cover image The Hidden

The Hidden

Bill Pronzini, Walker, $24 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1800-6

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.)