The Book of Hidden Things – Francesco Dimitri – Review

Four friends have a pact: to meet up on the same day every year in their small hometown in southern Italy. Art, the charismatic leader of the group, has always been adamant about the pact. But this year, he doesn’t show up.

Searching for him, the friends make a worrying discovery: Art has been farming marijuana, a very dangerous activity in mafia controlled country. Asking around in town, they hear bizarre and incredible rumours that Art cured a young girl of leukaemia.

And them, amongst the chaos of his house, they find a curious manuscript written by Art called The Book of Hidden Things, which promises to reveal secrets enchanting as flames, and just as treacherous…

I love a good thriller and this one was no exception. From the moment that Art didn’t show up to the pact evening I just wanted to know what happened.

The book is split into four main characters each of whom have chapters to tell their sides of the story. Art the eccentric one, Fabio the popular one, Mauro the cautious one and Tony the angry one (who you do not want to get on the wrong side of!)

Fabio doesn’t really know what is happening in his life, and as much as he hates Casalfranco (his hometown) he’s welcoming the break from his real life and diminishing funds from a dream that never really took off. But being back in Casalfranco means facing his past, seeing his father and run the risk of being sucked back in. With a girlfriend and a ton of debts waiting for him back in London will he be able to get back into the swing of small-town life?

Mauro is bored with what he has, he regrets never going off to follow his dreams, he’s got a beautiful wife, Anna, who he takes for granted and two beautiful daughters whom he dreads spending time alone with because they’re perfectly normal children. He longs for something different but doesn’t realise that he could lose it all in a second if he isn’t careful.

Tony is the complicated one, he’s got a streak that you wouldn’t expect to find. He’s known for as long as he can remember that he is gay and he struggles to come to terms with that, why is it just him? After finally coming out to his family and friends he can be himself, but being back in a small town who thinks his life choices are sinful and his sisters’ life choices – she marries into the mafia but might also be the one who runs things…

And Art, he first went missing for a week when they were all younger, some believed that he ran away from home for attention, so believed that he was kidnapped. There was no explanation from him, he just simply disappeared and was home again a few days later.
So when he doesn’t show up for the pact dinner it feels like time is repeating itself and yet again Fabio, Mauro and Tony are the ones who have to find him and clean up the mess he’s left behind.

The book is shrouded with mystery after Art doesn’t show up, the boys find clue after clue about the life he has lead in the last few years since not seeing him.

I would recommend anyone who loves a mystery thriller to read this book, it’s great and you will definitely not want to put it down.


Lucy xox

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