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Hidden Things

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  707 ratings  ·  126 reviews
A phone call from a soon-to-be-deceased ex-boyfriend launches a young woman on a bizarre road trip to a dark supernatural world hidden beneath America’s heartland in this remarkably imaginative debut novel from an electrifying new voice in contemporary fantasy. With Hidden Things, author Doyce Testerman immediately takes his place alongside Neil Gaiman, Kim Harrison, and M ...more
Paperback, 323 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Harper Voyager
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  707 ratings  ·  126 reviews

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Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hidden Things shows us that highway rest stops and roadside diners are every bit as rich in magic and mystery as the lands described by Tolkien or the alleys of Sam Spade's San Francisco.

This is a noir fantasy, a story about letting go, and a complex adventure that veers wildly between the deeply personal and the grandly universal. I'll recommend this book to my friends because they'll love it, and I'll recommend it to my enemies because it'll make them into better people.

I could go on and on ab
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
This debut contemporary fantasy by Testerman is a slice of mythmaking and myth-breaking with a dash of urban fantasy and horror. Calliope Jenkins runs a tiny private investigations firm with her best friend and ex-lover Josh White. When Josh is killed in the middle of a bizarre case, he leaves her a message from beyond the grave, "beware the hidden places." Those hidden places include pockets of weird creatures in the midst of the city, strange borderlands back in the midwest they both left behi ...more
Melissa Sodano
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I find this book difficult to assess, in truth, as it's not exactly a consistently three-star book. About half the book is a four-star book, while the other half is a two-star book; thus the three stars. It drew me in because from the beginning it reminded me of my favorite book, American Gods. Not in the mythology sense, but in the "strange people coming to find you when something has happened to an important person in your life" sense. While the book is fairly well-written, and the plot is qui ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, especially given the enthusiastic cover blurbs by some of my favorite authors. The premise is interesting and I like urban fantasy in many of its iterations. Unfortunately, for me this book didn't gel until literally the last 20 pages or so. For most of the book, I felt as if I couldn't sink into the story. The main character was a bit too strident and angry, to the point where conversational exchanges were simply blurts of partially finished sentences, with th ...more
Dr susan
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-again, own
Sometimes one reads a book, and the author seems to be talking only to that reader, describing the reader's thoughts and life in the metaphor of driving down the road and taking a wrong turn around a twisty corner where everything is so familiar, yet so awesomely, horribly not right. Hidden Things is one of those books. It sat so innocently on the library shelf with its deceptive cover and simple title, hiding a tale of loss, and love, and guilt, and acceptance.... and magic, such believable, wo ...more
William Bentrim
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman

Calliope Jenkins has a serious chip on her shoulder. She takes no crap, no how, no way from nobody. When her best friend and former lover “disappears” she is forced to ally herself with unlikely allies some of whom may not exist.

This is either a psycho thriller or a fantasy horror or maybe both. Testerman does an excellent job in crafting the unlikeable character of Calliope Jenkins. Calliope makes a porcupine seem warm a cuddly. She does her best to keep anyone
Christopher Dickson
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this in a single sitting, staying up until 4am to do so. I was utterly absorbed in the book. The characters are rare, if not unique, and fit perfectly with the story. HIDDEN THINGS is a refreshing kick to urban fantasy. It is in a new setting, and doesn't have vampires, or even vampyres, which was a pleasant surprise considering they seem to be everywhere.

The story is engaging, seriously engaging. I read it for 8 straight hours, and then some more. Its dark, creepy and absolutely wonderfu
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm still not sure what to say about this book. It felt like American Gods swirled together with early Anita Blake. Spunky female detective gets tangled up in supernatural weirdness. I liked our protagonist though. While she fit the urban fantasy heroine roll, she felt human. A strong woman, who makes mistakes but isn't stupid. I particularly enjoyed it when she would do those things we wish characters would do more often (ie. mace the creepy guy following you around rather than talk to him). Wh ...more
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Brilliant book. What a great find!
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"What's in there?"
"Answers." Vikous watched the front door. "Monsters."

