Cover Image: The Hiding Girl

The Hiding Girl

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Member Reviews

Dorian Box is the author of four novels. The Hiding Girl was published in 2020 and is the first book in her Emily Calby Series. This was the 93rd book I completed in 2022.

Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own! Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is twelve-year-old Emily Calby.

Calby was growing up in rural Georgia when her life was turned upside down. Out of nowhere comes two men who brutally murder her mother and little sister. If she had not run away, she would be dead too. Without the money her father had hidden, she would have been lost.

Before he died, he had shown her the stash. Enough cash to keep her for weeks if she is careful. Calby looks old for her age but is still too young to be on her own. She manages to manipulate more than one charitable person to help her, but not everyone she meets is so kind. Her journey is as much personal survival as it is a search for the killers.

Young Calby is on a mission. She wants to find and kill those who took her family. Along the way, she makes an unlikely friend in Lucas. He is a former gang member who now has his own business. He gave up gangs on the street for the more profitable realm of the Internet.

Lucas helps Calby track down the men that murdered her family. He also shares what he knows in the art of ‘self-defense’. Will Calby be able to track down the two criminals and bring them to justice? Or will she become just one more of their victims?

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 334-page mystery. I enjoyed this action-packed and engaging novel. You will get to like the character of Calby, but she is a dark hero. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

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A fabulous book which I could not put down. Really easy to read, gripping and wonderfully told story that I would recommend to others!!

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Well, well, well. What a most pleasant surprise! I'm not going to lie. I had my doubts about this book but this one was unputdownable. This story of survival and hope was beautifully written and a breath of fresh air. Unlikely friendships, impossible situations, overcoming the odds, characters you root for, the horrors of real life, and perseverance are just a few of this book's best qualities. I am floored by how amazing this book was and have already started the sequel. I will definitely be on the look out for more from this author.

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Wow what a ride. The plot summary made it seem like this story was going to be absolutely implausible, but it was anything but. The main characters were so well fleshed out, their interactions so natural and the relationship that was built intensely moving. I really enjoyed this read.

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I loved this book. It had an amazing plot and characters. Love Lucas trying to leave his old life behind to be the hiding girl. The hiding girl is truly special when it comes to survival of a young girl and meeting a few good friends along the way to avenging her family.

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First book I’ve read by this author and won’t be the last ! It’s the first book in the series and even though it’s slightly unbelievable it’s a book that makes you aware that friendship gets you through anything! Loved it

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Thrilling! This story starts out fast and it just keeps getting better and better until its awesome conclusion. We are introduced into the mind of Emily Calby, the Hiding Girl, a twelve year old who is forced to run for her life after her mother and sister are brutally killed. This book was fast paced, thought provoking, sad, funny and kept me on edge from beginning to end.

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The Hiding Girl by Dorian Box
Emily Calby #1

Excellent – could not put this book down! Remembering myself when 12, thinking about what Emily experienced, rooting for her throughout – what a roller coaster ride this book proved to be!

What I liked:
* Emily: Strong, smart, damaged, survivor, focused on justice. This young girl grew up in a hurry and lived by her wits as she moved forward while dealing with the loss of her family.
* Lucas: Big, strong, giving, caring, nicer than he appears at first, suffered great loss, just who Emily needed in her life.
* Kiona: kind of a silent person in the story but there for both Emily and Lucas.
* James: a young man with a future, good friend to Lucas, would like to know more about him.
* FBI agent Forster: a good man with Emily’s best interests at heart.
* The kind people that were there for Emily from time to time.
* Emily’s strength, resilience and ability to survive – and also her loyalty and friendship with those she cared about.
* The unflinching look at what happened in more than one situation.
* Darla and Peggy: two women that were kind and helpful when they didn’t have to be.
* The way Lucas was there for Emily when she really needed him.
* That the baddies were dealt with in the end…and how they were dealt with.

What I didn’t like:
* The bad guys…and there were several that showed up in this story. Predators that all deserved the justice meted out to them.
* Knowing that the predators in this book exist in real life and that what Emily experienced in the story is all too real for too many.

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I read more by this author? Definitely

Thank you to NetGalley and Friction Press for the ARC – This is my honest review.

5 Stars

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I felt as if I were really in the story with the characters. The author does a fabulous job of drawing the reader in

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"The Hiding Girl" was a fun book. It starts out with a murder (and assumed but undescribed sexual assault) and there are other instances of violence in the story, so it is not "fun" in that respect. As Emily Calby, her younger sister, Becky, and her mother are unloading the groceries, two strange men appear in their driveway, claiming they need gas for their vehicle. Emily is suspicious of them, questioning their story and noticing inconsistencies. However, her mother does not pay attention, which proves to be a fatal mistake, as the men enter the house, and assault and kill Emily's mother and sister and burn down the house. Emily manages to escape, but she has nowhere to go (her father was deceased and she had no extended family) and is afraid that the two men will find her and kill her if she goes to the police or otherwise lets her existence be publicized. After hiding in the woods, she returns to the house and grabs a stash of cash her father had hidden in the garage for emergencies and then she flees. Taking advantage of her age (twelve) and the sympathy of strangers, as well as some petty theft and her own resourcefulness, she has been traveling around the country. Her destination is Memphis, TN, where she plan to purchase a fake driver's license, although she lied about who she was in order to arrange the transaction. The cab driver who takes her to the address in Memphis questions whether she really wants to go there, as it is not a location a young white girl should be hanging around.

