The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis

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The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Megan Kenny
Reviewed by Megan Kenny
Summary: The Hidden Keys is an intriguing, thought-provoking take on the adventure yarn. Filled with mystery, vivid characters and enough twists and turns to keep you up all night, this is a story you won't forget in a hurry.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: August 2017
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
ISBN: 978-1781258422

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Tancred Palmieri is a talented thief thrown into the path of Willow Azarian an eccentric, unpredictable heroin addict. She is also part of the Azarian dynasty, bequeathed almost a million dollars upon her father's death. Each of the Azarian children were also gifted a deeply personal memento mori, which Willow is convinced make up an intricate treasure hunt. She enlists the help of Tancred to steal each item, solve the mystery and prove she is not blindly following a baseless fantasy. Tancred must use all his skills to infiltrate the homes of each of Willow's siblings, uncover the clues hidden in each item and fight off the rival interests of competing criminals and the police.

Whilst The Hidden Keys has, on the surface, all the makings of an adventure novel, at its heart it is a deeply satisfying noir tale of violence, greed, crime and intrigue. The characters are wholly, humanly flawed and the story, whilst interesting and captivating, is real enough to be believable. It is easy to get lost in the journey of Tancred and Willow and the need to solve the mystery of the Azarian patriarch's motives; an obsession for Willow and a matter of pride for Tancred, will become a journey of mind bending delight for the reader. This is by no means an easy ‘whodunnit', there are enough twists and turns to keep even the most competent armchair detective happy and the gritty undertone of poverty, crime and violence adds another layer to the story, providing an interesting frisson of hardboiled noir to what could easily have been a twee adventure tale.

Alexis was inspired by Treasure Island and this does ring true throughout the story, with Tancred's journey beset by villains and obstacles of varying complexity, all in the pursuit of a mysterious and potentially unachievable goal. He is surrounded by complex, interesting characters, some loveable and likeable, others repugnant and unsavoury. Alexis masterfully wields the moral compass of his characters with ease, this is particularly true with Tancred. Whilst he is a thief, he is an honourable one and demonstrates unflinching loyalty in the face of great personal cost. This uneasy dichotomy expertly wielded by Alexis allows the reader to explore their own judgements and beliefs, to challenge the notion that life is black and white and people are right or wrong. This complex state of grey adds an innovative stratum to Alexis' tale and ensures The Hidden Keys remains with the reader long after the final page is turned.

The Hidden Keys is a triumph; Alexis has produced a compassionate, beautiful mystery filled with captivating characters, oodles of clandestine exploits and a fast-paced enigmatic tale which is easily devoured. The obvious intelligence and agility of Alexis shines through, I was filled with admiration at the ingenious plot twists and turns and was charmed and entranced by the succinct and satisfying conclusion. If you like your mysteries sharp, your plots enthralling and your characters relatable, challenging and charismatic then The Hidden Keys is the story for you.

For those interested in more adventure, mystery and intrigue you could try Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion.

Buy The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis at Amazon.com.


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