Hush Hush: Harriet Blue vs Prison and an unexpected case

Hush Hush book review

What is this about?: Harriet Blue is in prison when the man who was determined to put her there comes looking for her help to find his daughter and his grandkid. Woods is at the end of his tether and will do anything to find his family — including enlisting Harry’s help.

What else is this about?: Hush Hush gives Tox and Whitt, Harry’s partners in crime (or cops) much more depth this time around, which contrasted with Harry’s decisions and honestly, left me frustrated with her.

Blurb

Harriet Blue used to be a detective. Now she’s inmate 3329.

Prison is a dangerous place for a former cop – as Harriet Blue is learning on a daily basis.

So, following a fight for her life and a prison-wide lockdown, the last person she wants to see is Deputy Police Commissioner Joe Woods. The man who put her inside.

But Woods is not there to gloat. His daughter Tonya and her two-year-old child have gone missing.

He’s ready to offer Harriet a deal: find his family to buy her freedom…

When we meet Harry in Hush Hush, it’s months into her prison sentence, and about to enter into another fight in prison.

As Harry is in gen pop, it’s become a common occurrence and there’s almost an air of boredom about her as she prepares for it. Her cellmate, Dolly, is her friend and is as irritated that Harry is going to get into another fight and end up in solitary — Dolly hates the dark, and I got the sense that Harry is her anchor in prison. Dolly may not be the most intelligent person Harry has ever encountered, but they’re as close to friends for both of them.

When Woods comes knocking for her help, right at the time Dolly is accused of killing the prison doctor, Harry can’t let prison go because she knows Dolly just isn’t capable of murder.

So Hush Hush is about two cases

Woods is bereft at his missing daughter, Tonya, and grand-daughter, Rebel, so when he comes to Harry, you know that he has no other choice. He expects her to work the case with the cops currently on it, but Harry, Tox and Whitt do their own thing — much to his anger.

Together, these three musketeers find out where Tonya was really staying, and about an affair with a defence lawyer that no one else knew about. From there, the case grows in unexpected directions, growing steadily much bigger and involving bikies, the drug trade and blackmail.

Now, Dolly. Harry is released into Pops’s custody and it is through his contacts that Harry begins to investigate just what happened to Doctor Goldman and how Dolly got dragged into it. This storyline gives us a different view into all the characters at the beginning of the book, namely the guards that made Harry’s life hell.

But it would be too easy for the guards to be behind this murder. Yeah, it gets better…

There’s a lot going on in Hush Hush but this is why it works 

Not sure how co-authoring a book like this goes, but the writing here is economical, fast-paced — and all this is aided by the fear that the longer Tonya and Rebel are missing, the less likely it is they’re going to be found alive. So there is a countdown clock attached to this case.

It’s also aided by the characters in the book — none of whom have time for waffle and bullshit.

Throw in short and sharp chapters, and you have a book I finished in a day because I could not put it down.

Characterisation

Surprisingly, it’s Tox, the usually silent and deadly partner that has the most emotional growth in this book. Hush Hush gives him an unexpected love interest, and doesn’t detract from the tension and the fast-paced nature of the case he’s working on.

This side of Tox is illuminating and welcome in a series that has been so Harry- and case-focused. I want to know what else there is to Tox, his past and now his future.

However, Harry isn’t as lucky.

By the nature of the series, we’ve learned about her as cases progress, through her interactions with Pops, her partners and her colleagues. Her focus has always been her brother’s innocence and finding his killer, and now without any of that, Harry is entering a new part of her life.

And that includes something and someone for herself.

But, there’s nothing new to it. I could tell well from the end of the book, she was never going to allow herself anything good. She would prefer to wallow and be miserable because apparently that’s all she believes of herself.

These are the times that I think keeping characters apart for romantic tension is far easier than actually allowing them to have a relationship or a romantic interest. It bores me, especially in books and a series like this.

Here’s why: these are complex characters with baggage like you would not believe. Working with all that and past is 100 times more interesting than having Harry just not want to try.

Granted, she’s Harry and just got out of prison, but, I can’t deny it was a disappointing and all-too-familiar trope-y note on which to end this instalment.

I think without her brother, without that hanging over her, Harry doesn’t know what to do with herself. I chose to think of Hush Hush as the full stop at the end of one part of Harry’s story, and whatever happens next is going to mean change for Harry.

Hopefully. 

6 Comments

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I haven’t read any in this series, but this one sounds good!

  • A good review, Whitt’s declaration was to be expected I think, as was Harry’s refusal. I’m hoping there is more to the series because I also want to see how she moves forward.

    • Verushka says:

      I think I was just ready for someone to do something new in situations like this — I didn’t want it to be expected, I guess? But I was hanging on every word of what was happening to Tox.

  • This sounds like a pretty solid read, even though I’m sure I’d feel the same way you did about the way it ends. I have mixed success with Patterson’s books but have never read one that had a co-author so you have me very curious to try this one and see if I prefer it to his solo efforts.

    • Verushka says:

      It is pretty solid yeah, though I had adored the others in this series more. And I hear you — I mostly read his co-author works rather than his own ones.

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