Hidden in the Shadows, by Angie Vancise

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and A. D. (Angie) Vancise for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

After having A.D. Vancise reach out and request I read this ARC, I was both honoured and curious about what was to come. An eerie story that spans two time periods, Vancise takes the reader on a journey and jolts them with what they will discover. Part mystery, part horror thriller, the story develops quickly and leaves the reader wondering if they have any control over what they are reading. My first piece by A.D. Vancise and what a ride it was.

Evie Day is back in her hometown, five years after she vowed she would never look back. In Woodsville, Arkansas to attend her grandfather’s funeral, Evie discovers an old photo in his belongings. This leads to other oddities, including a vial of blood, presumably from a case he was working as a local cop many years ago. Now, Evie is pulled into the middle of the mystery that her grandfather left for her, albeit inadvertently.

While she delves a little deeper, Evie uncovers a secret life her grandfather may have been living, or at least a case that remained unsolved. What begins somewhat innocently soon unravels and keeps Evie from being able to stop herself. Mysteries abound and people she’s never heard of become the centre of her world.

Meanwhile, in a flashback narrative, the story of what happened back in 1933 comes to life, with horrible situations and a witness there to recount the tale. Torture, murder, and a taste for blood all come to the surface while a killer (or group) runs rampant around town. How will it all connect with Evie‘s discoveries and what does it all mean? A.D. Vancise has the answers, but demands patience and full attentiveness of her audience to discover the truth.

I try to keep an open mind when I discover a new author, in hopes that they will click for me. A.D. Vancise did so in some regards with this uniquely framed story that had me scratching my head throughout the reading experience. Some crime fighting and even more baffling revelations left me wanting to know more, while being jarred by what I was learning. I can only wonder if some of Vancise’s other books pack the same punch, as she is sure to have quite the following if this is the case.

It takes a strong narrative to keep the reader connecting with a piece through to the very end. A.D. Vancise does that in her own way, luring the reader with some jolting information and hopes that it will be enough. The pacing of the book proved useful to help digest some of the larger and more problematic parts of the storytelling, content, not delivery. Vancise uses a handful of interesting characters to portray the jarring effective of her story and left me asking myself what I was reading on more than one occasion. Plot twists and reveals helped keep me on my toes throughout and left me to wonder if there will be more in this vein, if not in the form of a series. Vancise is a new author for me, but I have not yet decided if I will be back for more, or if this is one novel I need to allow some digestion before committing to something else. Well worth a gander, if only to see what the hype is all about.

Kudos, Madam Vancise, for a unique journey well into the depths of the genre. I liked it, i think!