Epeolatry Book Review: Shadow of the Hidden by Kev Harrison


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Title: Shadow of the Hidden
Author: Kev Harrison
Publisher: Brigids Gate Press
Genre: Horror/Occult Horror
Release Date: 19th March, 2024

Synopsis: It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey, but his friend Oz has been cursed. Superstition turns to terror as the effects of the ancient malediction spill over and the lives of Oz and his family hang in the balance. Can Seb find the answers to remove the hex before it’s too late?

From Kev Harrison, author of The Balance and Below, journey with Seb, Oz and Deniz across ancient North African cities as they seek to banish the Shadow of the Hidden.


In my teens and twenties, I loved to travel. Exploring another country’s culture was an amazing experience, and it remains a fascinating subject for me even though I can’t travel as much. So, it was a delight to pick up Kev Harrison’s Shadow of the Hidden. Harrison has written other works of horror and he has a firm voice in the horror community. Luckily for me, I met him at this year’s UK Ghost Story Festival and we attended some workshops together. He is a genuinely kind person, and I’m sure he’ll forgive me (I hope) for admitting that this is the first time I’ve read any of his work. As it is my first ‘Harrison Horror’, I had high expectations for Shadow of the Hidden. His story was a spine-chilling adventure that delivered every expectation and more.

Shadow of the Hidden is told from the perspective of Seb, who witnesses his friend Oz being cursed. Like many people, Seb responds with an initial shock, but then dismisses it, while Oz trembles. Seb returns home to the UK, but when Oz snaps and sends disturbing pictures of livestock killings, things escalate and Seb realises the curse is alive, summoning a dark entity to terrorise Oz and his family. It is a race against time across Turkey, Egypt and other countries as Seb, Oz, and Professor Deniz must vanquish this supernatural being, the Djinn, and break the curse.

The friendship between Seb and Oz was beautiful. Seb went above and beyond, using his contacts to chase down leads and risking his life to protect his friend. His loyalty and devotion was commendable, and as part of the thrill of the adventure genre, Seb was knowledgeable. However, rather than being portrayed as the Indiana Jones who has all the answers, it was nice to connect with him as he made mistakes and admitted when he didn’t know what to do next.

Oz was a loveable character who I bonded with over our fondness for food. He reminded me of Pippin from Lord of the Rings, a sweet man asking not just for his second breakfast, but for his third and fourth. It is easy to forget that his horrible attitude towards a widow is the reason he and his family become cursed. Harrison never explored whether Oz deserved to be cursed, and I liked that. 

As for the character Professor Deniz, who was called upon as the first expert who could help them identify the roots of the curse, she was a strong independent woman, sassy and reliable who seemed to have all the answers. Like a Dan Brown novel, Seb and Professor Deniz form a connection, and when Oz strikes out on his own, unwilling to put his friends at further risk, the pair join forces and bond more.

The characters were strong and realistic, but it was the settings that made a lasting impression. Each location dove into culture with its languages, food, religions, superstitions, daily routines, climates, and dangers. It was like a sensory swarm while being informative. The adventure felt authentic, while maintaining the djinn’s threat that builds steadily in the background. 

The djinn is a monster visited in the horror genre, though scarcely. I’d like to see more about these supernatural wicked immortals. They need to be reclaimed from wishing lamps and three-wish fantasy tropes. They are an ancient threat that Harrison explored from a historical and archaeological viewpoint. It’s only at the end of Shadow of the Hidden when the djinn fully appears, which gave the ending a heart-pounding climax.

Shadow of the Hidden is like dark magic—it’s bewitching, gripping, and enthralling. Readers need to be aware that once you begin reading, you won’t stop. Harrison conveys a complicated exploration of culture effortlessly. It was easy to detect his passion for travel which then fuelled my frenzy to continue on this wild, dangerous, and tense path. Shadow of the Hidden concluded on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ll be waiting, Harrison.


Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

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