Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes (DRC): Secrets Are Bad When You’re Being Blackmailed…


3.5 stars

Embry Woods has secrets, both big and small. And what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn with the fire is what just might bring Embry down.

Everyone thinks she’s a hero, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yet, she’s not going around dispelling the notion either, at least, not until she receives an anonymous note–someone else knows the truth. And after, a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices and putting her loved ones at risk. No one in Embry’s life is safe, and someone is playing a high stakes game with murder.

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I loved Stokes’ Girl Against the Universe, and was very excited to hear she was coming out with another book! I hadn’t read any of her mysteries before this, but Hidden Pieces sounded AWESOME.

And it was definitely better than I expected (my expectations for mystery/thriller are honestly kinda low), but I did think that this was a pretty solid read!

It’s easier to start with the negatives first, and there were honestly only two things that I wasn’t a huge fan of.

First, I felt like honestly all of this could have been avoided if the character wasn’t as…negligent? Was more honest? Like, I sort of facepalmed because I felt like the main character just could have avoided this whole situation better if she was honest with the start.

And I don’t mean just with the burning the house down thing (which I actually felt she was reasonably justified in not telling anyone because money, but still boo?), but with the whole not telling her boyfriend thing too.

I just felt like the who reason why the plot happened could have been avoided if the main character was a little more honest.

But, I do realize that this is partly because of character flaws etc., but I always get a wee bit frustrated with plots that could have been completely avoided if one thing did/did not happen.

The other thing that made this less appealing to me was that I predicted the blackmail/murderer from a little before the halfway point. Which never happens to me.

I’m pretty terrible at guessing these things and I definitely probably am getting better at guessing killers, but I also felt like Stokes didn’t include enough red herrings to make it hard to guess. Like, it was pretty easy to rule out the obvious ones (and you know the murderer is usually a side character) and there weren’t many other characters left, so I intuitively knew who it had to be just based on mystery/thriller tropes in general.

I definitely wished it was more twisty, but there were still a lot of pluses to this!

I LOVED the blackmail aspect. Like, those were chilling and dangerous and super cool. I think Stokes did a really great job of building those up and making Embry distressed and everything. It definitely felt like there weren’t a lot of options and you really felt what Embry was going through.

Plus, this book just totally sped by. It was really easy to digest, and even though I didn’t have a lot of time, I wanted to find out what happened next and I wanted to keep reading, which is more than I can say for a lot of books I don’t connect with.

So even though this didn’t end up being perfect for me, I was invested and interested and I enjoyed being chilled by all the danger! Definitely recommend if you’re in the mood for a story featuring blackmail and characters who don’t have any good options…

Thank you so much to Harper Collins for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

much love, vicky

What mystery/thriller novels do you love? Send me recs!!!

6 thoughts on “Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes (DRC): Secrets Are Bad When You’re Being Blackmailed…

  1. Lovely review! ❤ I'm happy to hear you enjoyed that one, even if some things bothered you. I'm usually the worst at guessing who's the bad guy in these kind of books haha, but who knows, I might guess it as well for that one? I'd be curious. I have been loving Paula Stokes' contemporaries and I've been wanting to read some of her mystery/thriller books lately, I can't wait to check out that one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh my gosh, i’m excited to hear if you do guess it! I feel like I was just pretty intuitive with this one–I hope you enjoy because I know how much you love Paula Stokes!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. While I would have been annoyed with the negligent character, I would have also found quite interesting. I mean, the lengths people would go through to avoid the truth! With crime fiction, my reads are mainly adult. I do love the ones bordering on creepy 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh then you might really enjoy this one! And Embry definitely goes really far to avoid the truth, so I definitely think you should try and pick this up!


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