Book Review – Hidden Agenda

It seems only right that we kick off our Pay It Forward day with a book review. This is for a book I was given by the publisher, for the purpose of reviewing.

Book – Hidden Agenda
Author – Peter Berman
Star rating – ★★★★★
Would I read it again – Yes
Plot – very well executed, concise and to the point
Characters – intriguing, unique and mysterious
Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – Simple, to the point and very easy to follow.

Well, I have to say I was a little wary of this book. It sounded fabulous but I was a little worried about how far the writer would take the domestic abuse stuff. Turns out, I shouldn’t have worried too much. But, fair warning: I will use copious amounts of capital letters and exclamation marks in this review! Why? Because it needs them. Because this book is outrageously clever, witty, charming and like one of those mysterious men you read about in romance novels. You have no clue how to work them out, but you like it. And they are full of surprises!

The book is definitely an 18-over kind of book, but you miss out the worst things and feel only mildly disturbed through parts. However, unlike how other books would put me off with this, the story is so intricately woven, the bad parts hinted at more often than shown and when they are shown, they’re spread out and far enough apart that you’re not bombarded with the violence. The story handles the worst subjects very well and you never really feel overwhelmed by anything going on.

I have to say, the first chapter or two are definitely the worse. If you can get through them, you are fine. Not because they’re terrible, no, but because they show the worst of the violence and it is one of those things that just makes your skin crawl.

There are very few bad things about this book. What little errors (spelling or repeated words) there are in this 414 page book, are few and far between. They do not interfere with the reading of the story, and look, to me, like left overs from previous edits. I know, because I do it myself.

My first thoughts, on reading the first few chapters, was that this book is like watching a train wreck. You don’t want to see what’s going on, you don’t want to know any more, but you just can’t tear yourself away and stop looking. That’s this book. And let me just say that I devoured it over two days. I probably would have only taken 1 except I had previous commitments.

It’s intriguing, beguiling and I was suspicious about everyone until the very end. No-one seemed to be who you start of thinking they are. The second thought I had, was when it was creeping onto one in the morning and I hadn’t put it down yet. This book is engaging and you can’t put it down for a second because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. AND YOU NEED TO KNOW! It’s that kind of book. It’s like you say to yourself ‘Just one more chapter…I have to know what’s going on.’ And then you get to the end of the chapter and it’s a total GOGGLE moment, where you sit there and think, ‘That didn’t actually happen!’

And you think you’re a real idiot, because nothing spectacular or monumental happened, but it’s the little things in this book that get you. The confusing conversations that make you feel like you missed something important. The hints of something going on in the background that you’re not getting to see.

At first, I thought the skipping of six weeks or a few days was nothing. I’ve done it myself in a story when there’s nothing really going on in that time that needs excessive explanation so you just jump ahead to the important part. Then, you begin to think, what were they talking about in those six weeks, those two days? What did they do? What were they planning? What happened?

I think I started off reading the book suspicious about the wife, Clare and the husband, Peter. They were both a little ‘off’ for me. Not quite normal, strange and a little difficult to figure out. Jeremy seemed straightforward and simple. Then, the more I read, the more I began to wonder and think. Who is what they seem to be? Apparently only Peter, or at least, that’s what I thought. In fact, I was right. Peter is the only character in the book that doesn’t surprise you.

And I better say it now, because it will come out in the end. I am in love with Jeremy. Yes, I said it. It’s true. He’s smart, charming, witty – he’s all the things this book is and more. And if you read it, you’ll know why. He’s certainly the smartest man I’ve ever read about in a novel.

What irritated me?

One thing. One tiny little thing. I’m a major fan of anything crime related. I studied forensics and first officer on the scene and everything. I watch all the crime shows, movies and read all the books. This book has me second guessing myself! That is really unusual. I’m one of those who, after the first five minutes of a crime TV show, usually knows who did it. Not here. Trust me, it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. I was 100 pages into this book and ready to tear my hair out because I had no idea what was going on. The same for 200 and 300 pages. It was only at the end, when I was done that certain suspicions I had were confirmed. And I might have had the gist of what I thought happened in my head, but I NO WAY saw the full story. That was a total shock.

The start, the middle, the end. This whole book was fabulous. I want to read it again, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and to see if I could tell, knowing the ending, what the story was, from reading it over again. But I doubt it. It’s just one of those that jumps out at you from nowhere and you’re left saying to yourself – NO FRICKIN’ WAY!

You have to read this book. You have to go, right now, away from this page, and order this book. When it comes, ditch everything else, hide yourself away for 24 hours and READ THIS BOOK!

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