by Jane Casey
To be published on August 25, 2015
by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: ARC from publisher for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: It's Christmas in Port Sentinel, the tiny English town where Jess Tennant has been living for more than a year now. She wasn't sure how she felt about moving away from London when her mom dragged her to Port Sentinel right before the beginning of high school, but even Jess has to admit the town has completely outdone itself for the holidays. There's a Christmas market complete with mini ice-rink, and fairy lights decorate the bare trees all over town. For one of Jess's classmates, though, the Christmas season is anything but magical. She's been kidnapped and is being held in a dilapidated cottage near a deserted beach. And Jess might be the only one who can figure out where she is in time to rescue her.My take: I've been a fan of British mysteries and police procedurals since I discovered my mom's huge stash of Agatha Christie books in our basement rec room. I've gone on to read P.D. James, Lynda La Plante, Val McDermid (who hails from Scotland) and Tana French (Ireland) and enjoyed their work.
For the past seven years I've been reading less mystery and more YA, so Jane Casey wasn't on my radar. While she's written a mystery series for adults, Hide and Seek is part of her YA mystery series and had all the elements I love: a well-drawn British setting, a smart, resourceful protagonist with some interesting personal entanglements and a friendly-but-not-always friendly relationship with the police. Then, of course, there's the requisite Brit-speak that's music to my Anglophile ears: mentions of Agas and wellies and rows.
While Hide and Seek is the third in a series, I always understood what was going on with Jess's personal life, though I did get the idea that I missed out on a bunch of interesting history she had with some other characters. It would have been nice to have read the prior two books, but I didn't find it a hindrance that I hadn't.
I also thought Hide and Seek handled the whole plausibility issue of a 16-year old being involved in a police investigation really well -- at one point, the chief investigator (and her boyfriend's father and her mother's ex-boyfriend) tells her that he can't have a teenager messing around, disturbing his evidence. When Jess did things that were out of bounds, it seemed believable. The clues were all eel-place and the book had a very suspenseful ending.
If you're also a fan of British crime fiction, I think you'll find this a great read. And if you generally like YA mysteries and thrillers, try it out!