Book Review / Jason Rekulak / Reviews with Spoilers

Jason Rekulak | Hidden Pictures

The Book: 

Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
Published May 10th 2022 by Flatiron Books
Date read: April 24, 2022

The Characters: 


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Fresh out of rehab, Mallory Quinn takes a job in the affluent suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell. She is to look after their five-year-old son, Teddy.

Mallory immediately loves this new job. She lives in the Maxwell’s pool house, 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.

As the days pass, Teddy’s artwork becomes more and more sinister, and his stick figures steadily evolve into more detailed, complex, and lifelike sketches well beyond the ability of any five-year-old. Mallory begins to suspect these are glimpses of an unsolved murder from long ago, perhaps relayed by a supernatural force lingering in the forest behind the Maxwell’s house.

With help from a handsome landscaper and an eccentric neighbor, Mallory sets out to decipher the images and save Teddy—while coming to terms with a tragedy in her own past—before it’s too late. 

Click here for book spoilers for Hidden Pictures
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Hidden Pictures, I suggest you turn back now.

The Twist:

Anya was actually Teddy’s mother (Anya is a Hungarian word for mother). Her real name was Margite. Teddy was her stolen daughter, who Caroline and Ted dressed as a little boy. Caroline stole her because she believed Anya was neglecting her. That’s why they were so strict about Teddy going to the bathroom alone.

Anya (Margite) was actually a ghost, haunting the family because they stole Teddy from her.

Caroline and Ted killed Mitsy. When Mallory found out, Caroline tied her up in the guest house and was going to kill her too. She confessed everything to Mallory. Ted tried to “rescue” Mallory to run away with her, but he was a creep who had put a camera in the guest house to watch Mallory. Mallory was able to get away, grab Teddy, and run off into the woods. They climbed a tree to hide from Caroline, and then Anya possessed Teddy and killed Caroline. Mallory said she did it.

The Ending:

Teddy was returned to her family (she chose to go back to living as a little girl, despite her father very understandingly letting her choose which gender suited her better). Mallory kept dating Andre. Mallory visited Teddy once, but Teddy (now Flora) was more interested in putting the past behind her and moving on with her new life.

The Review: 

It was funny that I picked this one up right on the heels of The Book Of Cold Cases, not knowing much about it. Both were paranormal in a “realistic” kind of way, which is how I like my supernatural books, if that makes any sense.

When I read the blurb I was worried that this would be another stale “no one believes the unstable girl nanny” story. While there was an element of no one trusting Mallory when she started to realize that something was wrong with Teddy, the plot was fresh and unique overall. Don’t let the blurb turn you away if you feel like you’ve read this storyline before!

I really enjoyed the characters here, especially cute little Teddy. Mallory was extremely likeable and relatable. As a recovering addict, she was easy to root for as she tried her best to move on from her troubled past.

The reveal and the ending were both very satisfying and well written. I was never bored while listening to Hidden Pictures! The clues were very well-paced, and it was fun to read something that kept me guessing the entire time.

I loved the final chapter and teared up a little at how things were resolved.

Audio Review: Suzy Jackson is a new narrator for me, but I loved her performance. I will definitely be listening to more from her in the future! Thanks to Macmillan Audio for this ALC–it drew me right into Mallory’s story, and I couldn’t bring myself to press pause. I powered through this one during a long weekend of chores.

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