Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Thriller; Supernatural; Horror
Trigger Warnings: drug use, grief, death
Hidden Pictures follows Mallory, a young woman who has recently completed rehab, as she interviews and begins nannying for five year old Teddy. The Maxwells live in a nice suburban town and are aware of Mallory’s background which makes this the perfect job for her to learn how to relearn how to live being sober. Teddy and Mallory have an instant connection and bond over Teddy’s pictures. However, Teddy’s pictures start to take a dark turn and are obviously being drawn by a talented someone who is more mature than a five year old. These pictures lead Mallory to try to figure out exactly what these pictures are depicting and if they are connected to the unsolved murder that took place decades earlier.
One aspect of this book that sets it apart is the picture element. They are such a huge part of the story and the author did a really good job of actually including the pictures into the story. I was intrigued enough by the synopsis of this story to want to read it but once I found out about the picture element I knew I needed to read it asap. To be honest, I didn’t think it would work as well as it did. I thought it would just be a fun element to the book but it actually added so much to the story. Rekulak did a great job describing the pictures but to actually see it first hand was deliciously creepy. The writing was strong enough to make me feel like a part of the story but getting to experience the pictures along with the characters added so much to my enjoyment of this book.
I feel like supernatural thrillers are not something I tend to gravitate towards but for the most part, I do enjoy them. I think Rekulak perfectly balances the supernatural elements, with the contemporary aspects of the story, along with the historical nature of the unsolved murder. Mallory was a very likable protagonist and I appreciated that this story is written as if Mallory was telling the story directly to us and it also aided me in feeling included in the story.
I do think the ending of this story might rub some people the wrong way but I also think Rekulak handles it in an appropriate way. I didn’t see the ending coming at all, although looking back the author definitely left a few clues. The ending itself was pretty dramatic but I couldn’t put the book down for the last chunk because I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.
If you are looking for a thriller that dabbles in horror with a supernatural aspect and also delivers on its promised gimmick then you can’t go wrong with this one. Also, a fun fact about the author, Jason Rekulak, is that he is the author of some of my youngest son’s favorite children books. He wrote a couple of The Classic Illustrated Storybook books that are children books that tell the story of iconic movies like Home Alone and Back to the Future.