“Hiding In Third Person” is, on the surface, about an orderly in a mental institution gaining the trust of a patient in order to learn the truth behind his fantastic story about runaways and murder, and keep the troubled man from going to another facility. But things are not as simple as they appear, and the patient, Mr. Rivers, has a story that many think is false, but Ricky, the orderly, knows otherwise. It’s a storyline that should be thrilling, with an intriguing mystery as to what’s real, and who is responsible for Mr. Rivers’ ultimate fate, but the story didn’t really achieve that for me by the books’ conclusion.
The premise is fascinating, and heck, even the book’s title and clever cover art help cement that. I love this cover and title! But it was the delivery that fell flat for me, and I think if this had gone through a copy editor’s hands, a lot of those things would have been caught and cleaned up to where what we are left with, is a thrilling story. The sentence structure and jumbled POV was the biggest sticking point of this for me. Often the chapter starts as one character’s perspective, then mid paragraph switches to another person. This got especially confusing when the cops get involved, and it made it difficult for me to keep track of who was who and who was making the observations, and ultimately made the characters feel a bit flat—at least when it came to most people outside of Malachi.
I thought Bradley did a great job showing Malachi’s quirks, and as someone with a sibling on the autism spectrum, I thought this was portrayed both tastefully, and very well. I especially loved the introspection Ricky has regarding the patients in his care and what it means to be left at the asylum. I wish there had been more focus on that at times, for the author does bring up good points and observations that I felt should be explored further. In fact, I thought Ricky’s story was far more interesting and believable than the cop’s sections of the books, and longed for the author to spend more time with this orderly, which would have made the ending all the more impactful in my opinion.
Like I said, the premise of this book is very interesting and holds so much promise. But because of the POV and confusing sentence structure, I could never lose myself to the story and get swept up in the suspense and mystery Bradley sets up. This is one of those books that, if it went through another round of copy edits, will be fabulous, but as is, the story and plot just never sparkled enough for me to truly enjoy the story. Ultimately, I just don’t think this book was for me. So, for now, this book is a 2.5 rating, but I’d probably change this if later updated editions of the book come out, and thanks to the author for providing a copy for review!
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