Review – Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman

I can’t tell you what I thought of this book yet. Keep reading. You’ll just have to trust me. It’s not necessary for you to know where I’m going with this.

Okay, fine. Stop punching me in the face. That’s a hilariously inappropriate way to prove what a badass you are. I assume you saw it in a movie somewhere. Because, you know, that’s not a normal reaction to meeting a mysterious stranger. If I wasn’t supernaturally unflappable, I’d call the cops.

All right, all right. I’ll explain everything. But I should warn you, you aren’t going to like what I have to say. You’re probably better off not knowing at all. It will shatter your perceptions of normality. Everything you hold sacred and safe will be revealed as a pathetic illusion. You’ll never sleep soundly again, and your days will be haunted by–

Okay! I’m getting to it. Just chill out a second.

Hold on. You’re remembering something. I can tell by the way you’re scrunching up your face, exhaling a breath from between your teeth, leaning away awkwardly with all the weight on your right leg, and glancing down at your shirt while fiddling with the buttons on your front pockets. You sure twitch a lot when you’re not talking. Anyway, concentrate. What you’re thinking about is probably important, a key to why you barely act like a human being.

Oh! Wait. There it goes. Well, I’m sure you’ll think about it again before we finish up here.

While we’re waiting for your conveniently edited memories to coalesce into something comprehensible, I guess I might as well give you my review. Although I have one more caveat– there are some things, mysterious things, Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman, that can’t be properly explained.

I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t just another book about a detective who finds out she has supernatural singing powers and learns that dragons are real and has to solve her dead partner’s murder to bring him back to life. Saying it like that would be like using a metaphor to describe a limerick. The truth is, the book is more like carpet. Hardwood floors are fancier, but it’s good to have carpet around when you’re lonely and not wearing socks. Carpet’s not always great, but it’s better than chipped tiled floors, even when carpet’s worn through and stained in places that guests will notice when they come over.

See, I told you didn’t want to–

God damn it! Where’d you get that pepper spray? I’m a clown with bat wings! Why does that even hurt me? Just stop and I’ll tell you what you want to know.

Hidden Things is a detective novel with magic in it, although the heroine’s so self-centered she barely realizes when magical things happen around her. Early in the novel she travels forward in time by playing ten frames at a bowling alley run by elves, and when she discovers what happened, curiosity is completely absent. She just gets really mad. She’s completely oblivious to the fact that her supernatural sidekick is a bogeyman who can rend reality. After learning she has a magical singing voice, she doesn’t ask any questions about who she is, how this could have happened, or what she can do with it. She just goes about her day.

Am I boring you? Oh, I see. You’re remembering something again. You’re doing all those extra things with your hands and neck movements and pacing around and taking a drink. All right, let’s have it. What’s this terrible truth you’ve been hiding?

You got into a fight with your mom when you were 16.

Huh. No, I get it. That’s certainly a secret worth obscuring until it will have the most dramatic impact.

Well. Yeah…

Me? No, I wasn’t saying anything important. As I told you up front, you really wouldn’t be interested. Just, you know, the hidden world of goblins and coprophages and corporate monster dance parties. You’ve clearly got more important stuff going on.

Good luck working that out.

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