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Cover image for The hidden : a novel of suspense
The hidden : a novel of suspense
1st U.S. ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Walker & Co., 2010.
Physical Description:
210 p. ; 25 cm.
When the Coastline Killer, a vigilante who's been targeting random victims because they don't respect the environment, claims another victim, the local police consider Jay Macklin--a tourist staying at a remote northern California cottage with his paramedic wife--a suspect.


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A series of seemingly random murders along a fifty-mile stretch of the rugged northern California coast, committed by an unknown dubbed by the media the Coastline Killer. A young couple with marital problems, Shelby and Jay Macklin, who decide to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's at a friend's remote coastal cottage. Two couples in a neighboring home whose relationships are thick with festering menace. A fierce winter storm that leads to a night of unrelenting terror. These are the main ingredients in Bill Pronzini's chilling and twist-filled tale about the hidden nature of crime and its motives.

Author Notes

Bill Pronzini was born in Petaluma, California on April 13, 1943. His first novel, The Stalker, was published in 1971. He is best known for his creation of the Nameless Detective Mystery series, as well as several westerns and novels of dark suspense. He has been a full time writer since 1969. He is also an active anthologist, having compiled more than 100 collections, most of which focus on mystery, western, and science fiction short stories.

He has won numerous awards including three Shamus Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Mystery Writers of America. His book Snowbound received the Grand Prix de la Litterature Policiere, as the best crime novel published in France in 1988. Pronzini has established himself as a master of the Western novel as well as earning a name for himself in the dark fiction genre.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Routine prose and thin characters mar this stand-alone novel of suspense from MWA Grand Master Pronzini (The Other Side of Silence). Jay Macklin, who six months earlier lost his office manager job, has persuaded his paramedic wife, Shelby Hunter, to spend a few days at a friend's remote Northern California cottage, in a last-ditch effort to save their 12-year-old marriage. At night, in a winter downpour, they have trouble finding the cottage. On a search for matches after a power failure, the couple drive to a neighbor's house, where they encounter Brian and Claire Lomax, whose marriage is obviously in more trouble than their own. Jay and Shelby soon realize Brian physically abuses Claire. When the Coastline Killer, a vigilante who's been targeting random victims because they don't respect the environment, claims another victim, the local police consider Jay a suspect. The denouement will leave many readers feeling cheated. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Marital difficulties turn murderous in Pronzini's suspenseful departure from the estimable Nameless Detective series (Schemers, 2009, etc.).Jay Macklin loves his wife, knows she's fallen out of love with him and doesn't blame her. It's in the hope that his marriage can be saved that he decides on a getaway that will allow them to rediscover and rekindle their love. Just the two of themalone and undistracted, between Christmas and New Year's, in a remote vacation house somewhere on the Northern California coastlinereassessing how good they once had it. That turns out to be a frail hope indeed. Not only does therapeutic isolation morph into self-imprisonment, but the Macklins' only neighbors are anything but neighborly. Brian Lomax routinely beats and terrorizes his wife. The Lomax houseguests, Paula and Gene Decker, drink too much and snipe at each other as if Edward Albee had invented them. Further darkening the atmosphere is the lurking menace of a sociopath run amok, a preservationist transmogrified by his sense of mission into a five-time (at least) serial murderer the media have dubbed the Coastline Killer. It's just as cold and bleak inside the vacation house as outsidea dire prologue to a sudden, furious storm that ratchets up the violence while bringing emotions to a boil.Taut, spare and seamlessly plotted. The real accomplishment, however, is the villain of the piece, portrayed sympathetically but without sentimentality.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Jay Macklin's decade-long marriage to Shelby Hunter is slowly dissolving, in large part because in, Shelby's words, Two people can't live together without communicating. Jay, at 35, seems resigned to disappointment: a promising baseball career ended by injuries, the failure of his restaurant, long-term unemployment, and the heart problems he hasn't disclosed even to Shelby. An EMT, Shelby is attracted to an ER doctor but has resisted beginning an affair. Reluctantly, she agrees to spend the week after Christmas at a cottage on the wild and beautiful northern California coast. Jay's hope is that he can save their marriage, but a violent storm and a serial killer make marital woes secondary to survival. Pronzini has written 70-plus novels, and The Hidden demonstrates that he's aging like fine wine. Jay, Shelby, and even the Coastline Killer are complex and engaging characters. The Mendocino coast and its storms are portrayed in all their palpable beauty and danger. Pronzini eschews gore, but the skillfully layered suspense and menace will hold the attention of crime fans.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Jay Macklin is hoping that spending the time between Christmas and New Year's with his wife, Shelby, at a friend's cottage on the Northern California coast will bring them closer together after a hard year. After they lose power during a storm on their first night, they visit their neighbors for some matches. Brian Lomax answers the door with a gun in hand, and even after the Macklins are invited in for a drink, the tension in the house is enough to send them away quickly. Interspersed with the main action are several vignettes featuring a man who is willing to murder those who threaten the coastal wilderness. The bad weather, the marital strife, and the suspicion that almost every character displays lend Pronzini's (Savages; The Crimes of Jordan Wise) latest book a gloomy air. Jay doesn't evoke much sympathy, and the real action, on a dark and stormy night, no less, doesn't occur until the final quarter. Verdict Not Pronzini's strongest work, this is still worth a look for his fans and most mystery collections. [Pronzini is married to Marcia Muller, whose latest Sharon McCone mystery, Coming Back, is reviewed above.-Ed.]-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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