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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Hidden Intentions by Alan Brenham is a suspense novel that follows an eighth-grade girl after a hazing ritual goes terribly wrong. Cailey Marshall isn't exactly thrilled that her entry into an exclusive 'club' requires her to trespass in the abandoned old Pierce home after dark, but collecting an item they'd hidden on the property is a price she's willing to pay to level up with the popular crowd. It's a trap. Kidnapped and whisked away for ransom, the deadly terms are conveyed to Cailey's parents. A personal score has ensnared the innocent members of the Marshall family, and while her parents maneuver through alternate methods, Cailey reveals a tenacity and grit she didn't know she had.
Alan Brenham voices several first-person point of view characters in Hidden Intentions, allowing for a variety of perspectives as the plot navigates through Cailey's kidnapping. A family dynamic kicks into play that involves multiple individuals within Cailey's sphere. I appreciated that Cailey and her mother Erin are the most powerful in their independent approaches to achieving Cailey's freedom, displaying acumen under intense pressure that the men involved simply lack and that buck the usual tropes of a helpless daughter and a mother incapacitated by distress. The book is written simply which, on occasion, felt slightly more juvenile than I prefer but, overall, the plot is strong enough to carry a storyline with more substance than style, and in this case, the balance tilt works in its favor. Recommended.