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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favourite

In Hidden Danger by Kathleen Harryman, Rita Jackson is 16 years old and has been a killer for 8 years. She toys with her victims and revels in their fear, just as much as she enjoys her father's pleasure in witnessing each of her kills. To Rita, her victims and her weak-minded father are prey to stalk, play with and then kill. Their home at Crossroads Farm is remote and perfect for Rita, whom the police have named 'The Gas Man', to feed her addiction for death and misery. She has captured 40 people and, one by one, plans to watch them slowly die. As their screams go unheard, Crossroads Farm will be the resting place for 37 victims. Only three people will walk out of Crossroads Farm alive. Will Rita be one of them? Can she once more outwit the police and continue her killing spree?

Hidden Danger by Kathleen Harryman is such a captivating psychological thriller that will draw you into the warped mindset of Rita immediately. I thought the technique of writing in the first person was a brilliant touch, as it gave you an insight into the mind of serial killer Rita. The detailed way the story examines different human behaviors when faced with their impending death is spine-chilling. The scenes where Rita toys with her victim's minds and revels in their terror were totally riveting. The descriptive narrative, along with the excellent dialogue of each character, really exposed the weaknesses and strengths of the human psyche. I wanted to sympathize with Rita because I needed to rationalize her deranged mind. I found the relationship with her father disturbing and wanted to blame him for Rita becoming a killer. The story really brings into question the nature or nurture argument. There are amazing areas of conflict throughout and the twists in the plot were faultless. Will there be a sequel? I hope so.


Rita Jackson is sixteen years old. And she’s a serial killer.
Writing in the first person, Kathleen Harryman catapults the reader into the mind of a psychopath, one whose youth offers camouflage to the external world of her darker motivations.
This a gripping tale which lays bare the nature vs nurture argument. Harryman’s prose is deceptively simple, and thus her protagonist’s thoughts and desires are made transparent to the reader. Hence, it’s not an easy read – especially Rita’s references to her relationship with her father and the descriptions of the kills – but it is a compelling one.
And, of course, there are twists.
“If I were you, I’d stop listening to the psychologists and question your social expectations.”
The Gas Man cometh.

Just wow! You really don't want to come across Rita Jackson. She is a serial killer who enjoys watching her victims die.
This is an excellent book challenging all our preconceptions about killers and is brilliantly researched which comes out in the writing.
Even though I couldn't empathise with the character I was enthralled. This is how good it is, despite the harrowing story, I still want to know what happens next. And next time I am on the A64 I will be wondering where the farm and buildings are.....


This is a fictional story of a 16-year-old serial killer. As interesting as the concept was, I found myself nearly closing the book before the end of the first chapter. The main character (Rita) spent so much of the first chapter bragging about how the police would never catch her, that I found myself rooting for her to be caught or killed from the start.
What made the story intriguing enough to go on was the fact that her father helped her in her crimes because of his own morbid fascination with killing.
I'm glad I continued on with the story though because it was a definite attention keeper. Rita has a plan, but only hints at parts of it. Throughout the rest of the story, I found myself doubting if things were still going according to plan or if her father had gone off the rails.
The most interesting part about this story and what ties it all together is the relationship between father and daughter. Albeit a sick and twisted relationship where the two don't exactly bond but have a mutual understanding of their symbiotic need for each other.
I also found it intriguing when Ms. Harryman added facts about real-life serial killers told from Rita's perspective as if she were comparing herself to her competition.
I came out of this book with a grudging respect for the lengths Rita would go to in order to feel the emotions of her victims.
The first person perspective puts you right in the head of the killer. You experience her thoughts as she does. This does not make for many warm, fuzzy feelings. This book is not for the kids or the faint of heart. Even though I don't remember an excessive amount of gore, the systematic and ruthless way of building the victims' hopes up only to see them come crashing down over and over, was brutal.
What tied this novel together for me was the last few pages. I will be first in line to purchase the sequel when it comes out.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes to read about serial killers. 

In no way would you want to elicit the attention of Rita Jackson – a psychopath, whose profile doesn’t fit neatly into that of the stereotypical serial killer. It’s a different take on what we’ve come to expect from stories of this nature and is what makes Kathleen Harryman’s presentation so unique.
Hidden Danger is a chilling tale that takes us straight into the heart and mind of 16 year old Rita, whose urge to kill was awakened at the tender age of eight; the monster that resides within becoming insatiable. Told in the first person, the protagonist makes no apologies for her demented crimes or makes any attempt to justify them. There is no background of abuse or plausible excuse to account for her state of mind, its absence provoking some uncomfortable thoughts about how and why such evil exists. Only much later in the book are we fed clues, albeit subtle at first, as to what lies deeper within the killer’s rationale and is the key to her motivation. 
I imagine most people’s fascination with the serial killer is a desire for understanding and, though the author doesn’t have all the answers, it’s an interesting study of the darkest side of human nature. She has obviously researched the subject well and knows her stuff.
Written in an easy-flowing style, Ms Harryman certainly knows how to focus the reader’s attention, making it impossible to leave the book alone for long as the unexpected twists keep on coming. I enjoy her books immensely, knowing they will keep me engrossed from the word go and that my interest won’t flag. A must buy for all avid readers of the crime genre and deserving of 5 stars.


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