David Ellis

The Hidden Man

"If you enjoyed Grisham, you will love Ellis."


Jason Kolarich is a midwestern Everyman with a lineman's build and an easy smart-ass remark. He's a young, intelligent maverick, but he's also struggling with an overwhelming emotional burden - one that threatens to unravel his own life, and possibly the lives of those around him.

Twenty-seven years ago, two-year-old Audrey Cutler disappeared from her home in the middle of the night. She was never found. All the detectives had to go on were vague eyewitness accounts of a man running down the Cutlers' street, apparently carrying someone. Without enough evidence to suggest otherwise, Griffin Perlini - a neighbor with prior offenses against minors - was arrested, but never convicted.

The case is long closed when Perlini is murdered nearly thirty years later. Now a man named Mr. Smith appears in Jason Kolarich's office, saying only that he represents a third party who wants the man charged with murder off the hook and that Kolarich is perfect for the job. The new client: Audrey Cutler's older brother, Sammy-Kolarich's estranged childhood best friend - a man he hasn't seen in nearly twenty years.

But when Kolarich starts receiving violent threats from Mr. Smith's enigmatic employer, he figures out that the secrecy behind this nameless third party - and the key to winning Sammy's case - is entangled with the mystery of Audrey's disappearance. With his own life and Sammy's in the balance, Kolarich has to put aside not only the mounting anxiety of the job but also a heart-wrenching personal tragedy in order to find out what really happened to Audrey all those years ago.

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If you enjoyed Grisham, you will love Ellis. The Hidden Man is a tense legal thriller with the added element of 'average guy trying to save the day'. Kolarich is a character I immediately warmed to. He is slightly belligerent and abrasive, but deep-down a decent man. I found the book very up and down to begin with, with the writing drifting from past to present and then back again. I was unsure as to where the story was going but was pleased I persevered through this stage as the plot soon developed into something I was unable to put down and certainly not a plot I was able to guess the ending to. I enjoyed the mix of courtroom battles and thriller, which worked very well. A couple of the characters were possibly a little steroetypical, and the plot a little far fetched, but I still thoroughly enjoyed The Hidden Man.

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