Thursday 23 November 2023

What I Hid From You by Heleen Kist #WhatIHidFromYou @hkist #BookReview


After the death of a patient in her care, Radha begins taking Valium to control her anxiety.

She tells herself she’s fine, but as the pressures of being a perfect wife, mother and daughter mount, her little habit spirals into addiction.

When she’s forced to find a new source of pills, she stumbles into the blackmailing clutches of Glasgow’s underworld.

A mistake that could cost her everything.

They give her an impossible choice: face personal and professional ruin or have blood on her hands by helping them deal.

As she fights to protect all she holds dear, can she protect herself?

A gripping and emotional suspense novel about a woman who risks it all to juggle it all.

What I Hid From You by Heleen Kist was published in June 2022. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review. 

This is one of those thrillers that you settle down with, and a couple of hours later you are still hooked. I read this on holiday, and it was the perfect choice for a bit of escapism, with a lot of tension whilst enjoying the luxury of being able to read for hours in the sun. 

I don't think I've ever read a thriller where the lead character is a dentist, it's certainly something a little different and Radha is certainly that. She's Indian heritage, living and brought up in Scotland, married to her business partner and watched constantly by her elderly father Gunbir. The practice that Radha and her husband Arjun own and manage was passed on to her by Gunbir, and he finds it hard to let go. 

Radha and Arjun have one son who attends an exclusive school locally.  Radha seems to take on the weight of the world whilst Arjun floats around, performing cosmetic procedures on his private wealthy patients. Radha treats ordinary, everyday people, she also has to ensure that Gunbir is OK, that her son is doing what is supposed to and be part of the glamour wife and mother set too. She's also battling a secret addiction to prescription painkillers. 

An elderly woman died in Radha's chair and whilst the investigation into the incident has shown that she wasn't to blame, she cannot bear the flashbacks and the feelings of guilt. Forging the odd prescription for Valium seems to be the answer. Every time she does it, she tells herself that it's the last time ....

Eventually Radha realises that she can no longer risk the reputation of the surgery and turns to the dark web to order more drugs. She feels dirty and ashamed, but feels absolute terror when she realises that these are not some anonymous dealers from far away. No, this gang know her, they know her family and they hold a grudge. Radha has no idea about the history between the dealers and her own father, but it's really not nice and now they are all in danger.

This novel is cleverly structured. We hear the point of view of both Radha and Gunbir throughout and this ties together the present day, and the historical events so very well. I enjoyed the author's insight into the world of a woman of colour, in business and also in motherhood. Radha tries her very best but is constantly exhausted by the effort of just being herself. 

The tension increases towards the latter quarter of the book and all of the streams of the story are woven together well to create a revelatory ending.  This is great crime fiction, populated with some fabulously drawn characters in a setting that is away from the norm. Recommended by me. 

Heleen Kist is a Dutch, formerly globetrotting career woman who fell in love with a Scotsman and his country, and now writes about its people from her garden office in Glasgow. 

She was chosen as an up-and-coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. 

Her novels have been finalists in a range of awards, both in the UK and USA. 

She yearns to one day 'be the bride'. 

Heleen hopes you enjoy her writing and would love to hear from you on twitter (@hkist), Faceboook (@heleenkistauthor) or Goodreads. You can also sign up to her newsletter on

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