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A.D. Vancise
Hidden In The Shadows
A.D. Vancise, author
"All I can ever think about is murdering her." -C.B. Twenty-three-year-old Evie Day never dreamt she'd be back in Woodsville Arkansas, a small town in the middle of nowhere, after having left five years earlier, but the death of her grandfather called for her return. After discovering a photo from 1933 of a mysterious woman standing next to a tiny wooden box, a strange vial of blood wrapped up in a handkerchief in the pocket of her grandfather's overalls, and a key hidden in his desk drawer that belongs to a secret safety deposit box, Evie is unwittingly thrown into a world of evil where those closest to her are the ones to be the most feared and danger lurks around every corner. Hidden in the Shadows by A.D. Vancise shines a light on the darkness and reveals the underlying players that have been hunting in plain sight.
“Nothing ages people more than secrets,” Vancise writes in this polished, dark-as-blood-wine thriller, which finds a young woman, digging into the mysteries posed by an old photograph of her late grandfather’s, and then facing unspeakable horrors of the past—and, of course, her present. In a small Arkansas town in 1991, Evie Day sees again a photo that has long haunted her, an image from 1933 of a tall woman and a tiny coffin. Soon she’s dug up intriguing clues that suggest her police chief grandfather harbored secrets: a vial of blood in his desk; a key to a safety deposit box in Castlewood, a town four hours away. Meanwhile, an older man named Charlie works with a specialist to recover suppressed memories and shares horrific visions of occult torture in a Castlewood foster home.

Writing with crisp efficiency, mordant wit, and bursts of searing terror, Vancise whets the novel’s escalating puzzles and portents with an edge of queasy uncertainty. As the two perspective characters’ paths edge closer to crossing, readers will question what to believe—and whether Evie and especially Charles have hidden agendas. Character work is engaging and surprising, with relationships coming to life in well-honed dialogue. Apparent coincidences like Evie encountering an ex, or running into an acquaintance who does profiling work for the FBI, don’t just help the plot along—they contribute to the feeling of fevered suspicion.

That tense atmosphere does not slow momentum. Vancise teases with potent recurring images—a tuxedoed man with a lollipop; a baby in “little black mask with gold stars covered its mouth and nose”—that will compel readers of thoughtful, occult-tinged, buried-secret thrillers to tear through the pages to discover the truth behind them. The revelations jolt but satisfy, the romance is handled with heart and a touch of heat, and the villains are quite literally bloodthirsty.

Takeaway: This smart thriller pits an Arkansas woman against a haunting, possibly occult mystery.

Great for fans of: Gina Sorell’s Mothers and Other Strangers, C​​raig DiLouie’s The Children of Red Peak.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Literary Titan

When Evie returns to her idyllic hometown for her grandfather’s funeral, the last thing she expects is to be dragged into a decades-old mystery. Instead, she finds various sinister clues aInstead, among her grandfather’s possessions, such as a haunting photograph and a bloody knitting needle. Teaming up with figures from her past, such as an old flame, Luke, and a friend from school, Azlinn, she uncovers a deep and twisted conspiracy. The closer they get to the truth, the more sinister and expansive it becomes – and the nearer the threats come to the home.

Hidden in the Shadows by A. D. Vancise is a tale of conspiracy and power. Told through interweaving storylines that slowly connect, the novel explores themes such as greed, lust, and belief in the supernatural. In this book, Vancise skilfully intertwines the magic of cozy small-town charm with the horrific acts those in power can do.

A. D. Vancise makes a sharp delineation between good and evil in her portrayals. Many of the characters, Evie included, are relatable, and the reader can empathize strongly with their journey. The story is filled with heartwarming portrayals of people with nothing but good intentions. On the other hand, the book also depicts people committing heinous acts with no remorse. The author does a beautiful job of depicting both sides of the spectrum and presenting the extremes of human intention.

Hidden in the Shadows by A. D. Vancise is a thrilling mystery that keeps readers in suspense from the first clue until the end. Vancise manages to tell a compelling and imaginative story with a tense and coherent plot within a very atmospheric setting, keeping the reader hooked until the end. The prose is well-written and a joy to read. However, the book contains some very distressing and graphic scenes that are unsuitable for children or the weak of heart. Overall, I would strongly recommend this book to those who enjoy mystery and horror novels.

Pages: 353 | ASIN : B0BNCHMFBP

Readers' Favourite

Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite

Evie was nine years old when she first came across an old photo of a strange woman, dressed in 1930s fashion, standing stiffly to the left of an elevated small box. With her eyes burning with curiosity, Evie turned to her grandfather, Ollie, with questions about who the woman was. But when Ollie glanced at the photo, his face turned red, and he said he didn't want to talk about it. But why would Ollie keep this photo if he didn't want to talk about it? A decade and a half later, Ollie passes away, and as Evie is looking for a picture to be used at his funeral, she finds the mystery woman's photo. When Evie examines the photo more closely, the woman's eyes touch her heart. Even more unsettling is when Evie discovers that the small box in the photo is not merely a box but a small coffin! Could Evie's grandpa somehow be related to the mystery woman? What could she have suffered those many years ago? Pick up a copy of Hidden in the Shadows by A.D. Vancise to find out.

When you begin reading this book, you embark on an adventure filled with chilling mysteries that draw you deep into the story. The author vividly informs your mind's eye. You will gasp as Evie grips the steering wheel tight and swerves to escape the figure that appears out of nowhere, and you will pray that the dark figure she spots in the upstairs window above her apartment won't be lying in wait when she enters. You will also get to know and love the characters in the book. They are all very well-developed and are the plot's engineers. Even Wilbur, the cat, actively participated in the advancement of the plot. The theme of love and sacrifice was a significant highlight. In this story, you will see family members making difficult choices and sacrifices to keep those they love safe. My heart ached when Evie made the painful choice to let the man she loved, Luke, go because she knew he would lose his scholarship if they stayed together. For fans of fast-paced action stories, this is the book for you. A.D. Vancise introduces action scenes that ensure never a dull moment throughout. Hidden in the Shadows is an excellent read that has made me check out more works by A.D. Vancise.