Book Review: Emma Holly’s Hidden Talents

Posted June 20, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

by Kathy Davie

Hidden Talents (Hidden, #1)Hidden Talents by Emma Holly
Series: Hidden, 1
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First in the Hidden erotic paranormal romance series revolving around the hardly seen town of Resurrection in upstate New York, technically. The couple focus is on Ari and Adam.

My Take
Oh, this was too sweet and too much fun! There’s a nice fairy tale quality in this story and I’m hoping I can find the next in the series, Hidden Depths. Holly grabs us in with Tony’s upset over his beignets and West’s torture and you won’t get out until you finish. It’s a quick read. A good thing as you won’t want to put it down.

I love the characters Holly has created. They’re close and loyal—-almost Norman Rockwell-like! The fact that they’re all supernatural is neither here nor there. Holly brings in the testosterone-laden werewolves as cops with all the usual banter and blends it with a strong sense of family and protectiveness. I also love how Holly plays with Tony’s recent reveal that he’s gay. His fellow cops love teasing him and his brother about it. There is such a lovely acceptance here.

There are rules for entering Resurrection and anyone disobeying those rules is quickly tossed back. The RPD’s primary purpose is to ensure that Good doesn’t get swallowed up by Evil.

Too funny…I love Holly’s description of Resurrection from Ari’s viewpoint—gnomes, freshly caught, No Flaring signs, pointy ears. Oh girl, you are not in Kansas anymore! There are bits like home. Sorta. There’s the Elfnet phone system, Star Brew coffee, Chinatown… It’s a town based on 1800s New York and an experiment in coexistence.

Oh, now just a minute, I can’t believe Grygir is that stupid to just show up like this! He must have some idea of what the Eunuch is like?!

The Story
Ari is a pureheart and ideal for what the Eunuch needs. It’s a treacherous trail he lays enticing Ari into following for vengeance. It’s Ari’s torture of West that brings her to Adam’s attention. All of his attention.

In spite of the rules that they should turn Ari over to Magical Mentoring, Adam’s alpha power pushes to hold onto her. Yeah, yeah, that’s right. She’s trying to find the Eunuch and they need to find out what she knows. Yeah, that’ll work. In the meantime, Ari and Adam are both feeling the attraction and not averse to exploring it.

Getting back to law enforcement, it seems that the Eunuch picks up pets, people with a Talent, in New York City and they’ve been disappearing. It’s not good, unregistered Talent in Resurrection. They have got to figure out what the Eunuch is doing. If they can pull him in on something…

Unfortunately, Ari is the bait and Adam refuses to allow her anywhere near the Eunuch without protection. His protection. Not only will they need the Mayor’s blessing but the Gargoyle Council’s as well. A permission they receive but at a price.

There are still more prices to pay on this undercover operation. Prices which are much too high for Ari to pay.

The Characters
Ari used to work as a hostess, barely eking out survival in New York City with the help of Maxwell, a house painter by day and an artist by night, and Sarah Thompson who plays guitar, busking in the subway.

Adam Santini heads up the werewolf detective unit with his cousin Rick as the beta with a huge appetite. Other detectives include Tony Lupone, another cousin who has recently come out, Nate Rivera is another cousin, Carmine is the only married cousin, and Dana is the dispatcher, but not related. Mr. and Mrs. Lupone make themselves to home in Adam’s apartment right along with their grandson, Ethan; his parents are Maria and Johnny.

Gargoyles are almost unseen sentinels, the self-appointed National Guard, capable of assessing the magic level of anyone. Grant is set as Ari and Adam’s guardian gargoyle on this mission.

Mariska Andoor is an elf-vampire and a hot, smokin’ chanteuse much loved by Lord Grygir, a fae lord. And one of the Eunuch’s enemies.

Henry Blackwater is the Eunuch, a bad guy who sells, enslaves, and deals. Some of his minions include Darius, a demon, and Francis and Vito are two of the Talents. Donnie West is an almost null with a handful of outstanding warrants. Too bad for him that Ari caught him.

The Cover
The cover of night with the New York City skyline in the background is all blues and oranges with a gleaming closeup of Ari’s abs and the lower swell of her breasts as Adam raises her T-shirt.

The title is too true for it’s one that the Eunuch is good at, spotting Hidden Talents.