May 10 2006
Dear Ms. Albert:
Welcome back. God, I have missed you. Your last two books at Avon were such pale imitations of what you had wrote before that I feared I had lost another good author. Since you have left Avon and went to Pocket, your quality has increased a hundredfold. Again, welcome back.
Hide In Plain Sight was a great and exciting read. I had read Maili’s review and prepared myself to be in for a Speed-like ride. Fiona was a particularly well drafted heroine. She had lost her husband 5 years ago and he was just recently declared dead. She mourned his loss but didn’t dwell on it. She recognized that her life had been a bit stale and she was going to be proactive about changing that. (I love proactive heroines, if you couldn’t tell by my reviews or our blather at Romancing The Blog). Fiona decides to go to the Bahamas and have an affair with a hot scuba instructor. She’s heard they’re easy.
Fiona used to be an academic Marlowe scholar but she has since left the university setting to run her own bookstore. Considered as one of the foremost Marlowe scholars, a secretive agency called Avalon produces a manuscript that is believed to have been created by Fiona’s allegedly dead husband, Robert. In it, there is supposed to be a coded message that Fiona would be able to detect and would enable Avalon to shut down a house of art forgers.
Griffith Laughton, an Avalon operative, is a man who will do anything to get the job done and that includes seducing women (and maybe men) to achieve his objectives. His nemesis is Rainert Von Lahr. What I thought was really well done was the juxtaposition of Laughton and Von Lahr. Both men had the same personality, the same fierce goal oriented mindset. Both were willing to use anyone and anything to accomplish his goals. The only difference is that Griff worked for the good guys and Von Lahr was a bad guy (oh, and VL didn’t mind killing a few people to send a message). When we were in the mind of VL, it was to show that he and Griff were merely two sides of the same coin. It was effective. As Griff says to Fiona, he may be a good guy but he isn’t a nice one.
When Fiona comes to the realization that Griff’s sexual advances were the result of his pursuit of VL, she is understandably hurt. She acts like a normal person – with immense hurt and anger – while still recognizing that Griff was her best chance at staying alive.
The way in which you resolved this quick romance was perfectly done and the epilogue was fulfilling without any sappiness. The story needed an epilogue. While everything was done well, I can’t say this is a keeper. When I close the book on a keeper, I, oftentimes, turn to the first page to re-read it. For some reason, and not one I can articulate, I have no desire to read this again. For that reason, this is a B+.