Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman

Scribd is a delicious virtual labyrinth that keeps revealing its many mysteries, slowly and steadily. It’s been working out well and I find myself buried in the most unexpected books. Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman was one such delight.

Let me give you selected snippets from the Goodreads summary: “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…. transforming our mundane world into a place where unseen monsters and paranormal beings have long inhabited the shadows… goblins, dragons, a road-weary clown, and creatures that have never been categorized, join a smart, tough, courageous female protagonist on a wild cross-country thrill ride…”

If the summary excites you, the book will too. It lives up to what it promises – a cross country thrill ride. The tone is dark, almost ruefully funny. I always find books that deal with the “blurred edges of reality” quite fascinating, and the author has some creepy, imaginative “origin stories” for things that go bump in the night This book is reminiscent of the reads I feasted on in the early 2010s; like a weird mix of American Gods and Dresden Files. It has elements of pure fairytale and quite a bit of supernatural weirdness, right out of a fading nightmare, a gritty contemporary fantasy… It is in no way a ‘popular’ read, with under 700 ratings on Goodreads. A lovely find! I’m so happy to have stumbled across it.

Quotes from the book:

“The air around the corner of Bush and Taylor changed when Vikous arrived. It was a distinctly unmagical place – everything from the trees to the sidewalks to the head-down pedestrians colored in various shades of gray – but for a moment, the air changed: filled with a hush stolen from a magician’s audience, thick with the sound of a day-dreaming crowd. A bus roared past a double-parked garbage truck, clouding the air with diesel smoke and timetables, and then he was there.”

“You know what’s the weirdest thing? You just told me that the highway disappearances I read about aren’t always criminals and abductions – that sometimes it’s dragons hunting for food – and that actually cheers me up.”

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