Summary (from GoodReads): Watch out for the hidden things . . . That's the last thing Calliope Jenkins's best friend says to her before ending a two a.m. phone call from Iowa, where he's working a case she knows little about. Seven hours later, she gets a visit from the police. Josh has been found dead, and foul play is suspected. Calliope is stunned. Especially since Josh left a message on her phone an hour after his body was found. Spurred by grief and suspicion, Calli heads to Iowa herself, accompanied by a stranger who claims to know something about what happened to Josh and who can-- maybe--help her get him back. But the road home is not quite the straight shot she imagined . . .
Thoughts: This year, I'm trying to keep a productivity journal. The day I started reading Hidden Things, my note read: "Started Hidden Things. FANTASTIC!!!!" Except underlined more than once. So Hidden Things starts off really well. The main character, Calliope, is the kind of person who shoves people away. She's damaged and angry and not nice. Which means, I immediately loved her.
The mystery was great. Calliope's ex-boyfriend/current business partner is murdered and she sets off to find him. Because she is a private detective, Calliope already had the necessary detective skills. But she is out of her element because the mystery requires her to accept that there are other species, creatures, and monsters. I loved that she didn't just embrace the paranormal elements she was exposed to. She freaked out. She didn't want to believe it. It took her an entire novel to even come close to accepting the new world she was exposed to.
And the world is creative. The basic idea is that magic has faded as humans evolved and creatures changed to fit in or kept themselves hidden. The creatures in this book (like the Fat Man) are totally different from any creatures I've read about before. I really liked the fresh spin Testerman gave his novel, especially the dragons. Ever wonder why people disappear on cross country trips? Dragons. Those aren't skid marks on the highway.
My only complaint is that I was a little confused at the end. Not about how things fit together, but why. And even though Calliope made huge progress as a character, I also wanted a little more resolution for her. Also, does anyone know how to pronounce Calliope?
Moments I Loved: Calliope gets drunk with her ex's widow (who hates her). A homeless man (who turns out to be Calliope's guide to the non-human world and kind of integral to her journey) shows up and she beats him up. Every time he tries to help her.
WTF Moments: Calliope gets shot by someone with magical origins, so it is completely unexpected that a human weapon is used. That whole scene is great.
Overall: I really enjoyed this fun and imaginative read; I'll be looking out for more books from Testerman.
Hidden Things gets a FakeSteph rating of...