At the address, Emily meets Lucas or Big EZ. Lucas is a big black man with a checkered past who currently specializes in making fake documentation, among other illegal activities. Lucas does not really want anything to do with Emily (or Alice Miller, as she will be identified on her new driver's license, which says she is sixteen), but at the same time he cannot abandon her to the elements or to the neighborhood she would have to pass through in order to find shelter. They end up reaching an arrangement where Lucas allows Emily to stay with him for a month while he and his girlfriend, Kiona, a personal trainer, make her stronger and fitter, teach her self-defense, and additional survival skills. Emily is determined to find the men who killed her family and Lucas agrees to provide assistance, but also cautions her about the cost of revenge.

Emily and Lucas make an unusual pair, especially considering the age, size, and color difference, and events occur that highlight the potential problems and prejudice of them being together (as friends), which is eye-opening to Emily, who sees Lucas an ally and friend (not a "black" ally/friend). However, they actually make a pretty good duo, as they challenge each other, Emily helps bring out in the inner goodness in Lucas, and Lucas helps Emily focus and control her worst instincts. Emily, who is twelve at the start of the book and celebrates her thirteenth birthday during the course of the story, is in some ways wise beyond her years, with a knowledge base, observational skills, resourcefulness, and determination that belies her age, but she is also very naïve about a lot of things, including some of the potential dangers facing her. Complicating matters is that Emily has not had the opportunity to properly grieve the loss of her family and she is having to engage in uncharacteristic and at times desperate measures to survive, which results in episodes of mental instability.

The author has created some rather good plot twists and a good supporting cast of characters. There are some rather funny moments. Watch out for Alice the Pit Bull. "The Hiding Girl" is well worth reading.

I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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This was an interesting and intriguing mystery with a unique premise. The writing initially grabbed my attention, although at times I struggled with parts of the narrative that felt slightly disjointed. The characters were very real, which was part of this book that I really enjoyed. Some of the pacing was a little slow, but overall this was an interesting story with a plot that raced differently than many that I’ve read.

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"One of the year's best thrillers." —

"Dark and gritty … without peer in contemporary mysteries/thrillers." — Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize
"[A] great, suspenseful read." — Readers' Favorite Award in Suspense Fiction

This was a hard book to read. Not because it had violence in it, it did. Not because it had rape and child molestation in it, it did. But because of the language. The violence, both the rape and child molestations were not at all explicit which was good. It just let you know it happened. Not any details. But the use of the f-word was uncalled for. Also making Lucas sound so ignorant was uncalled for. I believe the author had good intentions with his part but I'm sorry she fell short. This guy was smart. Not just street smart
but smart with a computer. He had a huge heart. He had a very smart girlfriend who would not have been with someone as backwards talking as this guy was written to sound like. While this book was very good that took away from it in a big way for me.

A child, Emily, saw her mom and sister murdered. It was a horrific thing for a twelve year old child to endure. She was not by any means a smart kid. I don't mean she was ignorant or stupid, but she was not world smart. She could sense bad in people though and she had a heart. She knew the men were bad. She knew they were up to no good. When she went on the run she really had to learn as she went. There was so much going on that was basically new to her. But she was very resilient and learned how to get things done. When she met Lucas things seemed to start looking up for her.

Lucas was an ex gangbanger who went straight and started doing great for himself. While some of the things he did were questionable, he did what he had to to make it. When he met Emily she was a dirty kid who needed lots of help. The bond between the two grew. He would do almost anything for this child. I hated the language he used. Especially the use of the f-word. I think that was overdone so bad.

Kiona, Lucas's girlfriend, was a strong woman. She worked as a trainer. Lucas got her to train Emily so she could learn to defend herself. But Kiona didn't like Emily. She acted like she was jealous of this twelve year old child. I didn't like that part and would have liked it much better if it would have been a case of them getting close. Kiona had a heart after all. She would or could have helped Emily in ways that Lucas couldn't. Emotionally she could have been there for her. She did finally come around a bit but good grief it took her long enough.

I did like this book even with the things that drove me crazy about it. It was one that tugged at my heart for Emily. For her mother and little sister. It was not an overly emotional story even with all that happened. At least not for me. It was what it was. Emily needed help. She wanted to survive and wanted justice. Did she get that? I like to think she did. There is going to be a sequel to this about her after it all ended. I think I would like to read it.

