From Publishers Weekly
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)
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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. --Thomas Gaughan
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