Hide Away (Rachel Marin #1), by Jason Pinter

Eight stars

Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers.


Looking for a thriller that would keep my mind racing throughout, I turned to this new series by Jason Pinter. With a woman who’s hiding her past from the authorities, but it adamant about helping with a murder investigation, Pinter pulls readers in with Hide Away. He reveals everything in a slow and deliberate fashion, keeping the reader guessing and trying to piece it all together. A police procedural with a twist, this will appeal to fans of the genre, as well as the reader looking for something across numerous timelines.

She calls herself Rachel Marin, but that’s not her real name. Something happened a number of years ago that’s forced her to flee with her two children and try to stay two steps in front of someone who’s lurking in the shadows. Whatever it is, the threat is real and ongoing, forcing Rachel to stay hyper vigilant, while living just outside of Chicago.

After the Ashby PD are called to the scene of a body found on the ice below a bridge, the first thought is suicide. Things must have been going wrong for the victim, which is substantiated once the woman is identified as former mayor Constance Wright. Her fall from grace, like this leap from a bridge, was anything but graceful.

While watching the news the following morning, Rachel Marin sees the story and does some of her own calculations. Marin calls the Ashby PD and reports that this was a murder, citing the physics of the event as being impossible to replicate by a suicidal jumper. Intrigued, two homicide detectives take her information under advisement and commence their own questioning. When Marin appears at the home of the victim’s ex-husband, she worms her way inside and finds additional information that points to a potential suspect. While the information is welcomed, Marin’s presence is not and she’s told to steer clear.

As the police investigation gains momentum, it is soon apparent that there is more to Constance Wright that meets the eye. Her downfall came from an apparent affair with a staff member, but her admits under questioning that he was paid to fabricate it, something that Marin discovers as well. She is trying to work the angles and provide a pathway for the police without stepping on any toes. All this, while balancing two children who are at completely different levels of acceptance of her sleuthing.

When Marin appears on the scene again, her involvement crosses the line one too many times and she’s taken into custody. It’s now time to look at Marin, not as a suspect, but to determine who she is and why she has such a connection to the case. Background checks turn up empty and the cash purchase of her current home raises red flags. She is a mystery without a past, not something that Ashby PD sees often.

While Constance Wright’s killer is out there, they remain as yet unknown. Marin and her family have already been put in danger, which does not seem to be dissipating the more this amateur sleuth sticks out her neck. It’s time to take action or wait for another body to appear, one currently named Rachel Marin.

Having never read anything by Jason Pinter before, I was unsure what I ought to expect. That being said, I was highly impressed with the writing and presentation of this piece, which mixes a police procedural with civilian criminal investigation and adds some layers of mystery to keep the reader guessing.

Rachel Marin proves a great protagonist, offering bits and pieces of her life throughout the story, while shielding much from the reader and those she encounters. Her backstory is a little hazy, but with use of flashback chapters, the reader learns a little more, without fully understanding the story behind her husband’s apparent murder. Marin is sharp and on point when it comes to the investigation, laying out her theories effectively and staying active, while crossing the line when her enthusiasm gets the better of her.

Pinter adds a strong set of supporting characters as well, keeping the story interesting on many levels. The detectives drive the story as the police investigation progresses, while the suspects and various witnesses offer some interesting theories for the reader to ponder throughout. Those who can help shape Rachel Marin’s story as a person are an essential part of the piece as well, as the reader seeks to assemble things and answer the ‘who are you’ question that lingers.

The story itself was unlike many I have read in the thriller genre. The mix of civilian sleuth with an active police investigation will prove useful as the series continues. Pinter also adds a layer of mystery surrounding the story of Rachel Marin’s true identity and whatever she’s fled. With a strong narrative that evolves throughout, Pinter hooks the reader in the early chapters. Flashback chapters that fill in some of the Marin gaps prove helpful, while still keeping the reader in the dark as to what’s really going on. Chapters not only alternate in time period, but also with their length. This keeps the reader on their toes, never knowing what’s to come or how detailed the analysis will be. Great banter between characters and a stellar plot with a handful of nefarious characters provides something for all readers to enjoy, while trying to peel back the ‘whodunit’ portion of the story. I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel to see if it packs just as much of a punch.

Kudos, Mr. Pinter, for a great start to a series. I think you found a definite fan in me, which leaves me wanting to read more of your work!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: