Ugly Things We Hide by M. Ocampo McIvor


“We all bend the truth from time to time.” 

Enigmatic Hawaiian surfer, Daniel, seems just within reach of a better life, but he is locked in a pattern of self-sabotage — why? 

Restless with his life in Oahu, he moves to the mainland and delves into the shadowy world of the filthy rich, catering to their whims for money. But his cool, smart, and practical exterior starts to crumble under the weight of his clients’ ugly secrets, though he is most wounded by his own secret shame.


Daniel is a bit of a mess but does so with flare and ease. He is easy to relate to on some regards and draws the reader in with this deep thoughts and restlessness. Although I would say he is pulled along through life it doesn’t feel contrived – in fact it feels quite natural that he should wander. From his sweet Auntie to his brother Noah to Frank his friend and Jackie his “friend” this host of supporting characters is varied and colorful. All I can say is, awe Phoebe.


I was surprised by this book. The concept seemed interesting but I didn’t know where the author was going. Even though you knew from chapter one where Dan ends up and what happens to him, the journey mattered more. Although I suspected some aspects of the book I was surprised by how it was presented. The beautiful prose scarred by ugly truths. Absolutely stunning and shocking.


Just wow! I was absolutely floored by this book. After a slow start I was just sucked in. Phoebe was such a star in his life but she burned out because of his choices. I don’t want to give anything away but I just couldn’t put this book down – I had to know the ending. Which left me both unsatisfied and wanting more in many regards. It does seem like there is going to be a second book – so there’s that.

The writing was flowing although a little lengthy (almost unnecessarily in some regards) but didn’t distract from the power behind the book. This hit me square in the chest because of the complexity of humanity striped bare and shown in its beauty and horror. I’ll be honest that I didn’t really like the cover but after reading the book even the cover made sense and should be changed. Overall – a resounding yes!


5 stars

This book will not go the way you expect – even getting a glimpse of the beginning. The authors subtlety and painful realism will leave you reeling. Well worth the time!


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