I have a lot of cousins. Dozens upon dozens of cousins. And growing up all I did was play outside with these cousins, sunrise to sunset.
The adult(s) overseeing us would sit on the porch chatting, napping, drinking, telling us to stop hitting one another
We played a variety of games.
Mother May I, Kick Ball, House, Tag, Hide and Seek. Yeah, you see where I’m going with this. I don’t really remember any rigid rules regarding Hide and Seek besides there being a Seeker who closes their eyes counts to a number and tries to find those who hide.
They could be anywhere. Hidden in the shadows, tucked away in some clouds, eaten by a wandering bear. You get the gist.
When Zee came back he came back wrong.
It was obvious to all of them even though they didn’t want to say it.
He had been missing for 404 days and now he was back and he was wrong and everything should have been great but it wasn’t.
When Justin and Nia arrive at Zee’s house for his welcome back party they realize that something is horrible amiss. Zee is not only a physical mess but is emotionally damaged as well. He speaks in thick harsh riddles and during a seemingly harmless game of hide and seek he melts down and has to be collected and restrained by his mother. He offers his group of friends a strange warning at their departure and that is when they realize how dire everything truly is.
That is when they all begin to go missing one by one into Nowhere. Into the nightmare world of the Seeker.
Can I just…shriek in delight for a moment here?
As a black woman who grew up as a black girl obsessed with horror stories you have no idea how absolutely delighted I was to read a
BLACK HORROR STORY WITH BLACK CHARACTERS WRITTEN BY A BLACK WOMAN
THIS. WAS. EVERYTHING.
THIS. IS. EVERYTHING.
It’s scary, it’s sad, it’s complex, it’s moving, it makes you think and it makes you want more.
Daka Hermon sets the scene, the fears, the characters perfectly and spins an innocent game of hide and seek into something otherworldly and sinister. Haven’t we all played that terrifying game of hide and seek? Hidden somewhere sketchy and thought well I am not getting out of this or gotten lost while trying to find the others.
It’s absolutely brilliant.
And among the horror Daka Hermon laces in another terrifying emotion- loss.
The protagonist has just lost his mother and his wounds are deep and they ache. We feel it along with each panic attack he has.
Along with Justin we are introduced to an array of characters. There’s Nia who is an encyclopedia of facts, Lyric, Carla and her younger brother Quincy, Shae, and of course Zee. I stress this with each review but again representation is so important and the fact that the main and majority characters are black is so so important.
Hide and Seeker doesn’t seem as though it’s a stand alone book and from the ending I don’t believe it is and I’m happy about that. I’m greatly looking forward to reading more from the author and if there is to be a series I’m looking forward to being further traumatized by my childhood.