Hiding in Third Person

Hiding in Third Person


Fiction - Action
260 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Phil Bradley is retired from the Air Force and currently teaching in North Carolina. He was inspired to write his first novel after visiting the BOMARC site in Central New Jersey. BOMARC was the site of a plutnonium spill decades ago and still remains somewhat controversial locally.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Hiding in Third Person by Phil Bradley follows the story of Ricky, an orderly at the Cumberland County Asylum for the Mentally Ill. When Ricky is asked to listen to the story of a patient, he's drawn into a tale of friendship, fear, survival, and new beginnings. The patient referred to as Mr. River shares the story of two runaway boys, Malachi and Doc, who must rely on each other to thwart a killer known as the Finder. Taking refuge in an abandoned military base, BOMARC, the boys develop a plan as police officers form a search party to find them before it's too late. The asylum doctors decide that Mr. River is a hopeless case and plan to transfer him to a remote institution, on the basis that he has yet to improve and a lot of the characters in his story don't exist. However, Ricky knows this story is true and is determined to prove it.

Hiding in Third Person is an emotional tale of two unlikely friends that will capture the heart, with action, friendship, and mystery. Friendship is at the heart of the story, with Ricky forming an attachment to Mr. River through the tale of Malachi and Doc. As Ricky listens to the story, he grows as a character, becoming more sympathetic and compelling. Phil Bradley keeps you guessing as to whether Mr. River's story really happened until the very end, with the answer revealed in an endearing twist. Both Malachi in the story and Ricky go out of their way to help a stranger; both are underestimated heroes that are strong in their own ways. Compelling and honest, Hiding in Third Person is a heartwarming gem that's riveting, intriguing, and surprising. A definite must-read that you won't want to put down!

Rabia Tanveer

Hiding in Third Person by Phil Bradley is the story of a man and two young boys who have no connection with each other, but their destinies are intertwined. The story follows a man named Mr. River, who is a patient in a mental asylum, and two young boys from very different backgrounds. Mr. River has a story to tell and it is very hard to believe. Mr. River tells the story of two boys who are hiding in a military installation facility from a killer who will not quit until he has the boys. No one believes him, except Ricky. But what can an orderly do about this situation?

Far away, the boys from Mr. River’s stories are fighting for their lives. The boys had no connection, but they meet in New Jersey and they band together because they have the same goal: survival. Together, they hide at the abandoned military installation facility to save their lives. However, unbeknownst to them, danger is closing in on them. The assassin after them is closer and only Mr. River and his story can save them. Will anyone believe him? Can Ricky do something to save these young boys in time?

Action packed, fast paced and full of surprises, Hiding in Third Person was a refreshing and simply marvelous novel to read. I loved the theme of suspense and mystery. Excitement was zipping through my veins from the moment I started reading and, within reading 20 pages, I was fully invested in the story. The story was perfectly built, the characters were very enigmatic, especially Mr. River. Phil Bradley did an amazing job at creating this suspenseful and intriguing story. Intense and really well-constructed!

Jack Magnus

Hiding in Third Person is a psychological thriller written by Phil Bradley. Cumberland County Asylum for the Mentally Ill houses a number of patients, each of whom has a story to tell. Ricky’s heard a lot of those stories. Patients seem to like to share them with anyone who will listen, but they especially enjoy sharing them with Ricky. He likes the break from his normal orderly duties, and the doctors think he’s actually helping their patients, so it’s become an unofficial part of his job, even if his supervisor huffs and grumbles about it. One particular patient stood out for Ricky, however, if only because it was Dr. Benitez who asked him to hear his story. Ricky had a thing for the leggy Latina intern, even if he realized that, being only an orderly, he was way out of her league. But there was something special about the story that Mr. River told him. River’s arms, hands and face were scarred and burned, and he was strapped into his wheelchair whenever he was outside of his room -- indicating he was a flight risk. From what Ricky was able to find out, Mr. River and he were about the same age -- in their early twenties -- and the story he told took place about five years ago. Ricky was able to confirm that by referencing news items from that time.

Mr. River’s story was about a boy named Malachi who lived near the New Jersey Pine Barrens with his Aunt Lenore and Uncle John. His mother had abandoned him when he was quite small, and his father followed suit soon after. Lenore and John saw in their nephew the child they had never had, even if they realized he had some problems. His stuttering and limited social skills made him the target of other children in high school. While he loved his aunt and uncle, Malachi felt compelled to run away after he hit one of his tormentors with the flat end of a shovel. He instinctively ran to the Pine Barrens, to the BOMARC installations built in the mid-twentieth century to house nuclear warheads that were pointed toward the Soviet Union. He had been there many times before with his uncle, who cared for the grounds under contract with the government. Malachi felt at home in the outdoors as he never could in social settings; he was in control out there, a skilled survivor, and he was prepared to live out there indefinitely. Then, a friend came into his life, needing his protection against an evil and terrifying devil of a man. Malachi would care for and protect that friend. It’s what he did.

Phil Bradley’s psychological adventure thriller, Hiding in Third Person, is a brilliant and outstanding debut novel. The author grabbed my attention and didn’t let go until I had finished the last page. I’ve always had an interest in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, and the setting of this book had initially stirred my interest. I loved every minute I spent alongside Malachi as he interacted with the living creatures he encounters and explored what would be his home for the near future. But as fascinating and enthralling as Malachi’s story is, there’s so much else also going on in this tale. There’s the relationship of Ricky, the asylum attendant, and Dr. Benitez, and the ongoing search efforts of the police of Ocean County to find the missing teen. That search, combined with a larger effort to locate two missing Honduran boys who were working with a police officer to bring down gangs in Philly is a dynamic counterpoint to Malachi’s wilderness adventure. Bradley’s characters are larger than life and his story works as a coming of age tale, a psychological thriller and a first-rate police procedural as Detectives Aldo Perito and Ragoozo work with Officer Beatty to find the missing boys. Hiding in Third Person is one of those rare books worth shouting about; it’s a riveting, original and action-packed read that has weight and literary presence. It’s an astonishingly accomplished debut novel that is most highly recommended.