Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
From Edgar Award-finalist Jason Rekulak comes a wildly inventive spin on the supernatural thriller, for fans of Stranger Things and Riley Sager, about a woman working as a nanny for a young boy with strange and disturbing secrets.
Mallory Quinn is fresh out of rehab when she takes a job as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell. She is to look after their five-year-old son, Teddy.
Mallory immediately loves it. She has her own living space, goes out for nightly runs, and has the stability she craves. And she sincerely bonds with Teddy, a sweet, shy boy who is never without his sketchbook and pencil. His drawings are the usual fare: trees, rabbits, balloons. But one day, he draws something different: a man in a forest, dragging a woman’s lifeless body.
Then, Teddy’s artwork becomes increasingly sinister, and his stick figures quickly evolve into lifelike sketches well beyond the ability of any five-year-old. Mallory begins to wonder if these are glimpses of a long-unsolved murder, perhaps relayed by a supernatural force.
Knowing just how crazy it all sounds, Mallory nevertheless sets out to decipher the images and save Teddy before it’s too late.Amazon Synopsis
Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak is a one-of-a-kind supernatural thriller that borders on horror and took my reading life by storm. It is by far the best book that I have read in 2022 so far, and I cannot recommend it enough.
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I read a large number of horror and thriller novels each year, and sometimes it feels like they begin to blur together. Many thriller novels have seemingly begun to run together due to a lack of originality, but that was not the case with Hidden Pictures. Jason Rekulak created a supernatural thriller with such eerie elements that lent the novel to the horror genre and forced the reader to devour the novel within one sitting.
Hidden Pictures follows Mallory Quinn, a woman who has just gotten out of rehab and takes a babysitting job for an affluent couple. She watches over the couple’s five-year-old boy named Teddy, and lives in a pool house on their property. Teddy is a shy boy who tends to be partial to creating sketches that start off innocent, but eventually become eerie. He begins to make sketches of his imaginary friend, as well as sketches of what look to be a murder. Mallory finds herself on a journey to discover the supernatural secrets behind the property that she is living at, while subsequently becoming entrenched in the secrets that the family holds.
One of the most unique aspects of Hidden Pictures is that throughout the novel were actual representations of Teddy’s drawings. The drawings added a realistic and eerie element to the novel that helped the story come alive. But the truly best part of the novel was how many secrets were hidden throughout it that Rekulak kept from the reader and revealed at just the right time. While there was a lot going on, each element was essential to the story and kept the reader guessing until the end. While the supernatural elements of the novel created the horror setting throughout the novel, there was a sense of mystery and sleuthing that completely captured my imagination. Once you felt like you had figured out the secrets behind the story, Rekulak would through another secret at you that would completely change your perspective.
Jason Rekulak is a new and vital voice in the mystery, thriller, and horror genres. He expertly blended such smooth prose with shock factors that were neither cliche nor juvenile. Hidden Pictures got me out of a reading slump that left me pining for more, and I fully intend reread and reread this novel over and over again. It is one that will reveal new secrets to the reader with each reading, and I cannot wait to see where each reading takes me. Rekulak is fully one of my new favorite authors, and I am excited to see where he takes his writing next.