At last Kate spotted a sign proclaiming Deacon House to the world and swung her car into the entrance. She paused, a frisson of excitement running through her; all her professional life she had heard stories about this place and now her curiosity knew no bounds. However, between the black gates and massive granite walls Kate could see little beyond a glimpse of white driveway and overhanging branches. Her initial impression was of isolation, even secrecy, and overall was not encouraging. She had been invited there, however, and rolled down her window and pressed the intercom button mounted on a low post.
A crackling, metallic voice responded, ‘Deacon House, how can I help you?’
No mention of its full title, thought Kate with a touch of amusement, nor its present function. ‘My name is Kate Bennett. I have an appointment with…er, the director.’
She was hoping for a clue as to who her mysterious host was but was destined to be disappointed as, after a moment’s hesitation, the voice replied, ‘Yes, you’re expected, Dr. Bennett. Please wait until the gates are fully open, then follow the driveway up to the house.’
Before she could reply the heavy gates began to swing open, making a suitably eerie creaking noise as they did so. Wondering what effect this would have on the more nervous night-time visitors, Kate put her car in gear and rolled forward, crunching slowly onto the spotless gravel drive. Behind the high stone wall the grounds were extensive and well tended, though the immense chestnut trees lining the driveway created a slightly gloomy atmosphere in the dull autumnal light. The driveway itself was almost long enough to be considered a private road, causing her to wonder just how large the place was; these were not just grounds, this was a park. Large as it was, however, as she rounded the very next bend she was afforded her first glimpse of the old house through a gap in the trees.
Deacon House Rest Home -far better than Insane Asylum!- had been the country seat of an Irish nobleman, and although now reduced from its former glory it still retained something of its old air of grandeur. It was built of large gray granite blocks but in the watery sunshine the old stone looked warm and inviting rather than forbidding. And the flight of stone steps that led up to the immense double-doors, flanked by high pillars, lent the mansion a graceful air in spite of its massive dimensions. The house was at pleasant variance with the forbidding outer wall and gate, and was a far cry from the grim Bedlam of public fancy. Some of the glittering windows were encased by iron bars, true, but nonetheless Kate could almost see the graceful carriages rolling up and the pink of society alighting in their finery for a ball. Almost see it. Because, beautiful though it was, and imposing, Deacon House was now an insane asylum, and no coy phrases like Rest Home could alter that cold fact.
Why has a beautiful young woman been committed to an insane asylum? What is the truth behind a shadowy past containing drug use, promiscuity and murder? What secrets does she hold that others will kill to keep HIDDEN? These are questions that psychologist Kate Bennett must answer if she is to save her patient’s sanity…and both their lives. But Kate has secrets of her own, and a dark past of her own that will come back to haunt her.
HIDDEN is a thriller, set in Dublin, but it is also a voyage of self-discovery for Kate, as she uncovers not just the truth about her patient but some truths about herself.
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Genre - Mystery, Thriller
Rating – PG-18
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