by Kelley Armstrong
Cover Artist: Angilram
Review by Gayle Surrette
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596064232
Date: 31 December 2011 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Elena Michaels has always wanted family and traditions. Clayton Danvers made their first Christmas together magical for her. Now they want to give their four-year-old twins, Kate and Logan, a special Christmas. Jeremy had found them the perfect place with lots of land for playing and near a small town. Elena, Clayton, and the twins would have their special time -- which the twins had planned down to the minute -- before the rest of the pack came up the day after Christmas.
But on their first day their peace was broken when a mutt, Douglas Eaton, showed up at their bonfire. Before long, they learn that there may be mutt snacking on humans and that's going to upset the twins' plans for this holiday. So, now Elena and Clayton need reinforcements because it's going to be difficult to keep to the plan and find a killer mutt.
This is a lovely novella that helps to show loyal fans the family dynamics now that Elena and Clayton have children. It also deals with secrets. All families have secrets, but sometimes keeping them causes more problems than telling them. When you're keeping secrets from young children it just adds to the complexity of the question -- should we tell them or not?
Werewolves have many of the same characteristics of wolf packs. The pack is the family and there are rules innately understood that makes living in a group smoother. With Hidden, Armstrong gives us some insight into how a well-run pack is more or less family. Everyone works together for the good of the whole, but individuals do have autonomy.
The mystery of who is the killer mutt and how do they stop him is a constant thread as we come to know more about Elena, Clayton, and the twins.
I read the advanced uncorrected copy of the book. The illustrations were included in the back of the book. While not matching my own idea of what Elena, Clayton, the twins, Nick, and Noah look like, they were a wonderful addition to the book and matched the author's descriptions of the characters -- though I found the children's eyes rather spooky, but those are very difficult to get right. On the other hand no artist can ever match every reader's ideal image of the characters they enjoy. That I'm trying to adjust my image to the artists means that these images are as valid as my own in my mind.
All in all this book would be a great addition to the any reader's collection of Kelley Armstrong's works.