Charles de Lint led me to Hidden Things through his strongly positive review in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (a print magazine, in this electronic era? Yep—worth paying for, too). And de Lint was right; it really is that good.

From its title forward, this book has that whiff of the occult that I like, the notion that things are going on beneath the surface that most people don't know and wouldn't want to k
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/08/...

When Calliope Jenkins gets a call very early in the morning from her ex and work partner, Josh, she’s not sure what to think. He’s obviously following a lead, but what? And why did he tell her to watch out for the hidden things right before hanging up the phone? These are certainly the questions that are on Calliope’s mind when she gets the news the next day that Josh has been found dead, and she’s the last known person to
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't write book reviews, so I don't know what you should expect in reading this.

It is only fair to say that I read an early, early draft of this, and in some ways, because of the "draft" nature, the story-as-published has lost a bit of its magic. In a draft you can evoke things that a final needs explained, answer questions that should not have been asked, and time and memory fades to make what came before perhaps a little more poignant, more mysterious. The magician has gained in skill and y
Sharon Hughson
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book looked at fantasy from a different angle. It was a unique perspective. I admire the way the author gave fantastical creatures a new dimension and connected them believably with our modern world.
The main character was a fallible human but I wanted her to succeed. In the end, I still didn't understand the monsters that motivated her. She remained mysterious and I wonder I that was intentional or if the author didn't truly know the protagonist either.
The disappointing aspect of the book w
***Dave Hill
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: text, audiobook, favorites
This is a remarkable book. And, beyond remarkable, it's a good book.

I had a big review all written up full of glowing praise for marvelous world-building, and of admiration of the twisty-turny plotting and intricate scene-setting, and of deep satisfaction with the sheer, frustrating humanity of the protagonist -- but as I know the author, it seemed more than a bit over the top, even if all of it was sincerely felt.

So all I can say is that this is a deeply-crafted urban (or perhaps rural) fantas
Wayne Palmer
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I read a book by jumping in and out of it as I feel the urge. For other special books I become absorbed by the characters and world that they reside in and I am compelled to see what is around the next bend. This is one of those stories. It weaves normality and oddity into a unique blend that requires your imagination to pry loose an understanding rather than laying it out on a plate. I so love it when this is done well and this book is an excellent example of this.
If your feet are fi
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: at-home, 2012
Amazing dialogue. Modern middle America highway fantasy. And Calliope is a character that I could understand, even while she acted in ways I would not. A fully realized character in many ways, although sometimes the landscape of setting blurred and became anywhere as opposed to a specific place.
Not Nancy Not Chen
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful midwestern heartland fairy tale, reminded me of my favorite Neil Gaiman books.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wonderful urban fantasy. Shades of DeLint. Happily, there are no vampires or werewolves. Yay! I read this in one sitting. It grabbed me from the get-go. Very enjoyable.
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it! At first Calliope is a bit difficult to take, and you may even find her annoying. But give her time, you will find yourself rooting for her.
Sep 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Calliope used to sing in a band with her sweetie, Josh. Then they and the band split up, he started a private investigator business, and she later became his working partner. She obviously has problems with relationships; at the beginning she kicks out her boyfriend Tom for no good reason.

Then Josh, on the road for a case, is apparently killed. He contacts Calliope for help, both before and after his death. As she tries to figure out what's happened, she starts encountering creatures that are n
KajHuab Yaj
Jun 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
I'm not always a fantasy fan, but I got excited when I read some of the great reviews on the back cover. And I really wanted to like the book. Especially because it's a new author. The author's intentions were good, I think. I enjoyed the mythical creatures and the hidden-in-plain-sight idea, but it wasn't enough to make up for what the book lacked.

FINAL VERDICT: not recommended.

