Hidden In The Shadows by A.D Vancise – Book Review

Hidden in the shadows is a marvelous thriller story authored by A.D Vancise. The story has been weaved in such a manner that would keep the readers engrossed to the last to know how the story ends. The story revolve around themes like power, conspiracy, love, hatred, sacrifice, evil as well as pure intentions of the characters, very well developed with each having a crucial role in the development of the story line. The story starts with the curiosity of Evie, a twenty three years old girl to find the secret behind a photograph of a lady and a small coffin behind her, clicked in 1933 that her grandfather has very carefully kept for years. Vancise narrated Evie’s journey of finding the secret behind the photograph with such excellence that the readers could visualize the entire story in their mind’s eye. Vancise’s art of story telling is praiseworthy as the narration consist of two plots depicting extremes of human intention. The story advances with such swiftness that the readers would be amazed at the neatness of the development of the story line.

Love and concern for the near and dear ones is very beautifully portrayed by Vancise through the efforts of the main character of the book Evie who despite having moved from her hometown came back to her home at her grandfather’s demise to support her family. While at home, Evie caught hold of a  photograph of a woman and a small coffin behind her while searching for her grandfather’s photograph to honour his death. It was not the first time that Evie saw the photograph as she could remember her curious self asking her grandfather about it sixteen years back. Receiving no answer from him made the photograph quite mysterious. Evie was perplexed when she realized why the photograph was haunting her and wondered who the woman in it could be that her grandfather has kept so secret. With this story line, Vancise has put forward to the readers how the world moves with different intentions of people and the consequences it brings. The curiosity and genuine wish of Evie to unveil the secret behind the photograph took her on a roller coaster ride where she met different people who had crucial role to play in the story of the photograph.

Vancise took the readers through the vulnerable state of mind of human beings through the character Evie. Nobody live a perfect life and  neither did Evie. She found her life amidst chaos with no happy family life and realizing the unknown side of her grandfather terrified her. Evie’s growing distance with the people she loved reflected Evie’s vulnerable mind which made her feel devastated every time. However it cannot be denied that good intentions never bring dissatisfaction which was why Evie could find the solace in her life as she moved on with a pure heart.

In contrast to the pure feelings and intentions of people, Vancise drew a line between the good and evil while narrating the story behind the photograph. The readers were served the realization that the adulthood of people is reflected by their childhood and Vancise mentioned about a traumatic childhood of a character in the book to highlight the gruesomeness of human beings who could stoop to the lowest for their own benefits. The readers are convinced to wonder what could a childhood experience of a person long back could have a link with the case Evie was personally investigating. On the other hand, Evie’s roller coaster journey took her to several clues and people who had to do something with the photograph and her clean intentions of finding the secret brought her knowledge about the mishap the people in the photograph had gone through. She eventually came to know about  the  photograph but by bit and it would be a nail biting adventurous read for the readers to find how Evie could trace clues and evidences to bring those unknown faces to light. Knowing about the people further invoked  curiosity in Evie to uncurtain the secret. Vancise has narrated the entire story in such a way that the readers too could experience the curiosity Evie was going through. The only question that would emerge in the mind of the readers is – What is the secret behind the photograph?

 The driver of this story has to be the coincidences that Evie found every time she searched for more clues. Her encounter with a particular person  every time and every where made Evie wonder if it was a sign or just coincidental encounters. It is interesting to note that every time there is a probability of making a guess, the plot takes a twist leaving the readers stuck in puzzle.   Coincidence took another level when Evie bumped into a few other people who provided far-reaching information that helped her find more  clues to know the secret behind the photograph. Vancise brought too many characters into the story and with such neatness that the readers would find no hint about how the storyline would go.

With clues and patience, Evie was almost on the brink of unveiling the secret but she faced quite a lot of obstacles from the offenders in the case she was investigating and it made Evie wondered what could possibly be the secret and how ingrained was the conspiracy behind the photograph that after all these years, the evil minded did not want the truth to come to light. But it cannot be denied that if we are determined in our path, no obstacles could stop us from reaching our goal. Evie didn’t bother the obstacles and she was certain that she would find out the truth. This act of Evie could be quite exhilarating for the readers that no matter what, we need to stick to our own principles. What was trying to stop Evie on her journey of disclosing the truth was the power and conspiracy that once hid  it. The offenders didn’t like the fact that a young girl who had nothing to do with the photograph was digging out information about the time it was clicked that put Evie under their scanner. This will further increase the curiosity level of  the readers if someone from Evie’s close vicinity was involved in the conspiracy or Evie will dig out a new character she didn’t interact in the process of finding the truth.  While reading the story, a lot of questions would occur and reoccur in the reader’s minds trying to guess the story of the photograph. Vancise very tactfully kept the readers hooked to find the secret behind the mysterious photograph and left no hint for the readers to even make a blind guess.

While on one hand Vancise portrayed how there are some people who could sacrifice humanity for one’s own interest, on the other hand there are people who sacrifice their feelings for someone considering the growth and well being of their loved ones. In the book, the readers could observe how  the theme of sacrifice was a remarkable highlight. Vancise portrayed how Evie’s family  had to make difficult choices and sacrifices to keep the people they love at a safe place. However, time played it’s own game and the fruit of painful decisions and sacrifices found it’s desired consequences. This brings a hope  that people who are meant for us and whose existence we value will definitely stay with us standing all tests of time.

It is a universal fact that good triumphs over the evil and this book is another reminder of the same. In a few events, by joining clues and information that Evie got from the people she interacted, she almost got hold of the conspiracy and the mastermind was just a few steps away from her. No matter how well planned a conspiracy is, it will definitely leave its traces. Here the readers would almost feel like jumping to the last page to know who the culprit was. Evie too felt the same and she eventually came to understand what the conspiracy was and how it started. Vancise made an attempt to convey the idea that no matter how dirty and strong a conspiracy is, truth will always prevail.

Reading half the story would never let anyone guess the conspiracy but engagement till the very last would definitely unveil the entire happening and that too with the visuals from the texts in the mind’s eye.  The readers could very well identify the theme of good and bad intentions when the secret behind the photograph comes to light.  This story is in a way very inspiring with the mention of a strong character like Evie who despite the obstacles stood firm on her path of finding the truth. She unveiled an age-old conspiracy while she was finding a clue for the secret behind the photograph that highlight the reality how people after getting indulged in immoral and unethical activities hide under the shield of power.

“Hidden in the Shadows” by A.D. VanciseAvailable on Amazon

Also Read: An Interview with Award-Winning Author Angie Vancise

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I am Monsoon Rupam. I did my post graduation in Sociology from Dibrugarh University. I have a curious mind and it always excites me to find 'sociology' in everything around me. I am a keen observer and take interest in research work and analysis. Gender Studies, Social Stratification, Health are a few areas that holds my attention to work upon. Besides, I find solace in music, moon gazing, sunsets, rain and flowers.