Book Reviews

{Review} Hidden City by Alan Baxter

When the city suffers, everyone suffers.

Steven Hines listened to the city and the city spoke. Cleveport told him she was sick. With his unnatural connection to her, that meant Hines was sick too. But when his friend, Detective Abby Jones, comes to him for help investigating a series of deaths with no discernible cause, Hines can’t say no. Then strange fungal growths begin to appear in the streets, affecting anyone who gets too close, turning them into violent lunatics.

As the mayhem escalates and officials start to seal Cleveport off from the rest of the world, Hines knows the trouble has only just begun.

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Horror After Dark Review

If you’re in need of a fun, slightly gross, imaginative tale of magic and gritty urban fantasy with perfect little touches of horror and sarcastic humor sewn in, do I have a book for you! I needed this book after reading a downbeat, depressing one that threw me into a funk and I’m glad Hidden City called to me from the to-be-reviewed pile at exactly the perfect moment in time.

Steven Hines is a private eye with magical powers that connect him to the city. But as he says, “His city was a psychopath.” But don’t let him fool you, he loves her anyway, haha. His best friend Abby is a police officer with a big problem on her hands. The police have six unexplained corpses and three of them had “special abilities” like Hines. So she calls in a favor and they pair up to do a little investigating. But what they find is very odd. Very odd, indeed. It seems there is some sort of musical, magical fungi infestation that is cropping up and making people go murderously insane – after they strip down to their birthday suits! As if that weren’t enough, everyone who has magical powers is getting a power boost, there’s a crazed drug lord wreaking havoc and a once safe street drug is causing overdoses in alarming numbers.

Steven Hines will not abide this crazy in HIS city! 

This book was an action packed, entertaining read. I enjoyed the characters and Steven’s well timed sarcasm as well as the gross knarly bits of the plot. And there were plenty of them! The relationships between the characters were very well written and I was SO thankful that Steven and Abby got their sexual antics done and over with way before the story began and that they discovered they weren’t compatible that way. I like romance, don’t get me wrong, but it would’ve been a bad fit in a story like this one. The true beautiful love story that left me holding my breath is between a man and a dog named Barkley. Their connection might’ve even made me go all misty eyed. I’d like to say much more but I fear I will ruin all of the dark little surprises for you and I don’t want to do that. Just know that it all ends perfectly.

If this imaginative, wild, fungus-filled ride of a story sounds like good fun to you, do yourself a favor and get to reading it!

*Thank you Alan Baxter for providing me with a copy of the book. This in no way alters any of my thoughts about the book. If it had been stinky I’d still you – thankfully it wasn’t!

4 1/2 Stars out of 5

About The Author

Alan Baxter is an award-winning British-Australian author who writes dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, with his wife, son, dog and cat. He is the author of the dark urban fantasy thriller trilogy, Bound, Obsidian and Abduction (The Alex Caine Series) published by HarperVoyager Australia and Ragnarok Publications in the US, and the dark urban fantasy duology, RealmShift and MageSign (The Balance 1 and 2) from Gryphonwood Press. 

As well as novels, Alan has had more than 70 short fiction publications in journals and anthologies in Australia, the US, the UK and France. His short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, Postscripts, and Midnight Echo, among many others, and more than twenty anthologies, including the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror on several occasions. His first collected volume of short fiction, Crow Shine, is out now. 

At times, Alan collaborates with US action/adventure author, David Wood. Together they have co-authored the horror novella, Dark Rite, the action thriller, Blood Codex (Jake Crowley Adventures Book 1), and the forthcoming giant monster thriller novel, Primordial. Alan has been a finalist in the Aurealis Awards, a three-time finalist in the Australian Shadows Awards and a five-time finalist in the Ditmar Awards. He won the 2014 Australian Shadows Award for Best Short Story (“Shadows of the Lonely Dead”) and the 2015 Australian Shadows Paul Haines Award For Long Fiction (“In Vaulted Halls Entombed”), and is a past winner of the AHWA Short Story Competition (“It’s Always the Children Who Suffer”). 

Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website – – or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.


Scary books make everything so much better! I've been reading them since I was a wee, weird little thing and grew up with a steady diet of King, Koontz, Barker, and Brite and will read and watch just about anything with a hint of darkness.


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