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The Hidden Track


English language web series 2019

Full English translation available

Fans of The Girl on the Train will devour this absorbing mystery fuelled by guitar riffs and famous Glastonbury mud. With an atmosphere of growing unease, a gloomy setting in stagnant suburban England, and confronting overlapping stories of the unreliable narrators and its delusive plot’s twists, The Hidden Track enters the brazen world of modern rock-n-roll from backstage, welcoming its bedazzled readers to explore the nature of blood ties, talent, fandom, and betrayal.

Twenty-one-year-old Nika Lukina is a foreign exchange student in London. She’s bright and bubbly and has everything all figured out... or at least she’s faking it really well. Nika has a secret. When she was thirteen, her be- loved older sister Jenya went missing in a small town in the Midlands. The only thing that Nika has left of Jen is her collection of iconic indie rock albums. Those bands shaped Nika’s personality and her perception of beauty, love, life, and her own self.

She tries not to think about what happened until one day, just before the Easter break at unil the past catches up with her in a terribly gruesome way, leaving Nika no choice but to find out what really happened to her sister. Nika posts a blurred video from Glastonbury’07 on her Facebook page in hope that someone might recognize her sister’s face. After she receives a quick response from a woman who claims to have been Jen’s best friend, Nika takes a train to Notown, the town where her sister lived.

With its abandoned factory buildings turned into lofts, dusty for sale signs on display, and a growing sense of desperation in the air, Notown is a disturbing place to be. The only valuable thing that Nika gains from the meeting with her sister’s friend is a shoebox full of Jen’s stuff, with an old iPod, among other things. Nika is about to leave the town for good when she receives another message from someone who knew her sister. Nika decides to stay for just one night and rents a room above the old live music pub where her sister worked as a bartender.

The more people she meets and the more questions she asks, the clearer the image of her sister becomes. And Jen wasn’t the person Nika always thought her to be.

Jen used to hang out with a local indie rock band called The Red Room. In fact, she dated the lead singer, a sweet and tender hooligan named Chris. A local legend, Chris was meant to become the next Jagger, but he fell out with his best friend, the songwriter and lead guitarist Marc, and quit the band on the same night that Jen went missing.

Nika soon realizes that the band’s history is deeply entangled with her sister’s disappearance and the only way to discover the truth would be to break into the upcoming Glastonbury Festival, which the The Red Room are headlining.

Haunted by the songs on Jen’s iPod and the ghosts of the ‘good old days’ that everyone in Notown seems to be reminiscing about, Nika sets off on a journey that is far more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

Written as a sequence of Facebook messages that the protagonist exchanges with her sister, the investigation propels itself through the stagnant streets of the suburban Midlands to the heart of England’s brazen modern rock-n-roll scene. With her hope for a reply vanishing, Nika keeps telling her missing sibling about the course of the investigation, the people she meets, and the songs she listens to along the way.


...[The Hidden Track] is at once a captivating exploration of the call of blood, of an audacious rock-n-roll scene, the unembellished basement world of suburban England, and the modern.

— Pavel Rudnev, Chekhov Moscow Art Theater

The genre of the novel is mixed in just the right way: part mystery investigation with a sibling looking for a missing sister as an amateurish detective; part personal journal; part excursion into the backstage world of show business and indie music... This is also a story about a common British life, interesting for its narrator’s perspective – it is told not by a suburban dude, but by a stranger.

You feel a certain doubt when you pick up an un- known writer’s book about the mystery investigation of a girl in England. Half a day later, after reading the novel all at once, you’re in pure shock: what happened? By page 70 the book is —just like the subway at peak hour — full of rock stars, drug addicts, and suicides. This is a very English mystery: not in the sense of I-am-cool-I-hung-out-in-London English, but the details, the plot line, and the suspenseful mystery with cheese-like holes, are all spiced with British irony. Written in the musical tradition of Nick Hornby and a girl who may not have a dragon tattoo but has an iPod.

The Hidden Track has everything to grab a teenager’s attention: music, lots of music and musicians, reckless hanging out, spontaneous pennyless trips, finding new bright acquaintances and experiences, major music festivals, and a personal, carefully hidden, pain. There’s also suspense that grips until the last page. And, of course, love that’s possible only at the age of seventeen – wrong, and depriving you of will and mind, but a million times bigger than yourself. This novel is up-to-date, action-packed, and cool.

The novel reads in a flash and is the ideal recipe for those who spend much time on social networks, want to explore life to the fullest, and know who The Libertines are.

A novel that genuinely surprises and excites. A rocketing, modern, gripping text that competes on a level with international bestsellers. True descriptions, free of clichés, brilliant dialogue, lively characters, language that neither shocks with an overdose of youth jargon nor locks itself into dull literary embellishments. An ingenious writer’s freedom is a rare achievement for a debut work.

— Echo Moscow

Book details


Novel, 2016

384 pp

Rights sold

  • German Piper

  • Finnish Into Kustannus

  • Estonian Tammeraamat

  • Hungarian Könyvmolyképző Kiadó

  • Latvian Lauku Avize

  • Czech Omega

  • Polish Sonia Draga

  • Arabic AS Publishers

Film rights sold

  • English language web series released in 2019, directed by Brian Lye

Literary awards

  • Nominated for the National Bestseller Prize 2016

  • Winner Manuscript of the Year Award 2015

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