Thank you #NetGalley, #DorianBox, #FictionPress
3.5/5 stars. I recommend this one but be warned it's full of bad language.

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I volunteered to read this book, through netgalley in exchange, for an honest review. This book is well written and the characters are described well. The pacing of this story is good. This is the first book in this series. TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️ RAPE. I really enjoyed Emily and Lucas's characters. This book is good. I can't wait to read more books by this author in the future. This book has been in stores since June 15, 2020 for $12.99 (USD).

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Brave soul and main protagonist, Emily Calby, her mother, and younger sister were murdered in a heinous fashion while Emily narrowly escaped the crime scene alive. Not only does she have the grief and loss of her mother and sister to mourn—her father was killed in an industrial accident. The series of soul-crushing events orphaned Emily at the age of 12, and on her own living on the streets, perpetually on the run from the men who murdered her family. Survival, resourcefulness, and the help of others she met along the way helped her survive horrendous circumstances.

Throughout each chapter, the reader can easily follow the events that splintered Emily's young mind and how her life and personality altered. This book does provide a solid example of how badly traumatic events can change a child's mind, consciousness, personality, etc.

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I found this book to be exciting, suspenseful funny and sad all at the same time. The characters in this book are a bit zany but likable. Whoever thought your Fairy Godmother would come in the form of a large dark skinned man with a shaved head., This story is a bit on the dark side but once I started reading I couldn't put it down,

Emily's story starts out when she witnesses her family being murdered and then goes on the run to avoid being murdered. We meet several very interesting characters along the way. There is never a dull moment in this story..

I would recommend this book to any that likes suspense and excitement mixed with some humor and reality thrown in the mix.

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Emily is 12 years old and just been traumatized beyond belief. I don't think I would have been able to do what she did to avenge the murders and rapes of her mother and sister.

Emily meets Lucas under false pretensions as she told him she was a war time vet who lost an eye and the government won't let him have a drivers license. Lucas is in the business of making false identification papers.

Without giving anything else away, this is a story about love, loss, strength, perseverance and justice.

Like another reviewer, I am not sure about the premise of book 2. This book ended with a positive outcome and having Emily go through more turmoil in the next book doesn't seem right.

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Wow this was a unique book. Emily is not your normal 12 year old but she has had to become the person she is. The cast of characters she meets along the way are very interesting. Dark, and very well written with a good plot.
Many thanks to Friction Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was a great book with a lot of action from page one. Twelve year old Emily is the victim of a vicious home invasion where her mother and sister are killed and she manages to escape. Emily is SMART beyond her years. Almost a little too smart to believe, but it certainly keeps the story interesting! Emily goes from well-behaved child to lying thief toll survive. She manages to get around by herself mostly by lying to people to get stuff while she is hiding from the FBI who knows she is alive and want to protect her. She goes to get a fake id from an ex-gang dude in Memphis, and amazingly he feels sorry for her and takes her in. He (Lucas) is a great guy actually and his little sister was killed by gang members, so he feels the need to take care of Emily. He starts physically training her to take care of herself and she learns quickly. This book is full of twists and turns and it moves quickly! It held my interest and I could not put it down. Emily is a great lead character--funny, honest, real and just trying to survive on her own at the age of 12! looking forward to the next book in the series!

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Where to begin with this book? I liked this book a lot. The beginning was pretty horrible. 2 men broke into a home and raped and murder a mother and her youngest daughter. Luckily the older daughter escaped. There were a few times I thought it was all over for the main character, Emily. She was street smart and was able to take care of herself but the fact that she was so young made it very hard. Luckily she found someone to help her out. I loved the relationship between Emily and Lucas. It was so heartwarming and I love that they looked out for each other and although neither of them would readily admit it they loved each other. I was not prepared for several of the plot twists. I would recommend this book for sure!
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.

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I picked this thriller up on Netgalley; since I have such poor luck with the thrillers and suspense novels I’ve been getting from Amazon First Reads, expanding my horizons a bit seemed like a good idea. The Hiding Girl ended up being more successful than a lot of those reads, though it’s not without flaws. Emily Calby is 12 and living in rural Georgia with her mother and 8-year-old sister; her father has died in a work accident not long before the story begins. As the book opens, two men stop by their isolated home in a truck and ask for gas, and then attack the family. Emily’s mother and sister are killed, and she flees with a box of money her father kept hidden for emergencies. From there, this is sort of a play on “The Professional”, with a large, secretive black man named Lucas playing the Jean Reno role. There were times I was uncomfortable with this – Lucas speaks in dialect, which I didn’t love. (His girlfriend Kiona doesn’t though, which made me feel a bit better about it.) But some cringe aside, I really liked Emily and Lucas and their relationship, and I was absorbed in her drive to find the killers of her family. Emily’s not a realistic character, but she was a compelling one. This appears to be the first in a series and I may just try the second book when it comes out. B+.

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