Getting Her Man

Off Limits

One Way Out

Hide in Plain Sight
by Michele Albert
(Pocket, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-7434-8503-3
Heroine Fiona Kennedy owns an antiquarian book store in Los Angeles. She has recently had her husband declared legally dead after he’d been missing for five years.

Griffith Laughton is an operative with Avalon; that means he’s a mercenary who works for a non-governmental entity that investigates art fraud. He approaches Fiona telling her he represents a client who’s interested in a possible unknown manuscript by Christopher Marlowe. (If Christopher Marlowe is a new name to you, you’ll need to consult an encyclopedia because the story provides practically no information other than he wrote Doctor Faustus and he’s dead.) Fiona is a Marlowe expert and well qualified to judge its authenticity.

In fact, Griffith knows the manuscript to be a fake. He’s only trying to get close to her to both protect her from bad guys and to lure Rainert von Lahr, all around bad guy, out of hiding. Von Lahr had been instrumental in an operation gone bad five years earlier that had left several people dead, including some of Avalon’s operatives and Griffith’s friends.

Griffith invites Fiona to dinner. Between bites of Thai satay, they decide to act on their mutual attraction and have sex. And they do. And do. And do.

(Now remember, she only met him that day and he hasn’t so much as given her a business card. Okay, she’s horny after a long period of celibacy, but does that have to mean she loses all semblance of common sense? The only thing that can be said in her defense is that they practice safe sex.)

The next day she learns there’s far more going on than just some meaningless sex with a near stranger, and she sees a whole new side to Griffith.

You’ve probably noticed that TRR posts its reviews in categories. If TRR should ever devise a category “Men Behaving Badly and Women Who Let Them Get Away With It,” Hide in Plain Sight will find its proper niche. I can’t reveal too many additional details about the plot, but trust me in this: what Griffith does is really offensive, but Fiona isn’t done being horny.

In my opinion, Fiona should stick with Christopher Marlowe because she’s got a miserable track record with men of her own era.

I had a tough time sticking with Hide in Plain Sight, putting it down repeatedly –never a good sign. About two-thirds of the way through the book, I realized I cared nothing whatsoever about either character and didn’t care one whit whether they escaped the bad guys or found a happy ending. One of the few things I agreed with is when Fiona tells Griffith:

“I believe you’ll keep me safe, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven you for what you did. Or for lying to me.”

“As you shouldn’t,” he said after a moment.

Hide in Plain Sight sits between two series. It concludes one involving three friends – Getting Her Man and Off Limits are the first two. In addition, it’s the first installment in the author’s new Avalon series. Nevertheless, it stands well on its own; knowledge of the two previous books is unnecessary.

I’ve enjoyed earlier books by this author (who has also written under the name Michele Jerrott) so I have hope that future books in the series will be more appealing than this first effort.

As for Hide In Plain Sight, I advise thinking twice before taking it out of hiding.

--Lesley Dunlap

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