Hide and Seek
September Day Series, Book II
Cool Gus Publishing, January 2014
From the author—
A mysterious contagion will shatter countless lives unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing cat . . . in 24 hours.
A STALKER hides in plain sight.
A VICTIM faces her worst fear.
AND A DOG seeks the missing-and finds hope.
Eight years ago, animal behaviorist September Day escaped a sadistic captor who left her ashamed, terrified, and struggling with PTSD. She trusts no one-except her cat Macy and service dog Shadow.
Shadow also struggles with trust. A German Shepherd autism service dog who rescued his child partner only to lose his-boy forever, Shadow’s crippling fear of abandonment shakes his faith in humans.
They are each others’ only chance to survive the stalker’s vicious payback, but have only 24 hours to uncover the truth about Macy’s mysterious illness or pay the deadly consequences. When September learns to trust again, and a good-dog takes a chance on love, together they find hope in the midst of despair-and discover what family really means.
Question: If a book is a mystery and a cat and a dog have significant parts, what subgenre of mystery is it?
Answer: Most likely a cozy unless the book is Hide and Seek by Amy Shojai. If you’ve picked up this book thinking you’re about to read a cozy, you’ll be very surprised. In fact, you should walk away from the book.
If, on the other hand, you’d like a good deal of nailbiting suspense, a fair amount of psychological distress both past and current, quite a bit of action and even a little humor here and there and, yes, a pair of pets you’d like to call your own, then you’ve come to the right place.
Ms. Shojai weaves a tale of intersecting plotlines that range from the highly questionable behavior of a reality show’s star and host to a death that causes untold stress in a woman damaged by her own past to the playful antics of Macy and Shadow, a cat and dog that share a home with September Day. In the early stages, Macy is the only one of the trio who isn’t in some sort of psychological recovery but then Macy becomes the focus of a search for a lot of answers, not the least of which is who—or what—is making people and animals so sick?
A menace from September’s painful past, a missing woman, a little girl who loves kitties, a smarmy tabloid reporter all contribute to a story rich in tension and uncertainty as well as the many emotional attachments we all have in our lives. In the long run, it was the latter that really got my attention and Ms. Shojai is equally adept at making those attachments believable whether they’re of the animal or human variety and spending time with Macy and Shadow was especially enjoyable in those quiet moments that relieve the anxiety of the core thriller.
There are occasions when we see the action through Shadow’s eyes and instincts but readers who prefer animals not be anthropomorphic need not be concerned—Shadow does not tell the tale nor does he do any sleuthing.
Hide and Seek is a story full of surprises and I’m looking forward to spending much more time with this little family in the next book and all that will follow.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2014.