The plot was shaky at best and undeveloped at its worse. Again, the premise was good: missing (dead?) person, quest t
Suspense Magazine
In Doyce Testerman’s first novel, he takes the reader on a journey to the shadowy edges of our reality, where the beings of myth and legend still reside. A middle of the night phone call awakens Calliope Jenkins. It’s Josh White on the line, her boss and partner in their two-person detective agency, telling her that he’s in Iowa following up on a new case. Early the next morning, the police inform Calli that Josh’s body was discovered outside a small Iowa town four hours after he talked to her. ...more
Nov 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Calliope Jenkins is the sort of private detective who prefers to kick you in the chest first and ask why you've stopped by her office later. Her partner/ex-boyfriend has just been reported murdered while thousands of miles away on a case he told her nothing about, and a mysterious guy called Vikous appears who promises to lead her to answers. After assaulting and pepper spraying the poor funny-looking fellow, our marvelously short-fused protagonist agrees to be lead on a dangerous and magical jo ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a difficult book to review. In some regard it was a 5-star books that kept me fully engaged for the two days I ripped through it. In other respects it was a 2-star book that left me with more questions than answers. I liked the main character, she complicated, thoughtful and witty. I did not care much for any of the monsters in the book, although their unique natures did make for fantastic reading. The dialogue was amusing and the plot kept moving along. My complaints are with too many l ...more
Douglas Lord
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I tend to enjoy first novels, and there’s a lot to like about this crime story with magical overtones: it’s pure escapist reading. Our protagonist, Calliope Jenkins, is kind of an asskicker. Independent and sexy (not in a girly way), she’s a private investigator in the VI Warshawsky mold. When her former boyfriend and current business partner is found dead, she’s superdriven to find out why. In doing so, she winds up needing the help of a bizarre dude who looks like a cross between a homeless ma ...more
JJ DeBenedictis
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an extremely well-written book. The characters are raw and authentic, extreme and yet completely believable. Woven into this great writing is a low-key fantasy quest with high-impact elements, like a helpful demon clown, a highway-cruising dragon, and a satyr who runs a karaoke bar. Together, they create a persuasive portrait of small town America as a mythical place.

The title refers both to the inhuman entities who hide among humans and the personal baggage of the main character, a fail
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: scribd, 2016
This was an interesting book. I'm not sure it quite accomplished everything it set out to.

It's your basic noirish urban fantasy story, with an intrepid female investigator looking for her partner who may or may not be dead. She ends up with a guide who initially appears to be a homeless man, but turns out to be something much stranger. Vikous, who looks something like a clown, reminded me a little of John Leguizamo's sinister clown in Spawn (see: nothing new under the sun).

The whole plot is a l
Book #39 for 2012

Let me just first say that I'm thoroughly chuffed to see a fellow Colorado WriMo get his NaNo novel professionally published. It gives me hope. But first I will have to produce a manuscript this good. It's not perfect, by any means, but there is so much of the freshly quirky in Testerman's tale of dragons in Iowa that I can forgive a lot. For instance, the pacing seemed a bit off in spots, and some of the flashbacks were more confusing to me than anything. It will be interesting
***Dave Hill
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text, audiobook, favorites
I finished the audiobook for Hidden Things today, and I'm glad that I backed its creation, after having read the text version, which I immensely enjoyed. The book is strongest in its dialog, and the author does a fine job rendering the various characters -- only on occasion do voices get difficult to discern from one another -- and generally each is rich and lively. Knowing the work, the author was able to give certain nuances to the story that another reader might have missed, and as such adds ...more
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Doyce Testerman was born and raised in the wilds of South Dakota, where he developed an early and lifelong love affair with the written word, especially stories that included a bit more magic, mayhem, or mystery than one typically finds around a large Midwestern farm. He moved to Denver in 1995, where he has steadily ceded control of his weekends to two dogs, his brilliant wife, and two astounding ...more

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