? Well, guess what. You won’t anymore after reading this book! Oh, and how do you feel about creepy small towns in the middle of nowhere, cemeteries, and abandoned mines? 👍
- And even bigger thumbs up to whoever came up with the book cover! First of all, why did they need to (A) change the name of the book to «The Hidden Place» and (B) change the cover for something very bland when the original name and cover are AMAZING! It goes so well with «The Chalk Man» and gives that special design to C.J. Tudor books. It’s creepily beautiful and I love the look of both books together on my shelves!
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
- There was something missing. The story was so engrossing that I flew through it, finishing the book in one sitting. However, there was something missing for me to give it a full 5-star rating. Maybe I was expecting a different twist. One that would explain these strange events slightly better.
C.J. Tudor did it again. «The Chalk Man» was the hit of 2018 and «The Taking of Annie Thorne» will get all of the attention this year! Dark, sinister and menacing, Arnhill is a crime stage of many mysteries, perfect to read during chilly evenings.
P.S. I made a mistake of starting this book an hour or so before I had to drive through the darkest roads. It was creepy! Every dark corner, every turn, I expected for someone to jump in front of the car.