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Hidden Things    by Doyce Testerman order for
Hidden Things
by Doyce Testerman
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Doyce Testerman's Hidden Things is an edgy noir urban fantasy, and also a murder mystery. As it opens, Calliope Jenkins is called by her best friend and PI agency partner, Joshua White, from Iowa where he's working on a new case. Oddly, he warns her to 'Watch out for the hidden things.'

The next morning, the police arrive to inform Calli that Josh has been murdered in Iowa. But then there's a message from Josh on her phone after the time he supposedly died - what is going on? Part of the message says 'the fat man knows what's going on, so just get hold of him and he'll be able to explain most of this to you.' Who is the fat man?

Soon, Calli is approached by Vikous, who looks like a cross between a clown and a vagrant, and has been watching her. He forces himself into her life, even after she kicks him in the chest and teargasses him. He tells her he is her guide. Vikous takes her to the grotesque fat man, Gluen, who demands a payment for his information and then makes her wait a day before he gives her Josh's message.

Pursued, Calli and Vikous head to Iowa by unusual means and through Hidden Lands. He tells her about a world of strangeness existing alongside our own, the hidden things. Then all goes awry and Calli makes a deal she might live to regret with a powerful entity. When transportation becomes critical, Vikous summons a dragon - in the form of a massive truck! Calli sings to it in payment.

At the end Calli is faced with a hard choice, but she makes the right one, and then solves the mystery of her friend's death. Hidden Things is a unique urban fantasy, one that looks like the start of a series worth following.

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